In the ever-evolving landscape of retail, businesses face an ongoing challenge: theft. Despite implementing additional security measures such as extra guards, security barriers, employee body cams and even the use of dummy products on shelves, the issue of stolen goods continues to plague the industry.
This problem has been exacerbated recently by the effects of a post-pandemic economy now facing a cost-of-living-crisis. As a result, the industry is turning to forward-thinking companies, like Harrison Retail, to innovate POS and display solutions for loss prevention.
The cost-of-living crisis and theft
The cost-of-living crisis has had a profound impact on communities worldwide, pushing some individuals to resort to theft as a means of survival. While this issue remains complex, it underscores the importance for retailers to take proactive measures to protect their assets. By investing in innovative shrinkage-reduction, businesses can mitigate the impact of theft while maintaining a secure and welcoming shopping environment.
Theft in retail is a persistent issue that is costing the retail industry billions each year. Despite retailers’ best efforts to enhance security, determined thieves find innovative ways to exploit vulnerabilities. The cost-of-living crisis has only exacerbated this problem, pushing some individuals to turn to theft as a means to cope with financial hardships. Retailers are now tasked with finding more efficient and effective solutions to protect their inventory and bottom line.
We are seeing more and more retailers introduce additional loss prevention measures such as:
- extra guards, security barriers and body cams for employees,
- facial recognition systems to flag known shoplifters,
- ‘dummy’ packages displayed on shelving to be swapped for the actual product by staff members at checkout,
- and – as reported by the Daily Mail – a south London Sainsbury’s, once the chain’s biggest supermarket in the country, is set to shut later this year with staff revealing that rising theft factors highly in the decision to close.
We’ve always been used to high value items such as alcohol having security protection; however, we’re now seeing everyday items, baby formula, duvets and suncream, displayed in stores with this extra level of security.
The British Retail Consortium recently reported that:
“incidents of theft have increased by 27% across ten of the largest cities in the UK, with some cities up as much as 68%. The nature of these crimes has changed, with perpetrators becoming bolder, and many retailers reporting increasing links to organised-crime activity.”
The full report can be found here.
Adapt and evolve with anti-theft innovations
As the cost-of-living crisis persists, it is imperative for businesses to adapt and evolve. By embracing innovative solutions, retailers can safeguard their assets, enhance the customer experience and continue to thrive in a challenging retail landscape.
Here at Harrison Retail, we are leading the charge in combating theft by developing cutting-edge point-of-sale and product display solutions designed to limit product accessibility, making theft attempts more difficult and reducing stock shrinkage.
Douglas Cook, our in-house Product Development Manager, states:
“We are seeing a dramatic increase in requests for anti-theft and loss prevention solutions across our retail client base. It is clear that the industry is facing a real challenge and looking to the most innovative suppliers who are able to react to this problem effectively and efficiently; which is why we continue to prioritise research and development in anti-theft solutions at Harrison.“
Leading the market to new innovation
Our innovation and product design experts are working with large supermarkets and cosmetics stores throughout the UK to innovate new loss prevention systems which are currently being trialled in multiple stores.
Our commitment to revolutionising retail security aims to serve as an example for the industry as a whole, paving the way for a more secure and prosperous future for the retail industry.
Get in touch with us today to discuss your store’s vulnerability to theft and explore how we can develop a tailored solution to reduce your stock shrinkage. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our team will get back to you.
In an ever-evolving retail landscape, staying ahead of the curve is essential for businesses looking to thrive in the competitive marketplace. Coupled with our ESL Data Strips, electronic shelf-edge labels have the potential to reshape the way retailers operate, providing an efficient and modern solution to pricing and product information display.
We recognise the significance of this shelf edge technology and offer ESL Data Strips that play a crucial role in ensuring the devices are held securely along shelf edges. As Charles Bedford, Managing Director of Harrison, states: “Our ESL data strips add a modern and professional touch to your retail space, ensuring that they won’t detract from the overall aesthetic of your store.”
