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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

Checkpoint protects House of Fraser against shrink

Friday December 11 2009

  House of Fraser, the High Street department store has installed the latest generation of electronic article surveillance (EAS) anti-theft solutions from leading security and merchandising specialist, Checkpoint Systems. The new Evolve EAS antennae are helping the retailer to reduce theft in two of its largest stores, in Westfield and Bristol.  


House of Fraser, the High Street department store has installed the latest generation of electronic article surveillance (EAS) anti-theft solutions from leading security and merchandising specialist, Checkpoint Systems. The new Evolve EAS antennae are helping the retailer to reduce theft in two of its largest stores, in Westfield and Bristol.


The installation is part of House of Fraser's ongoing investment in EAS technology across both its estate and in-store concessions to reduce shrinkage. The Evolve technology incorporates 360-degree rotation of radio frequency (RF) signals, which Checkpoint said results in better detection of RF security tags at all angles, making it possible for the retailer to detect stolen merchandise more effectively. It also offers wider aisles (of up to 2 metres) with fewer pedestals, thus preserving the look and feel of the retail environment.


In addition, Alpha CableLoks from Alpha High Theft Solutions (a division of Checkpoint Systems) are also being trialled at its Oxford Street store to combat theft of desirable and high-value merchandise such as handbags and jackets and suits. The CableLok hard tags offer a highly effective means of security thanks to their innovative '3 Alarm Technology', which provides three individual alarms, without hindering the customer shopping experience or obscuring any part of the product.


Jerry Carter, head of retail support at House of Fraser commented: "We've been working with Checkpoint for more than a decade now, and the results and longevity of the collaboration speak for themselves. Department stores can be particularly vulnerable to theft and as such, it was essential that we addressed the problem of shrinkage to protect our bottom line.


"The decision to implement Checkpoint's range of security solutions has certainly proved to be a sound one. We have seen improved stock results, reduced losses on high-end goods, not just in the stores but also in the concessions, and helped create a more pleasant retail environment for our customers, where luxury merchandise can be kept securely on open display," he added.


In addition to EAS technology, Checkpoint is also supplying House of Fraser's Bristol store with its EAS enabled visitor counting software, CheckPro Manager VisiPlus, to provide an insight into the number of visitors to its stores.


VisiPlus monitors the number of people coming and going through store aisles. Information is captured and stored, allowing managers to analyse the information online to determine appropriate staffing levels and measure the effectiveness of promotional campaigns in attracting customers to the store. The intelligence can also be integrated with electronic point-of-sale (EPoS) data to create customer conversion rate reports.


Carter concluded: VisiPlus gives us access to quantitative data, allowing us to identify areas where we can improve operations and reduce costs. Having an insight into business performance is essential in today's fast paced retail environment and the analytical capabilities of this latest solution allow us to do just that."


House of Fraser and Checkpoint Systems have been working together for over 10 years, and Checkpoint's EAS technology is now fitted in many of the retailer's 62 outlets throughout the UK, with a long-term plan to implement the anti-theft solutions across all stores. As well as the installation of the Evolve systems, 18 other stores currently use Checkpoint's earlier 3G systems, and all concessions are provided with Checkpoint's EAS labels to ensure merchandise is protected throughout the stores and compatible with the antennae.




Fabergé launch pushes online luxury boundaries


Fabergé, the iconic jeweller, has created, to bring the qualities of its luxury brand to the web with a new online service.


IBM provided business consulting and creative design services to help Fabergé define a new interactive approach and develop technologies that support a selling model for high-value luxury goods on the internet.


The new Fabergé online experience is central to the brand's revitalised business model and global re-launch, placing the internet at the heart of the business and making it the central resource for clients exploring and interacting with the jeweller. Fabergé aims to redefine the conventional online shopping model by making it truly interactive and providing each client with a real life personal sales advisor.


