Retail theft is one of the biggest security problems facing retailers today. What can stores do to combat shrinkage? With an increase in technology advancements, prices are coming down on some of the first-rate options, including video surveillance cameras, analytics, and RFID technology.

Controlling the cash

Video surveillance cameras above the cash register have been a fixture for several years now. But while they are a deterrent, they don’t always provide the necessary evidence. We hear stories, both of cameras that were not functioning properly when an incident occurred and of guards missing critical information due to the boredom of monitoring video for hours.

Video surveillance technology has advanced to the point where it is easy and often inexpensive to get many of the latest features and functions. If your camera system is older, it may be time to invest in newer technology.

The same goes for RFID cards. While keys that open cash registers or internal doors can be easily copied, lost or stolen, RFID card technology today is highly affordable and instantly upgrades the level of security on these areas.

Taking it a step further, when you tie card access to cash registers and inventory back rooms to surveillance cameras, both instantly become more valuable.

Adding in analytics allows you to start seeing tremendous return on investment. Is an employee behaving differently or trying to access the cash register at a different time than usual? It can be recorded and flagged. Did someone try to use a card off-hours? Advanced video analytics can pick up on it and provide visual confirmation.

Increasingly, today’s cameras are incorporating more and more onboard analytics, making this a more affordable option for even small retail establishments.

Inventory Control

RFID tags have been used for years to sound an alarm at the door when tagged products go through, helping to reduce theft. Now these tags have gotten so tiny they can be put on virtually anything, enabling retailers to protect more inventory.

Video has also been used to observe shoppers coming and going. Now analytics advancements can provide such detailed information as “heat mapping” where shoppers are congregating to let stores know which displays are more effective, or — using facial recognition — potentially profiling frequent shoppers’ interests, buying habits and more.

Marrying these two technologies could help stores reduce shrinkage. Having a video record and alert every time an asset alarm is triggered is helpful. Eventually being able to tie that video to facial recognition could be even more useful. With some existing applications, customers opt in by emailing photos of themselves (which can provide many other non-security benefits to the retailer), making this not as far-off as it may seem.

Controlling shrinkage is an ongoing challenge and not one that is going away anytime soon. But using newer technology in a smarter way can bring you one step closer.