One clear benefit of living in our electronic age is the amount of information businesses are privy to on a daily basis. For those looking to determine the whos, whens, whys and wherefores of what is occurring in their retail space, they have only to look to their POS (Point of Sale) systems to come up with a huge array of information.
But the flipside of having all this information, of course, is making it into something that is usable and actionable. A retailer can run dozens of reports, but even a reduction of thousands of transactions to hundreds in a single report are not actionable and may be of little use.
The integration of POS data and systems with surveillance and video recording has moved retailers one step closer to putting the data to work for them. Now, when there is an incident that raises a red flag, the retailer can go to the video and check out that specific transaction.
But that still requires the retailer to determine that something is amiss and search through the appropriate video files until he finds that particular transaction.
However, by employing analytics to the long list of transactions, the business owner or his loss prevention person is freed from doing a lot of the investigative work on his own. Analytics allows him to drill down, making both the POS data and the video more usable.
By telling the system what he is looking for — for example, filtering the reports with hundreds of exceptions to show only the one with no customer present — he is able to narrow the information to an actionable list of transactions and collect video with each transaction. Among the 100 merchandise returns on that given day, ten are highlighted as having no customer present; now the retailer can focus on those cashiers and see why this is occurring.
And what about all those reports he is able to run? Is there a way to link video to them so the information is more manageable?
Exception reporting is a tool used by loss prevention specialists to compare current POS data with historical standards, looking for anomalies along the way that could be the indicators of fraud or loss.
While the data from these reports is certainly important, when tied in with video, it becomes even more valuable. Now as each item on the exception report comes up, so does the video that adds visual evidence to that specific exception. And the viewer can easily discard incidents that don’t show suspicious or illegal behavior from his list, and focus instead on those few exceptions that may be linked with actionable activities.
For the loss prevention professional charged with creating and acting on exception reports, this makes the job easier, faster and more effective.
The data in the reports can also be presented as a graph, making the information more understandable and easily consumable to a store operator looking for anomalies that he can tie to video for further explanation. Beyond security, the user can also overlay these graphs with historical performance data or with data from other stores so he can observe trends in his business operations.
The goal with all of this data is to make information that was once static and complex, pertinent and easily discernable through the use of analytics and video.
Does your organization already use analytics as part of your loss prevention program? If so, please leave us a comment below.