Q&A | October 4, 2013

Overcome The Challenge Of Security For Retail

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By Bernadette Wilson, associate editor, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @bernadeditor

BSM-IP Camera Retail

As a VAR selling security solutions, you realize each vertical market has its own unique security needs. In his presentation this year at the Retail Solutions Providers Association’s RetailNOW 2013 conference, Hedgie Bartol of Axis Communications explained why security for retail locations is different from other types of establishments. “Why wouldn’t the culture of security be different in a retail establishment as compared to, for example, a military establishment? Or, consider how different the security needs of a bank are compared to a commercial building. If you walk into a bank, you would not be surprised by bullet-resistant glass or six sides of steel and an armed guard protecting what you came in for. In contrast, if you walk into a retail establishment and there is an armed guard at the door, you may not go back.”

Bartol went on to explain that a VAR’s role in designing a security system could include everything from sending email alerts when an alarm is activated to designing a pleasant announcement to inform shoppers that a security system is in use for their protection.

He also stressed the importance of analytics, which can tell your customer what is happening in the store — where people are going and what they are doing, if a rush is about to occur at checkout, or how many more registers need to be open and when. “It is like having someone in the ceiling looking over the entire store and knowing everything that’s going on,” he says. Based on that data, store operations employees can make better decisions or recommendations regarding safety or loss prevention issues. He also tells VARs to keep the concerns of key decision makers in mind. “The vice president of loss prevention is really a C-level individual asking people to make decisions for him on the technology, but he is very involved and has a lot of financial responsibilities. He has to protect what is readily available.” In addition, the person in this position is also concerned with safety. “If my store is well lit, the parking lot is clean, the carts are in the corrals, and the whole facility looks nice and well-kept, the customer has a feeling of safeness. They will come, and they will spend money in my store as opposed to the one that has lights out in their parking lot, trash strewn around, and carts scattered all over the place.”

He adds that a business that rents space in a mall could have some security resources provided — such as surveillance video, alarm systems, and security personnel — and look to you for help to complement existing access control. A business that owns a freestanding facility will have to find its own solution — perhaps with your help — for access control that suits that facility and the culture of the business.