The retail security industry has been reacting to a new report that has outlined five key areas on which traditional brick-and-mortar retailers must improve in a bid to recover from the COVID-19 shutdown. Conducted by the Artificial Intelligence firm, Olvin, their report notes that there are exciting opportunities for retailers in the year ahead but only if they're able to learn from 2020.

Here, we're going to take a look at these key areas – what they are and how they can be exploited.

Changes Needed In Retail Security In 2021

'The Lost Year'

With non-essential shops closed for the majority of the last 12 months, 2020 can be said to be a 'lost year' for retailers – and it could get worse. Olvin's report states that 90 per cent of consumers said that their shopping habits had been impacted by the pandemic, while the volume of shoppers in brick-and-mortar stores was down by a third compared just to October 2019 alone. Of all the verticals that were affected, fashion outlets were amongst the hardest hit as their revenues in 2020 was down between 27-30 per cent compared with 2019.

The clear winner of 2020 – and a path that most retailers should be considering taking – is omnichannel retailing. Olvin says that 15 per cent of their surveyed consumers stated that by June 2020, they were using online, pickup or in-store services more often. This was clearly because the businesses in questions were offering the use of an omnichannel solution where consumers can order and pay for their products online and either have them delivered or go and pick them up from a brick-and-mortar store themselves. This in itself, works as a retail security solution – people are only going in the store to pick-up, rather than browse around.

The Potential of Brick-and-Mortar Stores

The report says that despite the tough year, there is much hope for the future of 'traditional' retail based on the recent recovery of sales following the lifting of restrictions. They have noted that a prolonged recovery will centre on four key trends, which are:

  1. Focus on the consumer. More than ever before, the customer experience will be vital in the coming months. Understanding your customers is one of the golden rules of retail but often, this sight is lost – will many people already feeling anxious to return to a physical store, the last thing they need is a negative experience. This is an area that better retail security can help with –making the store feel safe.
  2. Focus on ethics. Ethical shopping has been steadily growing in the last few years and that trend is likely to strengthen in the coming years, notes the report. They believe that the increase of information about the products they're buying means that consumers are making purchasing decisions based off them – deciding which businesses they are prepared to buy from, and not.
  3. Focus on cost-cutting. The retail bottom line is increasingly becoming the difference between stores that thrive and those that fail to survive. Olvin say that shoring up this bottom line through cost-cutting is vital – remaining competitive by finding the right balance between cost-cutting and still offering quality, ethical products.
  4. Focus on intelligent space use. The 'traditional' brick-and-mortar stores as we know them will likely become a thing of the best, with retailers reconsidering how to utilise their physical shops. This has seen outlets change from outright stores, into offering alternative spaces for consumers – areas given over to dispatch outlets, demonstration areas, cafés or recycling facilities, for example.

The Importance of Retail Security Going Forwards

Whatever businesses decide to do with their physical stores, one of the things that won't change is the need for retail security systems. With much to look after, the lack of attention paid to the security aspect may give anyone with nefarious intentions an opportunity to steal. This is why a security system will remain vital, even in the post-lockdown world.

One of the best ways to look after a store, especially with staff occupied, are EAS (Electrical Article Surveillance) tags on products. Working with a tracking system that's installed close to the store's exit, they are a tried-and-tested method used to alert staff of a potential theft. The bonus is that they also work as a deterrent – in fact, it's likely, thanks to the visible presence of a security tag, that they put more people off stealing than not. A worthwhile investment at any time – and not just during the hectic environment created by a pandemic.

Here at Tagmax, we have been providing EAS tagging systems and accessories to a vast range of retail clients for many years now. We understand precisely, the effect that shrinkage can have on a business – after the year we've all had, enduring further losses is last thing anyone needs.

If you run your own retail operation and are planning to refurbish your store before reopening, why not get in touch with our team to learn more about how you can safeguard your in-store security?

Tagmax: The Retail Security Experts

We are proud to offer a range of comprehensive retail security systems to ensure that your outlet is a safe and secure place for customers and staff. We can help to eliminate anti-social behaviour and prevent theft of all kinds of products.

No matter the size or industry of your store – whether you represent one of the biggest names on the high street, or a small local business – the team here at Tagmax can create a custom security solution that will match all of your requirements, and more.

If you would like to learn more about how we can put in place a security solution for your store, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with our security experts today. Give us a call on 0800 044 3160 or send an e-mail to sales@tagmax.com and we'll be in touch.

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TAGMAX (UK) Limited

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0800 044 3160