Release date: November 15, 2022
In this episode of Telaid Tech Connect, host Beth Bergmann sits down with seasoned asset protection professional, Brand Elverston. Based on his 22-year career with Walmart and subsequent work with LP/AP retail teams and vendors, Brand shares insights on how disruptive retail technologies both challenge and empower risk mitigation efforts in retail.
IN THIS EPISODE:
- [2:38] How do you think technology is fundamentally changing retail?
- [5:04] What are the most formidable challenges LP/AP teams face today?
- [09:28] What does disruptive technology integration really mean?
- [12:55] How have customer and employee needs changed since the COVID-19 pandemic?
- [18:23] What do the next five years look like?
- [24:00] What is the value of RFID in risk mitigation?
- If there was a silver lining to the pandemic, it was that it helped stress test the technologies that are going to work and those that are ahead of their time. It accelerated automation and changed store operations. However, store operations and LP/AP operate in parallel universes and LP/AP teams were not necessarily prepared for the new risks and loss opportunities introduced with new technologies like self-checkout.
- LP/AP has changed from being seen as the group that runs down shoplifters to the group focused on solving broader business problems than just theft. The key to success is focusing on how solutions solve broader business problems and then getting a seat at the table with other stakeholders to be part of the decision-making.
- Some retailers were surprised by the fact that once the dust settled after the pandemic, consumers actually wanted to get out of the house and return in-person to the store. There was some miscalculation that traffic to brick-and-mortar stores would never return, but it did. And when shoppers do return, they want people there.
- People are still critical to the retail experience. Whether it’s helping mitigate risk and reducing theft or delivering an enhanced customer experience, associates play an important role in retail. I expect that in the not-too-distant future, key retailers will differentiate with their “good old fashioned customer service” in stores. There is a place for fully automated and frictionless, but it’s not in every store.
- In the future, RFID is going to be a competitive imperative for understanding inventory location and quantities. Accuracy is critical in today’s omnichannel environment. AI is also going to be used more and more to help mitigate risk.
Brand joined Walmart in 1995 after serving over eleven years as a Field Artillery Officer in the United States Army. He began his retail career with the field Asset Protection (AP) team but quickly transitioned to the home office AP staff serving in several key positions including Merchandise/Systems Coordinator, Director of AP Operations, and Director of AP Strategic Initiatives with primary scope over all research and development efforts, strategic systems integration, and new technology pursuits. For the last 14 months of his nearly 22-year career with Walmart, Brand was appointed the Director of the newly created Operational Execution team with responsibilities of evaluating the execution and effectiveness of key, strategic company programs at store level. Brand retired from Walmart in March of 2017 and is currently the Founder/Principal of Elverston, LLC., providing senior advisory services to risk mitigation technology providers and retailers alike.