ECR Retail Loss Meetings Through to December 2021

by Colin Peacock

Total Retail Loss

ECR Working Group Meetings for your Calendar.

Thank you for your interest in ECR, and below we list our forthcoming meetings through to the end of the year, and a series of discussions that reflect the loss prevention priorities of the working group (see word cloud) 

These working group meetings are for retailers, brand owners and academics only. Typically, each meeting will be no longer than 90 minutes, with each starting with a 20-30 minute presentation, followed by 60 minutes of facilitated group discussions.

We use MS Teams as a platform and most meetings are recorded. Click each link to register.

September 14th - Product Returns - As the online business grows, there is an increasing volume of products returned, in the apparel sector, over 25% of items purchased are returned. Increasingly, organisations are seeking to find ways to manage this growing mountain of returns. This session will explore the ways in which organisations are looking to exit returns, and hear from academia about a study on merchandising techniques to optimise the sales of open box returns. Click to register

September 14th - Exception Based Reporting - Loss prevention leaders leverage data analytics tools from vendors such as Appriss, Intelliq and Profitect, to "look for" exceptions in the POS data that might suggest fraudulent behaviour, returns out of hours, excessive voids, etc. In this session, we will discuss the ways design work processes around these exception alerts in practice, the benefits they are delivering and how this capability can respond to manage the emerging risks with self checkouts and ecommerce. Click to register.

September 16th - Video and Alarm Integration - Few things can be as frustrating for a store manager than being woken up at 3am to attend to a store alarm, only to find that the alarm was false. The seemingly very simple "solution" that can help avoid this problem would be for retailers to build a capability to be able to visually verify every alarm before asking the store manager and / or law enforcement to visit the store. In this session we will hear from retailers who have developed this capability, and learn how they have reduced call outs by 90% plus, saved enormous cost and made each call out safer. Click to register

September 29th - BYOD Self Checkout  - What could be easier for the shopper, download the app to your smart phone, walk into the store, scan the items you want and walk out. What could possibly go wrong? In this session we will hear from a retailer who has been offering this proposition for over five years, and learn from them exactly what does go wrong and the controls that they and other retailers could consider to increase scan accuracy and reduce walkaways. The group will reflect on this case study and share their own experiences to date with this form of self-checkout. Click to register

October 6th  - DC Pick Accuracy - The extent to which wrong inventory records in the store can be attributable to the Distribution Centre operations and pick accuracy is disputed, with the cost of any errors discounted by the business on the basis that if the item is not in one certain store, it will be in the system somewhere. In this session, new research findings on DC pick accuracy will be shared. Expect to learn about how DC pick accuracy is measured, to receive new benchmark data on DC pick accuracy rates that you could share with your colleagues, and to explore the possible enablers and barriers to improving DC pick accuracy. After the presentation, the group will discuss the implications and the possible actions that each participant can act on to leverage the research insights. Click to register.  

October 6th  - Engaging Law Enforcement - Most, if not all the retailers in the working group report that law enforcement along with the judiciary are de-prioritising retail crime, leading to a growth in retail crime, and especially the theft of hot products that can be easily re-sold. Yet there are some retailers in some countries making reporting strong engagement with law enforcement, and in this session we will hear directly from those retailers, and learn specifically what support they are receiving, and how they were able to secure that support. The group will then discuss what they observed to be those success factors, and the applicability or not of those strategies to their business and context. Click to register

October 6th  - Death of Plastic - Implications for Product Protection - Working together, loss prevention teams, retail buyers and the producers of hot products have over the years helped to reduce theft with over-sized plastic packaging, and the use of hard to open and easy to protect plastic packaging to help reduce theft. This session will explore the use of more environmentally sustainable packaging and the approaches to protecting products with less plastic so as to reduce losses and at the same time delivering against retailer and brand owners commitments to be more sustainable. The session will start with a presentation from a a hot product brand owner, and will hear about their plans to introduce more sustainable packaging. This will be followed by a discussion on the implications for loss prevention management, not just for these hot products, but for the many other hot products across the store, where inevitably more sustainable packaging will be introduced over time. Click to register

