BACKGROUND & CONTEXT:
Retail crime costs the industry billions every year. A significant part of the problem is driven by criminals who target certain desirable products, either for their own use or for resale.
Professor Ron Clarke coined the acronym CRAVED* (Concealable, Removable, Available, Valuable, Enjoyable and Disposable) to help explain why cigarettes, steaks, legs of lamb, spirits, aftershave and perfume, chewing gum, coffee and others are targeted. His observation was that those items which were easy to resell, for example in pubs, on the streets, online or in smaller stores, would be more attractive to thieves.
While it would be relatively simple for retailers to reduce the risk of theft by securing these items behind closed display units, they also need to ensure that shoppers are getting a great in-store experience. This means merchandising these items in a way that is convenient to shoppers to buy and simple for staff to stock. Think of those expensive spirits or luxury hand-creams encased in clunky plastic boxes or locked behind a display case. They may make it harder for criminals to steal, but they also make it difficult for customers to touch, interact with and learn more about the product.
So, how can retailers optimise the shopping experience for items that are highly attractive to criminals while minimising the risk of theft - all in the context of having fewer staff on the shop and an increasing number of unassisted checkouts.
WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR:
We are searching for cost-effective interventions that can help retailers better protect these highly targeted items from theft, without impacting the shopper experience.
We’re open to ideas and inspiration from beyond the retail industry. Ideally these would require little or no human intervention.
QUESTIONS WE’RE SEEKING TO ANSWER:
● How could retailers deter theft by making it easier to identify stolen products?
● How could manufacturers make products less disposable or inoperable unless they’ve been paid for?
● How can technology from outside of the retail industry be applied to solve this challenge? For example, can interventions used in airports, farming, pharmaceuticals, etc to bring new levels of visibility of assets and loss across the supply chain be reapplied?
● How can technology support manufacturers (as part of product and packaging design) and retailers (in open sales merchandising) to increase customer experience, boost sales and eliminate theft?
● How can technology help retailers limit the number of high risk products that can be taken off the shelf in one go?