Retail shrinkage. It’s an ongoing challenge that directly impacts your bottom line. In fact, a recent survey showed that shrinkage cost in the US retail industry reached more than $42 billion in 2017, with many brands reporting that shrinkage rates had increased from the year before.
The scale of the problem means that retailers are constantly looking for new loss prevention and security solutions for their stores. However, today’s retail is all about the customer experience. Balancing the need for security with the goal of creating an exceptional shopping experience can be a challenge for brands who want to excite customers and find new revenue streams while minimizing the risk of theft.
Fortunately, digital vending and locker solutions are a game changer. Here are five ways retailers can leverage these new technologies to build a better experience and simultaneously improve retail shrinkage.
1) Making High-Value Goods Easier to Buy
Think about how you’re currently securing high value/high theft products. Are they in glass displays, behind the counter or tagged with security devices? Do you force customers to find an employee when they want to make a purchase? All this does is frustrate shoppers and make them less likely to buy.
Instead, you can install custom and branded digital vending solutions that fit right in traditional retail shelving. These devices remove the hassle normally associated with buying high theft products while also ensuring they are secure and protected. Customers browse information about the product on the screen, select the item they want to purchase and pay immediately. No more waiting around for an employee – just buy it and go, eliminating the opportunity for retail shrinkage and customer wait time.
2) Enabling Seamless Click-and-Collect
The click-and-collect market is expected to be worth more than $6.6 billion in 2020, making it a major opportunity for you to increase revenue, reduce retail shrinkage and bring together your digital and physical channels. But click-and-collect requires more than just a fancy website and counter at the store. Nearly half of all click-and-collect users say time savings is a primary motivation, while 71 percent say quick service is ideal for pickup. This means it needs to be fast, easy, convenient and secure – or customers won’t come back.
A successful click-and-collect experience must be designed around the customer. With digital lockers, they can place an order online, receive a notification by SMS that their order is ready for pickup and leverage a one-time-use code to collect their merchandise. No need to wait in line and no risk of receiving the wrong items. Just simple do-it-yourself retrieval.
3) Pop-Up Shops for New Revenue Streams
One thing has always been true in retail – location, location, location. But sometimes there are opportunities for revenue where a permanent location simply doesn’t make sense. In these cases, a pop-up style vending solution may be the answer.
Advanced vending solutions can be placed in high traffic areas where customers are frequently in need of products. Examples could include airports, train stations, hotels, stadiums or major festivals, and events. Automatic replenishment triggers notify you when inventory needs to be restocked, self-healing technology can detect and rectify issues automatically to reduce the need for maintenance and real-time analytics tells you what people are buying – eliminating wasteful spend on items customers don’t buy.
4) 24/7 Retail for Anytime Purchasing
Beyond being in more locations, digital vending solutions allow retailers to easily extend their availability without increasing staff or incurring additional costs associated with longer store hours. In today’s fast-moving, always-on world, customers are not necessarily shopping during regular business hours. The convenience of e-commerce has made people come to expect 24/7 shopping.
Because they are automated and secure, digital vending solutions can be left unattended at all hours of the day, eliminating potential shrinkage. The customer pays directly at the terminal and only receives the merchandise once payment has been completed. This represents another opportunity for increased revenue while giving customers a reason to choose your brand over the competition.
5) Securing In-Store Mobile Devices from Theft or Loss
As retailers continue to improve their customer experience many are introducing employee mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. These devices can empower staff to give customers more information about a product, check inventory in other locations for delivery to the customer, and enable mobile POS for a seamless checkout experience. But these devices are also high-value items that can be stolen or lost if not properly managed.
Digital lockers can be installed in employee areas to secure devices and track who has the devices. At the beginning of a shift, an employee simply needs to scan their badge to sign out a fully charged, ready to use the device. At the end of the day, they scan the device back in so that it’s ready for use by another employee. Combined with a mobile device management solution, you get complete visibility into who has what device and can manage devices across hundreds or thousands of stores from a single location.
Security Does Not Have to Come at the Expense of the Customer Experience
All of these examples demonstrate how security and the customer experience can go hand-in-hand. The most successful retailers consider not just the technology being deployed, but ultimately the impact it will have on the customer. Digital vending and locker solutions offer retailers security, new revenue opportunities and an enhanced in-store experience while making shopping more convenient and accessible for customers. They truly are a win-win!