October 7th  - Communicating Loss Prevention - For loss prevention leaders, the sad reality is that the business would prefer to talk about many other things than retail loss. For example, news on new store openings, the success of the big promotions, detail on new item introductions, great results on comp sales growth, or news on market share improvement, or new pricing strategies, all come ahead of the news on the less exciting, and perhaps not that "sexy" problem of retail loss. However, evidence suggests that if retail loss and how stores can act to reduce loss is not top of mind, store losses will simply not improve. In this session, we will hear from retailers and their latest thinking on how to use multiple communication channels and campaigns to engage store associates and management on the importance of retail loss, and how they are expected to help reduce retail losses. At the end of the session, there will be a fun competition where the group will get to vote on the communication plan they liked the most. Click to register.

October 7th  - New Controls to Staff Dishonesty - Staff searches at Distribution Centres is typically well organised, and supported by investments in technology to determine who to select for a search, and more technology lead methods to search such as Thruvision. However, at the store, the approaches taken by retailers is varied, some not searching at all, with others committed to staff searches, but often in a retail context without any one single exit route, and without any specific technology support. In this session, the group will explore new ways to think about staff searches in the store, learning from each other new and different ways to think about staff searching as an effective strategy to prevent internal theft. Click to register

October 7th  - Loss Prevention Training - Training the organisation on retail loss and how to manage retail loss would seem to be an important strategy for any retail organisation. In this session, we will explore the latest thinking on loss prevention training, the priority afforded to this strategy and will learn from each other the latest greatest thinking on who to train, store managers, store associates, buyers, new hires, etc, what to train, standard operating procedures, exception analysis, reasons for believing, etc, how to train, classroom, digital, mentoring, apps, podcasts, etc, and finally when to train, by exception, annually, etc. To ground the session in reality, the session will start off with some retailer presentations on their respective training strategies, this will help fuel a healthy and robust facilitated discussion. Click to register

October 13th  - Assessing the role of the cloud in the use of video - As both video technologies and the means to connect them continue to evolve and develop, retailers increasingly have a range of options available as to where and how both analytics are performed, and video data is stored and accessed. Ranging from ‘edge’ analytics through to distributed and centralised servers, and increasingly on to Cloud-based options, retailers now have an increasingly complex array of options available and decisions to make about developments in their video technology platform. This session will focus firstly upon exploring the different options and what their benefits and limitations are in terms of performance and practicability. This will then be followed by a retail case study focussed upon the context and business case for utilising a Cloud-based approach. Attendees will then have the opportunity to discuss in detail their experiences and thoughts on this increasingly important topic. Click to register

October 21st  - Launch meeting - Product Id (RFID) Working Group - The application of various types of technologies and devices to individual retail products in order to address the issue of out of stocks, inventory inaccuracy and theft has been a significant strand within the loss prevention industry for more than 40 years. Most recently, the growing importance of omni channel retailing in particular has driven greater awareness of the value of being able to uniquely identify products and their location with greater levels of accuracy across the retail landscape. Increasingly, these issues are becoming not only more entwined, but also more complex as the retail environment changes. At this launch meeting, the session will be opened up with a retailer case study presentation and then a discussion on the case study and a new adoption model generated from ECR research. Click to register

October 27th  - Metrics for Self Checkout Management - To manage a problem, first you need to be able to measure the problem, and in this session we will explore the current thinking amongst retailers on the measurement of the problems of mis-scans, non-scans and walkaways. This session will focus on the fixed self-checkouts, and in the discussion we will hear from retailers who have invested in technology to determine non and missed scans, and how that information gets acted upon. We will hear also from other retailers who have "mined" the data from the SCO tills to determine the frequency of interventions, the most frequent items causing those interventions and the time to fix the intervention, how this data turns into action will be a key part of the discussion. Click to register

November 3rd - Gap Inc Case Study- The Gap, like other retailers has evolved from being purely bricks and mortar, to in some parts of the world, UK for example, to being 100% digital. in this session, loss prevention leaders from Gap Inc will share the journey they have been on, the loss metrics they are now accountable for, who they interact with on the business, the new tools they use, some case studies in success and will close with what they see as the next steps in their digital loss prevention journey. The group will then feed back and discuss their journey. Click to register.