ESLs have been a staple in retail establishments across Europe for quite some time, but their adoption in the UK has been gaining momentum recently. Leading grocers have initiated trials or deployed electronic shelf-edge labels across their stores, drawn by the undeniable advantages of a system that allows prices to be updated instantly. This dynamic pricing capability not only saves time but also offers flexibility in responding to market changes swiftly.
One of the standout features of electronic shelf-edge labels is their capacity to convey comprehensive product information in a concise and easily readable format. Unlike traditional paper tickets, ESLs can accommodate extensive data, enabling retailers to provide customers with valuable details about products, promotions, and nutritional information. This enhances the overall shopping experience and empowers consumers to make informed choices.
Furthermore, ESLs are not limited to merely displaying prices and product information. Some advanced systems can optimise inventory management by guiding employees through the picking and packing process for online orders. These systems illuminate a clear route, streamlining the fulfilment process and reducing errors, which is especially crucial in the booming e-commerce sector.
However, the adoption of shelf edge technology in the UK has not been without its challenges. The prohibitive cost of implementing such systems across large retail estates with hundreds of stores has been a deterrent for some. As Product Development Manager, Douglas Cook, notes: “While it seems likely that this type of technology will eventually spread across the UK, it might take some time before every store we walk into has electronic labels on the shelves. However, we have definitely seen a big increase in the number of UK retailers currently running ESL trial stores and exploring the various attachment solutions with us.”
Despite the initial hurdles, ESLs are gradually gaining ground in the UK market, driven by the evident advantages they offer. Retailers are recognising the long-term benefits of reducing manual price changes, improving accuracy, and enhancing the shopping experience for their customers. As the technology evolves and becomes more accessible, it is only a matter of time before ESLs become a standard feature in UK stores.
Our ESL data strips offer enhanced mounting and display of electronic price tickets through durable, extruded plastic construction and unobtrusive finish, ensuring an uninterrupted view of products and ticket prices.
In conclusion, Electronic Shelf-Edge Labels, complemented by ESL Data Strips, are already starting to revolutionise the retail landscape in the UK and beyond. The ability to swiftly adjust prices, provide comprehensive product information, and streamline operations make ESLs an indispensable tool for retailers looking to stay competitive in a dynamic market. While challenges remain, the momentum behind ESL adoption suggests that these innovative labels are here to stay, promising a more efficient and customer-centric future for retail businesses.
We already supply a wide range of ESL ticket strips and accessories to leading UK retailers, speak to our innovation experts today to discuss your ESL project requirements by emailing email@example.com.
We are thrilled to introduce the latest addition to our team, Ole Elm Christiansen, who joins as the new Nordic Business Lead. Ole’s extensive experience in the retail industry, combined with his deep knowledge of the Nordic region, makes him the perfect fit to support the expansion of Harrison supplying bespoke retail display solutions into the European and international markets.
With over 25 years of experience in the retail sector, Ole brings a wealth of expertise and a strong track record of success. He has a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities within the Nordic retail landscape and we are excited to have him on board to drive expansion efforts further.
Ole’s role here at Harrison is pivotal to our ongoing commitment to provide innovative store display solutions to major retail clients. His achievements and experience in the retail sector brings invaluable insight.
Ole confirms: “My aim at Harrison is to focus on cost-savings and efficiencies, along with sustainable and reliable partnerships on the supplier side of the business. This is an interesting market and great opportunity for Harrison to be innovative.”
Daryl Bedford, Director, says: “Ole will leverage his industry knowledge to further strengthen our position as a global retail partner of choice. With our in-house manufacturing capabilities at our fabrication site, a well-established Product Development & Innovation department, and a dedicated Quality Assurance team, we continue to invest in expanding our retail display offerings.”
We take pride in our global distribution network, which includes warehouses and manufacturing sites across the globe. With a stable, reliable, and consistent supply chain coupled with our team’s expertise, we offer a flexible, tailor-made approach to projects, ensuring that quality is guaranteed every step of the way.
