Retail is a tougher business than ever before. While Wall Street falls, the impact is really with Main Street’s stores and chain restaurants.

Still there is growing evidence that those enterprises and their security departments that use business intelligence tools have a better bottom line than underperforming retailers.

There are existing and emerging tools ranging from physical security information management (PSIM) and third party monitoring services to security video analytics and even unique asset tagging systems.


The Kosta Browne Winery in California, for instance, saw a security need to better protect its limited production of its world class pinot noirs. The winery has a loyal following of connoisseurs – on their mailing list and at auction. So the winery took preemptive action to intelligently create a way to protect their drinkable assets. “Kosta Browne wines are highly valued at auctions around the country due to high demand and limited availability,” said Chris Costello, proprietor/managing partner. “The problem of counterfeiting has become more common, especially with wines sold at auction. With the Kodak Traceless system, we are doing everything we can to ensure that each bottle with the Kosta Browne name on it is authentic, protecting the quality and integrity of our brand and our customers’ investment.”

The system is an ultra covert technology using forensically invisible markers that can be added to printing inks, paper or other packaging elements during the manufacturing process. These markers are detectible using only a proprietary pen reader. This allows the winery to quickly and effectively implement a protection strategy that assures long term security of the product and the brand. The winery worked with a label printer, Tapp Technologies of Napa, Calif.

Kosta Browne isn’t alone when it comes to business intelligence tools at retail.


For example, a new study “Loss Prevention and Beyond: Survival of the Fittest,” sponsored by ADT’s Sensormatic Retail Solutions, has uncovered some big differences between top retail performers – those whose sales growth outpace the three percent industry average – and retailers below that average.

One is that top performers use business intelligence tools like returns and void management technologies 46 percent more than underperformers. Another is that nearly three times the number of top performing retailers use electronic article surveillance (EAS) technology as compared to underperformers.

“Greater use of business intelligence tools has improved the efficiency of our other loss prevention technologies and delivered a strong return on investment,” said David George, vice president of asset protection for Harris Teeter. “Business intelligence solutions tied to our CCTV systems have enabled our operators and loss prevention teams to quickly identify and address both operational and loss prevention issues in each of our stores and across the entire chain. The end result is two-fold: improved shrink reduction and better performing store operations.”

Among the study’s findings:
  • Employee theft of goods and cash are top retailer concerns, with respondents ranking internal theft as their number one source of shrinkage, shoplifting as second, and internal theft of cash as third.
  • While almost half of the top performers use EAS to control shrink, only 17 percent of underperformers use EAS – despite all respondents ranking shoplifting as their second largest source of shrink.
  • Seventy-one percent of all respondents said they frequently use exception analysis reporting, a key business intelligence tool, as a critical technology in their loss prevention arsenal.
  • Fifty-three percent of all respondents cite better business intelligence as needed to make effective use of the vast amounts of loss prevention data that exists, especially from video surveillance systems. This discovery was consistent with many other findings that top performers don’t merely do the same things better compared to underperformers, but they also tend to do different things: They think differently, plan differently and respond differently.
“In tough economic times, shrink continues to rise,” said Paula Rosenblum, RSR’s managing director. “With the slowing economy many retailers have cut back on staff and now will be relying on technology to help control theft. Smart, winning retailers know the best way to maximize profitability and improve shrink is to leverage existing assets and improve store intelligence.”