August 18, 2023
Matthew White

The Future Of Retail Security

With shoplifting on the rise within major western cities, which cutting-edge technologies can improve safety and security in the retail space?
In an era defined by rapid technological progress and shifting consumer dynamics, the realm of retail is undergoing a remarkable evolution.

From the lingering impact of the covid-19 pandemic, to the rise of the next-day delivery option, the retail space will never be the same again. Among the profound changes, the domain of retail security is poised for a major overhaul. This is much needed given a spike in shoplifting within major western cities over the past two years has left law enforcement struggling to cope. In New York, shoplifting rose 81% in 2022 - far exceeding pre-pandemic levels. By harnessing the potential of novel technologies, however, the future of retail security promises a shopping experience that is not only secure but also seamless and customer-centric.

Intelligent Collaboration with Digital Data 

The future of retail security hinges on the effective utilization of data-driven intelligence. Retailers are able to tap into the vast data reservoirs they accumulate and employ advanced algorithms and AI-driven analytics to uncover anomalies and potential threats, ranging from organized retail crime to constant attempts at fraud. These algorithms evolve with every interaction, growing sharper in their predictive capabilities. The scope of this innovation isn't limited to brick-and-mortar establishments. The online realm is also embracing data-driven security protocols. Algorithms scrutinise digital transactions constantly to detect indications of fraud and to verify user identities.

To truly maximize the security-related benefits of data analytics, however, retailers need to forge closer alliances with technology providers, law enforcement agencies, and industry consortia to build comprehensive security ecosystems. Multitude Insights's own BLTN platform is founded upon this idea: That a collaborative approach, founded on real-time information sharing, is the most powerful weapon against crime and one which spans across networks of police departments and retail stores. Fast information-sharing systems with law enforcement provides retailers with swift response mechanisms. Real-time data exchange facilitates speedy suspect identification and apprehension, thereby narrowing the window of opportunity for criminals.

Surveillance Reimagined with AI-Driven Insights

Conventional surveillance cameras are undergoing a radical transformation, thanks to the infusion of AI. We've already seen such technology impact adjacent domains: For instance, an AI-powered traffic camera grabbed headlines recently in the UK by catching out a thousand law-breaking motorists within just five days of deployment. Modern retail spaces are embracing intelligent cameras too, which are designed to instantaneously recognize and monitor suspicious behaviours. Picture this: cameras that promptly flag to store staff instances of shoplifting, issues with stock placement, and even slip-and-fall accidents. Additionally, facial recognition technology embedded in these cameras enhances security by instantly identifying known offenders. While early iterations of this technology have revealed some shortcomings, by leveraging deep learning capabilities1 the accuracy levels will be greatly enhanced. It's only a matter of time before facial-recognition systems are highly reliable and common-place.

Seamless Security through Contactless Measures

The pandemic turbocharged the adoption of contactless technologies, with retail security embracing this trend wholeheartedly. With this has come biometric authentication, comprised of fingerprint and facial recognition generally, which can bolster payment security and minimize the risk of identity theft and payment fraud. J. P. Morgan is already piloting biometric-based payment solutions for US retailors, which involve scanning the customer's face or palm to provide a rapid and secure checkout experience.

While technological strides promise a safer shopping future, they also raise ethical and privacy concerns. Balancing security with personal privacy remains a tightrope walk. By implementing stringent data protection measures and adhering to regulatory frameworks, retailers can strike the delicate equilibrium required to cultivate and sustain customer trust.

Overall, the future of retail security is a landscape of innovation and technology that promises to reshape the industry profoundly. As retailers forge ahead, embracing these innovations while upholding ethical standards, they pave the path toward a retail realm that is not just secure, but also provides a safer and more convenient experience for customers.

1.Guangyong Zheng, Yuming Xu, (2021). “Efficient face detection and tracking in video sequences based on deep learning.” Information Sciences, Volume 568, pages 65-285.

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