June 14, 2018
A standing-room session at a major retailer loss prevention convention in Dallas this week showed how the lines between protecting physical and online stores from fraud losses are not only blurring, they are vanishing. Online fraud prevention traditionally has had a limited role at NRF Protect, and the focus was still on physical security this week (exhibitors included companies offering video surveillance, cash management, security guard, door and window security, fire protection and other solutions geared toward protecting employees and inventory at brick-and-mortar stores).
Understandably, the education program also focused on these subjects, but online fraud prevention garnered some attention. Specifically, one breakout session on omnichannel fraud strategies played to an overfilled room. A show of hands indicated most in the room were impacted by omnichannel fraud. Order online/pickup in-store was overwhelmingly the most popular omnichannel feature offered by those in attendance. Presenters from Office Depot stressed the importance of systematically thinking about and planning for omnichannel fraud.
Don Burkett, Office Depot’s director of LP technology, noted that even though the ideal implementation of omnichannel includes systems that seamlessly talk to one another, as a practical matter retailers still live in a multi-channel world. Their e-commerce technology environment is separate from their POS environment, which is separate from their call center. Fraudsters know this and will exploit the vulnerabilities this creates, so uniting these systems as much as possible is vital.
Even if your company does not yet offer omnichannel capability for your customers, fraud teams should be thinking about it and be ready to answer questions internally.
“Stay current with what’s going on in [omnichannel] even if you haven’t adopted it yet,” Burkett said. “Put together ‘What-if’ exercises for your teams. What if we decided to do self-service? What if we decided to use lockers? What if the customer is in the store and they want to pick it up at another store? What if you’re going to ship from the store to someone’s house?”
Thinking about these things before your company is planning for omnichannel is imperative, Burkett said, if only to be ready when the subject does, inevitably, arise with your company’s leadership.
“If you don’t, you aren’t only not ready to engage intellectually in that conversation, you most likely will be doing so from a negative posture—only talking about the risks because that is the first thing that comes to [loss prevention professionals’] minds. If you have been thinking about the subject, you instead can say ‘if you truly believe this will add value to our customers’ experience, here’s what we recommend.’ That’s the advantage of thinking about omnichannel even before it becomes a conversation in your company.”