There never seems to be enough time to see, hear and participate in everything you want to at an industry conference. But, at last week’s 2014 NRF Loss Prevention Conference, while helping to staff the Envysion booth, I had the opportunity to find out more about what retail loss prevention experts are really thinking and talking about, and I was even able to “steal away” long enough to participate in a spirited round table discussion.

In our booth, our analytics partner, Lighthaus, joined us for lively discussions with attendees about hot topics including people counting, line-time monitoring, congestion monitoring and heat mapping. As video and business intelligence technology become more prevalent, retailers are increasingly employing these modern techniques for loss prevention, operations and more.

I also attended a dynamic round table discussion on the topic of “internal theft”. Facilitated by Janine Marin and Tom Meehan of Bloomingdales, and Melissa Mitchell of Lifeway Christian Stores, participants included retail loss prevention professionals from about a dozen other top companies. The round table focused on using new strategies and technology to focus on meaningful and appropriate investigations that drive better results. Discussions included the importance of using exception reporting, video and analytics to thwart internal theft. Another topic: the importance of varying your approach to internal loss prevention, versus getting into a “standard” approach that employees learn to anticipate and work around when attempting to steal from the company.

A few other takeaways from the round table:

  • Many participants’ companies are experiencing a prevalence of gift card fraud, often by employees.
  • Many companies are instituting employee bag, pocket and sock checks to cut down on employee theft.
  • The majority of participants have adopted phone interviews for investigations, versus in-person interviews, because they are less costly to the company and because there is an advantage to the employee not seeing the face of the investigator.
  • Adapting and incorporating processes to accommodate mobile point of sale (POS) is a growing concern for loss prevention teams as the technology expands throughout retailers.

To find out what’s really happening in the world of loss prevention, there’s no better way than to share real-life experiences with each other. What retail loss prevention challenges are you facing, and how are you conquering them? I’d love to hear from you.