New technology developed by IBM allows the expert sales advisors, accessible 24 hours a day and seven days a week, to provide one-to-one advice and guidance in real-time by live conversation text, telephone or video consultation. The sales advisor can also guide clients securely through the interactive world of Fabergé via the client's own screen. As the relationship develops, sales advisors can place new or alternative products directly onto the clients screen based on personal preferences and interests. The jewellery can be explored from every angle in minute detail on-line.


Fabergé chief executive, Mark Dunhill commented: "Other retailers have adapted to the way we are told the online shopping experience has to work. We wanted to turn this approach on its head by adapting the internet to meet our clients' needs. When we started on this journey we realised we were setting IBM an enormous challenge. In fact we felt we might be asking them to do the impossible, however they achieved everything we wanted of them."


IBM will host and support the new Fabergé online service site as the brand and online distribution model evolves. And the vendor's technology has provided Fabergé with a powerful platform created to allow the interactive model to continue developing and include further capabilities. These include the ability to involve other parties in the on-line interaction and ensure the collection can be constantly refreshed with new pieces.




Pierhouse claims retailers are losing out on traditional PoS


Retail store staff are spending 10 times longer to organise and display the point of sale (PoS) than head office is allocating, according to marketing management solutions provider, Pierhouse.


The vendor of the net.tickIT system said this mismatching of resource is therefore masking the true cost of running campaigns and promotions, without even taking into account the knock-on effect of lost sales where less time is spent on customer-facing tasks.


"In a climate where retailers are looking to cut costs in all areas, it is surprising that not only is 40-70% of all PoS material still being wasted, but associated labour costs for back office tasks are much higher than budget," said Geoff Clifton, Pierhouse business development director.


"On average the time spent sorting, correcting, making and trying to order missing PoS can be as high as between 20 and 35 man hours a week, yet retailers are allocating just three to four hours under the bland banner of 'sorting'. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that staff from several departments often have to get involved to help answer questions such as: what goes where? what's missing? what needs replacing?"


He continued: "By printing PoS in-store in display order and moving to an automated system for creating signage – print, ESEL [Electronic shelf-edge labels] or digital – retailers can save a minimum of five hours a week and considerably reduce labour costs."


The vendor said that, for example, net.tickIT-user Somerfield has benefitted from a 50% saving in labour that is equivalent to more than half a million pounds per annum, delivering return on investment a (ROI) of less than four months.


"Retailers have been wasting tens of thousands of pounds a year creating and transporting PoS that is not required. This cost may have been something that could have been absorbed or even overlooked when trading times were better, but not in today's climate when every penny counts," added Clifton. "In addition, to remain competitive, retailers need to be able to amend prices and create new promotions in minutes, not days or weeks; automating the creation and distribution of PoS provides the flexibility, along with the compliance."




Mobile coupon and smart poster revenue to drive NFC mobile payments


A new analysis from analyst, Juniper Research of the near-field communications (NFC) opportunity has forecast the technology's application as a mobile retail marketing tool via coupons and smart posters will support the growth of NFC mobile payment transaction values from $8 billion (£4.9 billion) in 2009 to $30 billion (£18.4 billion) within three years.


Such is the excitement about the potential of NFC, the analyst said vendors are developing and launching a variety of interim solutions such as stickers and SD cards to get NFC to market faster on existing phones rather than new NFC enabled phones.


Howard Wilcox, Juniper senior analyst and author of "NFC Mobile Payments & Marketing Opportunities: Forecasts & Analysis 2009 – 2014" stated: "Many people focus on the use of NFC for payments but in fact it is poised to revolutionise the way many people shop too. The ability to tap smart posters and receive coupons and product information also presents new channels to market for merchants. While vendors see widespread availability of NFC phones in future, the jury is out as whether interim solutions will attract users or actually have a detrimental effect."


Further findings from the NFC research include the prediction that the first NFC devices will be shipped commercially later in 2009 and that the market will ramp up from 2011. At the same time, NFC/Felica payments are already established in Japan, but the report predicted by 2014 North America and Western Europe will be experiencing high growth.