Retail Security: A Complex Sale

Evolving technologies and roles have added new hurdles to retail security

“You know that you’ve got good video to pull any time without searching for hours and hours,” Bull adds.


The Changing Role of LP

There is a caveat to the new technology — it certainly provides a ton of benefits, but it has also altered the security and purchasing roles that many integrators grew accustomed to in the retail security space.

“Retail LP has really evolved in the last decade,” Bull says. “While their primary role is still reducing shrink and exposure, they are now much more vested in the customer experience and operational excellence in their stores. We always keep this in mind when designing the systems and physically working in their stores doing service and installations.”

In the “old days,” a security integrator merely had to get the loss prevention staff on board to commence with a full security upgrade, retrofit or other installation — today, the security integrator is generally sitting in front of a retailer’s IT department.  

“Since LP departments have limited budgets, the real pitch needs to be directed at the company’s IT department,” Lesnewski says. “In reality, if it doesn’t pass their approval, the system won’t get installed. IT definitely has to be involved, and they have the final say. LP can ask for something all they want, but it has got to pass the approval of their IT department.”

That said, LP managers are still “at the table” when it comes to purchasing decisions — it is just that the final decision probably rests with someone in IT. Regardless, working with the LP folks remains an important aspect of retail security.

“They are still at the table — there are still relationships there,” Lesnewski says. “Many LP people don’t understand the IP technology and what it takes to deploy, but they certainly understand HD 1080p format — that’s what they’ve come to expect at home. They are still definitely a driver, because as the end-user’s regional and store-level LP managers and staff continue to live with their analog equipment, it looks worse and worse to them because they are seeing HD and Blu-ray at home."


Making the Sale

Thus, the security integrator must attack a retail security proposal from multiple angles — IT, loss prevention and more. Bull says that it is good to partner with bandwidth-conscious manufacturers and to leverage that in your discussions. “It depends of course on each company — we have some retailers that have tried-and-true camera location placements and our big job is basically to get the right equipment with the goal of exceeding their expectations for system performance,” he says.

Nevertheless, the proven techniques security integrators have used for decades in any market still apply to today’s evolved retail security departments. “When we get an opportunity, we research the company’s history and business model first — that way we have some understanding of their operations before we have any meetings with them,” Lesnewski says. “The biggest thing we do is listen to the client’s needs. This approach allows us to hear what is expected, implement the appropriate system, and, in turn, get repeat business from happy customers.”


Editor’s note: There’s much more to retail security technologies beyond IP cameras. Keep reading this special section to learn about further technologies that you can add to your retail sales arsenal, including: video analytics, holdup/panic buttons, verified alarms, specialized technologies for banking security and more.


Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of SD&I (