Our capabilities extend beyond manufacturing, as we also provide warehousing and logistics services. With facilities in the UK, Europe, and the US, we can hold stock for clients and provide swift delivery services to meet each project’s timeframes.
Our global time-critical pick, pack, and shipping service, along with retail display pre-assembly and direct-to-store delivery options, ensure seamless project completion.
By working with Ecovadis and achieving their gold sustainability rating, we ensure that we are sourcing responsibly and continually improving ethical standards throughout the supply chain. Furthermore, we are proud to hold ISO 9001 accreditation, underscoring our commitment to maintaining the highest levels of product quality. Mark Adams, Head of Procurement, says: “Quality starts at the product and process design stage. Our Harrison Project-Lite framework employs stringent quality gates, guaranteeing that quality is integrated into every aspect of your project.
With our in-house design and manufacturing capabilities, we can create entirely bespoke concepts and designs tailored to your specific brief and deadlines. Our expertise includes acrylic fabrication, injection moulding, extruding, and wirework, allowing us to bring your ideas to life with precision and excellence.”
Daryl Bedford, continues: “We welcome Ole Christiansen to our team and reaffirm our dedication to providing top-tier retail solutions and services to our valued partners. With Ole’s leadership, combined with our comprehensive capabilities and global presence, Harrison continues to be the trusted global retail partner, covering all needs from concept to completion.”
Ole concludes: “Harrison is a very well organised business that will ensure strong, high-quality partnerships with clients in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.” And with Ole’s experience, Harrison will continue to be the trusted global retail partner, creating and supplying innovative display products from concept to completion.
Whether you’re in need of retail solutions, warehousing, logistics, or bespoke design, we are your trusted partner from concept to completion; simply contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our expert team will be in touch.
Quality underpins everything we do here at Harrison. We caught up with some of the members of our quality team recently to find out more about their work, our company’s approach to quality and the main quality-related challenges facing the retail industry.
Liam Naran is Harrison’s Senior Quality and Compliance Officer. On a typical day, his works involves a mixture of data gathering, investigation and general quality control activities.
“I’ll start by looking at anything that’s a top priority to the business,” he explains. “If any issues have been reported, I’ll open an investigation if I need to and begin pulling some data together for that.
“I’ll then look at any products that may be coming in on order and whether any quality assurance inspection needs to be performed on these types of items. We do have certain known products that are quality-sensitive where audit inspection is routinely required.”
Working on compliance documentation is another regular part of Liam’s role. “These may be documents relating to accreditations like ISO 9001 or quality control Standard Operating Procedures for the business.”
But, when it comes down it, what is quality? How do we measure it and what steps are we taking to ensure that our products and services are delivered to the highest of standards?
Mark Adams has overall responsibility for quality at Harrison and believes that a holistic approach of embedding quality principles into each part of the business is fundamental to building long-term customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Perceptions of quality
“The question of how to define quality is an interesting one to consider. We support a wide variety of customers and clients at Harrison, across a range of industries and countries around the world, and everyone perceives and understands quality in a slightly different way. For us though, it falls into two main categories: quality of product and quality of service.
Quality of product is, fundamentally, how good a product actually is. Has it been finished to a high standard? Has it been produced to the required specifications? Will it fulfil its purpose? If the answers to these questions are positive then the product can be said to be of a high quality. Steps like sample approvals, prototype testing and first-off production inspection are all ways to help ensure that these high quality standards are met each time.
Quality of service is much broader. It encompasses not only the support that we provide to customers after a product has been purchased, but also how they interact with our business throughout the whole customer journey. The impact and effectiveness of our communications, messaging, imagery and online presence are all part of the quality of our service.
Quality versus specification
One of the most important distinctions to make is the difference between quality and specification. Simply put, specification is how sophisticated a product is and it takes into account everything from a product’s material and dimensions to its features and finishes. Quality is about adherence to that specification.
