Report • 06.01.2015

Security in retail has a name: EuroCIS 2015

Shoplifters score billions – security technology in retail is indispensible for shoplifting prevention

Security in retail has a name: EuroCIS 2015
Source: Messe Düsseldorf

EuroCIS – the leading trade fair for retail technology – takes place again from 24 to 26 February 2015. Given the losses that the retail sector suffers due to inventory discrepancies, which continue at an almost unimaginable level, exhibitors will once again present an extensive assortment of state-of-the-art technology and solutions for article surveillance, cash processing, cash storage and transportation, access control, and monitoring systems. 

The German retail sector invests roughly €1.3 billion annually in preventive and security measures to protect its goods from being stolen. In spite of this, the industry records approximately €3.9 billion in losses through inventory discrepancies each year, according to the study on the development of inventory discrepancy published annually by the EHI Retail Institute. Calculated using retail prices and industry weighting as a basis, this amounts to 1.01% of average total annual sales. 

Currently, expanded camera equipment, training employees to increase their attentiveness, and improvements in article surveillance are the frontrunners in the area of preventive and security measures. Simultaneously, merchandise analysis aimed at the identification of items more prone to theft, as well as the cash register data analysis tools to identify weak spots in the check-out area, are receiving more attention. Above all, open camera surveillance is being further expanded as a prevention and conviction tool. 

Customer-oriented presentation of goods demands heightened attentiveness and sensitivity from employees. Long business hours coupled with understaffing, however, make it increasingly difficult to ensure effective monitoring of the sales floor by the staff. This in turn increases the need for more efficient electronic article surveillance, as well as other technological monitoring measures. 

Organised shoplifting calls for new concepts 

On the whole, retailers expect a continued increase in retail crime. In spite of declining police statistics, shoplifting remains at virtually the same level. Currently, there are fewer incidents with “common” casual thieves such as the retail sector has long been familiar with – in their place are now frequently perpetrators with a “professional” background, in other words, people that earn their living through crime. While the number of reported simple thefts is continuously declining, the number of reported serious shoplifting incidents has more than doubled in the past six years. Organised shoplifting in the form of gang theft and commercial robbery, as well as robbery commissioned by professionally active criminal groups, cause grave damage in terms of value. Changes in criminal behaviour demand appropriately adapted security concepts from the retail sector. 

CCTV installations are an important component of any security concept. Store detectives, for example, have been proven to be more efficient when working with surveillance cameras. Digital technology dominates: modern network IP cameras offer better image quality, especially when HD cameras are used, as well as increased installation flexibility, and simplified remote control. The inherent potential of digital video analysis, however, is currently not exhausted. Additional functionality such as people counting, queue management, and face recognition are known yet used very rarely at this time. 

Given the enormous costs involved, the question arises as to how much can and should be invested in prevention, employee training, security technology and security personnel – and are these measures effective? Less is not really an option, since savings would immediately be punished with relocation effects in shoplifting incidents: shoplifters learn quickly. Retailers cannot stop the decline in values in our society – they can only continue to invest in data analysis, security technology and attentive personnel, in order to keep shoplifting losses at a tolerable level. 

Well-engineered technology 

The annual EHI study also reveals that the level of electronic article surveillance equipment in the retail sector is continuously increasing. Advancements have been made in electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems. Labels are getting smaller and smaller, and the detection rates of the antenna systems are improving. All of this technology is making it increasingly difficult for shoplifters to sneak secured items past the antennae. EAS systems are transforming from pure preventive tools into an integrated technology, the data from which can be used for the ongoing improvement of the security system. The use of RFID tags for article surveillance, or in combination with conventional EAS, offers even more transparency. 

The antenna systems are also used for customer counting, or as advertising space. With an integrated system, all events – such as alarms, the deactivation of adhesive labels, or the simple detachment of hard tags – can be documented and analysed in connection with each other. A retailer can continuously be updated as to the status of his article surveillance system, alarms, flow of customers and sales of secured products. 

The precise identification of articles with the aid of the EPC (electronic product code), and via contactless reading technology using RFID, also has an impact on product security. Although EPC and RFID have not yet fully established themselves on the market, there is already quite an array of concepts for product security or in combination with product security that are based on this technology. This does not mean that the EAS systems that are installed in retail outlets around the world are becoming obsolete. We are informed not only that an alarm has been triggered, but also learn exactly which article it was triggered from. The integration of security technology and information technology is the key to success. RFID technology allows access to product-specific information, as well as the tracing and location of products in real time, thus supporting a trouble-free, controllable flow of goods throughout the entire supply chain, all the way to the point of sale. 

System improvement through control 

More and more often, data from different security systems are combined and analysed in order to make processes more secure, and to identify organisational weak points. Alarms from EAS systems, directional detection in alarms, integrated customer counting, event-controlled camera recordings, and check-out system data analysis in connection with the deactivation of security tags, are examples that demonstrate the trend away from autonomously operating individual devices and toward integration to a complete system that is capable of leading to new insights. 

Integrated systems close security gaps 

Integrated logistics, merchandise and security systems are becoming increasingly important for the retail sector. Increased security, transparency and efficiency across the entire supply chain are at the forefront. Classic electronic article surveillance and modern digital camera systems are progressively becoming integral components of a comprehensive information and control system. Both technologies remain indispensible when it comes to the effective reduction of losses due to shoplifting. 

The current situation impressively demonstrates that there is still a high need for information regarding the latest security solutions – a condition that EuroCIS unquestionably accounts for. Here, trade visitors can gain a comprehensive overview of current and future possible applications for security technology in the retail sector. In terms of exhibitors, Aasset Security, Axis Communications, Cashconcepts, Checkpoint Systems, Cima S.p.A., Digilock Europe BV, Format Tresorbau, Glory Global Solutions, Grupo Sallén Tech S.L., Gunnebo, HDG Tresore, Inkiess Voscoplast, Innovative Technology, JCM Europe, Mei UK International, Nedap, Optiguard Maria Gierzal, Rako Security Label Produktsicherung, Xovis AG and others will present a wide variety of security solutions. 

Source: Messe Düsseldorf

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