Retail Trend Driven Principles- Streamlining Consumer-Retailer...
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Retail Trend Driven Principles- Streamlining Consumer-Retailer Relationships

By Joseph Biffar, Director, Loss Prevention & Security, Chico's FAS

What are the current market trends you see shaping the Retail Security landscape?

Currently, the retail sector is experiencing severe turbulence. The emerging retail industry trends continue to disrupt and transform the landscape. One among them is the dynamic shift in technology both for brick and mortar stores as well as the online retail space. For us at Chico’s FAS, we are leveraging technology and using our fraud tools to improve the customer service experience by reducing friction and boosting revenue at the same time. It’s our job to minimize as much theft and fraud as possible while not impeding the customer experience—finding that delicate balance is posing as a greater challenge for us.

"It’s no longer just about being in stores and catching shoplifters; it’s about a holistic asset protection approach"

What are some of the widely prevalent challenges you notice in the Retail Security landscape?

Some of the most challenging aspects over the last few years has been maintaining workplace safety with the rise in active threats across the industry and combatting cybercrime in the omni-channel environment. It’s our responsibility to protect our associates and guests, providing them with a safe and secure place to work and shop. From an online standpoint, fraudsters are always trying to find new ways to exploit every opportunity, so we need to stay one step ahead of the growing digital threat.

Could you shed some light on the approach that you follow while choosing the right solution provider?

A lot of companies provide similar services with an array of products, so we look for a product that’s going to last. Take security cameras for instance, the initial cost is one factor, but in the long run, will you be spending more time and money in maintenance, replacements, and trip charges. Instead,take your time and do your due diligence to find a manufacturer who can be a good long-term partner and help increase your ROI.

On the digital side, we look for a company that can be innovative and trying to stay one step ahead of fraudsters. We need a company that can grow with us from a fraud model solution in the retail security space. We look for a partner not just to find solutions for us today, but whoisgoing to work with us going forward to mitigate the problems of tomorrow.

What are the strategic points that you go by to steer the company forward?

Our Loss Prevention team looks to be good partners within the business. Often, we use traditional loss prevention methods but we’re evolving. It’s no longer about being in stores and catching shoplifters, but it’s about a holistic asset protection approach. It’s being able to partner with our cross-functional teams our store operations, HR, and IT partners, to find the right strategy and be a value-added partner for them. Thus, we are focusing on how we come to the table and offer solutions to support them and our mission to providethe most amazing personal service for all our customers whether it’s in store or online or anywhere she wants to shop with us.

How would you see the evolution a few years from now with regard to disruptions and transformations within the arena?

It’s crucial for loss prevention professionals to embrace change. In the retail environment, change is ongoing, and it’s something we need to be a part of. We need to partner with those folks leading the transformation in order to make an impact moving forward. Otherwise; we are going to be left behind. It’s important for us to have a seat at the table andlook things that are coming up on the horizon. One example could be of the use of facial recognition in the retail environment, not just as fraud prevention but even from a customer interaction opportunity where customers comes in and you can greet them by name and provide them with a customizable service. Also, there is a huge growth for retailers who are looking towards adopting automation, robotics, AI, and drone services.

What would be the single piece of advice that you could impart to your colleagues to excel in this space?

‘Credibility is our currency’. If you continue to be the objective voice for your business partners and providevalue-added solutions for them, you will not only have a seat at the table, but you will be part of the discussion going forward to help tackle whateverchallengesmay arise. Lastly, I would like to emphasize importance of workplace violence prevention. This isn’t just about reacting after something goes wrong, it’s about what can we do to stay ahead of the threat, to mitigate or prevent violence from happening. Threat assessment and management play a vital role in our asset protection strategy as we endeavor to provide a safe environment for our associates and customers. I believe it’s something each organization must adopt.

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