New study to explore loss prevention risks of emerging POS technology
ARLINGTON, Va.—The Retail Industry Leaders Association last week announced a new initiative to examine the loss prevention risks of emerging technologies in the retail sector.
While technological innovation in retail stores promise customer service benefits, it also may pose challenges for loss prevention departments that are unprepared for how the new technologies will impact the retail security environment, according to RILA.
A collaboration with the University of Arkansas's Sam M. Walton College of Business, the study researchers will examine the risk of emerging technologies—such as touchless payments, mobile self-checkout and mobile point-of-sale terminals—will pose to LP professionals and look to develop a baseline understanding of strategies to mitigate those risks. The goal is to take "a proactive approach rather than being reactive to these technologies," Lisa LaBruno, RILA's vice president of loss prevention and legal affairs, told Security Director News. "We're looking at all the various mobile scenarios and trying to understand how those scenarios play out in a retail environment and what the loss prevention risks are associated with those various technologies, but most importantly what are some of those preventive strategies to mitigate risk."
The project is being completed with support from Checkpoint Systems and Ernst & Young. “The speed at which mobile technology is affecting and reshaping retail is dramatic," Dan Valerio, Ernst & Young's Americas retail sector leader, said in a statement. "The importance of understanding the risks such advancements have on a retailer's business cannot be underestimated."
The study is still in its early stages, but LaBruno said she expects the results to include a risk assessment checklist or toolbox for LP executives so "they're in a position to know in advance what the risks are and what preventative strategies may be."
To begin, researchers at the Walton school will interview thought leaders in the industry, including both LP executives and solution providers. There will also be in-person, facilitated focus group discussions that will vet some scenarios. That collective discussion is key, she said. "I think a lot of asset protection executives can sit back and think through various scenarios and what some of the implications may be, but I think it's important we all get together and think collectively, collaboratively, and reach consensus to the extent we can," LaBruno said.
This kind of collaboration enabled the industry to make progress with organized retail crime. Many years ago, loss prevention executives could sit back and think through what ORC was and its implications, "but we only started to gain traction as an industry when we sat down as an industry and identified the commonalities," she said. "To the extent we can come together and collaborate on those common themes, we're going to be better as an industry in terms of addressing it."
But LaBruno warns that the resulting study will not be a ready-made template for any retailer. "Different retailers are implementing different mobile POS scenarios, and different scenarios come with different risks," LaBruno said.