So whether you have a simple stock product made from low-grade materials or a complex bespoke product made via innovative emerging technology, the quality of these two products should be identical, zero defects. Communicating this effectively to our customers helps to reassure them that a lower specification doesn’t mean lower quality.”
Quality challenges in the retail industry
Sustainability is one of the biggest challenges facing the retail industry both generally and in terms of quality too. Retailers across the board are under pressure to reduce their plastic use and to recycle what they do use. However, maintaining the required levels of quality and specification while switching to sustainable alternatives represents a significant challenge.
The maturity of the recycling economy and attitudes towards sustainability vary dramatically around the world. Some markets haven’t embraced recycling to the same degree as others and this includes a number of major supplier locations. There can be an absence of reliable, recycled raw material streams in these countries, making it difficult for companies to source sustainable raw materials that have the same level of consistent quality as their less sustainable counterparts. This is an industry-wide issue.
It’s a situation that requires careful management and the prioritisation of quality over cost. At Harrison we’re finding ways to be commercially innovative in order to deliver sustainability whilst maintaining our competitive market position.
Packaging is another major area where quality problems can be experienced. Given the prevalence of overseas shipping and the number of steps that can be involved in any supply chain, it’s not surprising that shipments run the risk of getting damaged in transit. This can have cost, quality and reputational implications for any company.
Proactive attention to packaging design at an early project stage and close collaboration with our supply chain can help to mitigate these issues. However incidents of damaged goods are occasionally encountered, necessitating a willingness to quickly address and resolve any problems to the satisfaction of the customer or client.
Quality challenges in the retail industry
Building quality into our processes
Mark’s team are part of a much wider company focus on quality that goes beyond the product.
“Here at Harrison, we aspire to a quality-first culture. Each member of the team should embrace the value that quality is of the utmost importance and seek to build quality into every area of our business.
In terms of product development, we include pro-active quality planning at every stage. This allows us to identify any issues and address them then and there, rather than unconsciously passing them onto the next step in the process. It’s about asking the right questions at the right time and learning from the lessons of the past.”
Ensuring supplier quality
“We source products from all over the world through our global supplier network. Before a new supplier joins that network, we’ll assess their quality procedures and ensure that their management values are compatible with ours. We’ll also review their international accreditations and references from other customers to ensure we can have full confidence in their approach to quality.
Advances in digital technology give us the opportunity to maintain a close relationship with our suppliers regardless of where they’re based. Virtual factory tours, regular video conference calls and shared documentation are all ways in which we can collaborate remotely and address any quality-related issues promptly and effectively.
Additionally, we carry out regular product audit reviews with our suppliers to ensure that the quality of their products remains consistent. This allows us to be confident that the product they’re supplying a year down the line is identical to the product that was originally signed off for production.”
The first thing that a potential customer looks for in a supplier is a quality accreditation. We hold ISO 9001 certification, which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to a quality management system. A robust and functional QMS is the foundation for consistently providing products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements. ISO 9001 is based on a number of quality management principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and engagement of senior management, a process-oriented approach and continuous improvement.
Sustainability sits alongside quality as one of Harrison’s main priorities and so we also hold ISO 14001 certification. This accreditation maps out a framework that a company or organisation can follow to set up an effective environmental management system and underpins the steps we’re taking to reduce our environmental impact while maintaining our high-quality levels.
We are a certified carbon reduced operation, and are continuing to work at measuring and reducing the carbon footprint of our direct operations. Our commitment to continually improve our business practices and corporate social responsibility management, has also recently earned us a Gold EcoVadis Sustainability Rating.
It’s clear that there are lots of perspectives and factors to take into account when it comes to overseeing and understanding quality. But for our Senior Quality and Compliance Officer Liam and his day-to-day work at Harrison, it ultimately all comes down to two main aims.
“My role is about ensuring that we supply the best quality products to our customers that we can,” he concludes. “And ensuring that the relationships we have with our customers and suppliers are the best that they can be.”