November 9th - How Robust is your LP strategy? - The ECR Loss Prevention pyramid, borne out of the combined learnings from primary research with low shrink retailers, and the experience of the group, has helped different organisations over the years benchmark and then design their loss prevention programme based around the eleven dimensions.  In this interactive session, working group members will each be asked ahead of the meeting to "score" their organisation against each of the eleven factors and to share their results back with the group at the meeting. The aim of the session is to explore what "good can look like" for each of the eleven dimensions. For example, how do those retailers who declare themselves fully compliant on the dimension of senior management commitment explain what this looks like in their organisation, for example, do senior managers ask for monthly retail loss updates? Given that it is unlikely that every retailer will be fully compliant with each of the eleven dimensions, the session should be inspiring and instructive for all retailer participants. Click to register

November 11th  - Utilising Video in the Parking Lot - Having a safe environment both in stores and their associated parking areas is undoubtedly regarded as an important factor determining where customers will want to shop – few people willingly return to retail locations where they feel unsafe. The focus of this session will be on how video technologies can be utilised to help create safer environments outside of the store, in the parking areas used by customers and staff. Attendees will hear from retailers in the working group that have each deployed a range of video-based technologies in their parking areas to address this issue and understand the business case and results of their approach. The group will then have the opportunity to discuss the case studies and share their experiences and learnings. Click to register

December 2nd  - SCO beyond Grocery - You could be forgiven for thinking that self-checkout is just a grocery proposition, however at this session we will explore how SCO has now expanded into Drug, Fashion, Home Improvement and Club. To start the discussion, we will hear from non grocery retailers and their experience and learnings to date on self-checkouts. The group will then discuss how the unique aspects of each retail format generates unique approaches, with some potentially being transferable across retail formats. This is where the magic of collaboration can happen! Click to register

December 7th  - Digital Loss Prevention - What tools work? - Strategies to reduce losses on ecommerce include reducing payment fraud, increasing visibility and the traceability of goods in transit to and from the shopper, reducing the volume of returns and preventing returns fraud to name but a few strategies. In this session, retailers will each share the one best tool, technology, innovation they have executed or trialled in 2021 that has helped them reduce ecommerce losses. The group will then discuss the learnings and share their experiences. Click to register

December 8th  - Exploring the future of video -  While predicting future trends is never easy, developments in video technologies are moving at a pace, providing a plethora of potentially new and exciting opportunities for their utilisation in the retail environment. This session will bring together a panel of informed video technology enthusiasts to explore what the future might look like, focussed upon: 1) Enhancing System Integration, 2) Utilising Video Analytics. 3) Broadening Utilisation Beyond Security, 4) Identifying the Frontiers of Technological Development, 5) Reflecting on the Privacy and Data Security Context. Participants will have the opportunity to pose questions to the Panel and share their own thoughts and experiences on how video technologies in retailing might evolve. Click to register

December 9th  - ECR On Shelf Availability Innovation Challenge Finale - There is nothing more frustrating to shoppers than their favourite item not being available on the shelf or being shipped on their online order. Improving OSA remains a significant opportunity for retailers and CPG's to grow their sales without the need to invest in expensive advertising or promotional euros. The OSA Innovation Challenge process starts with the selection of a retailer and CPG jury, who each share with CO:CUBED, an agency that specialises in innovation, what they believe is getting in the way of OSA and the opportunities for innovation. Against these briefs, the agency starts a global search for the start-ups and innovative companies with new technology and capability responses to the briefs. The jury then short-lists the long list, typically 100+, down to a short list who will each do a five minute "pitch" to the jury on the finale day. This invitation to the finale day on November 10th is open for any retailer, CPG or academic, the session will be two hours so bring popcorn! Click to register

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