Technology is giving c-store owners more resources in the battle for better store security.
Smart safe technology — smart in that it connects the internet, point-of-sale (POS) stations, cash management technology and back-office systems — automatically accepts, validates, records and stores cash. Its use is on the rise among c-store operators today, as it keeps pace with the increasing demand for automation and optimization of working capital and the need to predict cash flow. Remote monitoring that can update systems and correct errors is also helping to spur its expansion.
Nissan Koroghli, a 7-Eleven franchisee with one heavily trafficked store near the famed Las Vegas Strip, emphasized the need to keep abreast of the latest advancements in smart safe technology.
“It is especially important in the c-store environment,” he said. “We do a lot of money orders and cards, and we get big bills. Being able to track each type of bill definitely helps out.”
Koroghli said he has come to depend on the many benefits of smart safes every day, which include securing cash, lowering banking fees, improving labor efficiency, quickening access to working capital and increasing both visibility and accountability. He cited Straits Research projections that the global smart safe cash management market is expected to reach $81.30 billion by 2030.
For c-store veteran Amer Hawatmeh, who now operates a Coast to Coast Bodega in Santa Clarita, Calif., remote access is the technology that he finds most useful for managing loss prevention today.
“Technology is becoming faster and more intense every day with ease and efficiency,” he said. “One can almost do everything but the physical labor needed to run a store on one’s phone or iPad.”
Jack Hayes, the principal of Jack L. Hayes International Inc., a loss-prevention consulting firm, said he sees retailers using technology to enhance security in a variety of ways in 2023, including: fewer cash transactions, and hence more trackable electronic ones; better fraud prevention with additional technology at the POS; updated POS software, which will create fewer opportunities for theft; and increased use of closed-circuit television.
The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) “2022 Retail Security Survey: The State of National Retail Security and Organized Retail Crime” made it clear retailers face security-related challenges on many fronts.
“Most of the retailers surveyed report in-store, e-commerce and omnichannel fraud are all on the rise,” the report noted. “The majority of respondents also reported that guest-on-associate violence, external theft, ORC (Organized Retail Crime) and cybercrimes have become higher priorities for their organizations.”
Retailers are devoting considerable resources to preventing the victimization of their employees, guests and organizations, the report noted. “They are boosting their budgets for loss prevention and technology, and 52.4% are increasing budgets specifically for capital and equipment.”
Retailers are also implementing a variety of technological solutions, from artificial intelligence-based video analytics at the POS/self-checkout to self-service locking cases, autonomous security robots and license plate recognition.