Maximising ROI through effective analytics and follow up
The vast majority of retailers now use EPOS data as an aid to detecting unusual or suspect till activity, utilising either standard or bespoke exception reports generated through their till systems, or through dedicated data mining software, specifically designed to identify patterns and trends. Both of these approaches offer the retailer the opportunity to analyse till operator’s activities and provide a platform for further investigation.
Outsourced security solutions provider Lodge Service work closely with a large number of retailers across all sectors to address Point of Sale (PoS) cash handling concerns and are well placed to provide insight into what we consider to be the most effective use of EPoS data.
In our experience, the issue can be divided into 3 key areas:
1. Is your system generating the most effective exception reports?
Whichever IT system you decide to implement, either utilising standard till exception reports or dedicated data mining software, you need to ensure you the reports are providing you with the most relevant information. Excess voids, no sales and refund activities are obviously a good starting point but don’t forget low value sales (which can be hidden by carrier bag transactions), linked transactions such as a high value followed by a void sale, and individual till operator reports which allow you to performance manage individual activity and make comparisons with other staff members.
Time and day comparisons reports are also useful – till discrepancies frequently increase towards the end of the month as payday looms!
2. Do you understand the information you are receiving and are you making the most of it?
This is where a number of retailers tend to fall down – having invested a considerable amount of money on dedicated data mining software, they then discover they don’t have either the time, ability or resource to act on the information they’re being given.
Our advice is always to employ a dedicated, experienced IT trained Data Analyst who can analyse the reports and interrogate the system effectively to identify further anomalies. It’ s no good blaming the software if you’ve failed to act on the information the system is throwing up – the reports need running, checking and following up to prevent further repetition.
Remember – once a thief realises they can get away with it, they generally continue until caught, so don’t miss the opportunities presented by your EPoS data.
3. Follow up investigation
Another key element in the successful use of EPoS data involves the follow up investigation, which is often cut short in an effort to save time and cut corners. Your data analysis may have revealed a single or series of till discrepancies but this will rarely be sufficient evidence on which to base disciplinary or criminal proceedings; it is always recommended that your EPoS data be used as a basis for further investigation and is not viewed as conclusive evidence of deliberate wrongdoing.
Using the EPoS data as a starting point, many retailers still consider conducting a short programme of follow up PoS Test Purchases to positively identify the till operator concerned and to highlight any further till anomalies. Also consider any available CCTV evidence which could be used to further substantiate the EPoS and test purchaser findings.
Remember – EPoS data when used in isolation can be rebutted; far better to catch the operator with their hand in the till!
A major high street retailer, the largest bakery chain in the UK with over 1,600 outlets, engaged Lodge Service in 2010 to provide outsourced support to their internal loss prevention team.
By strategic and regular analysis of their EPoS exception reports, their Data Analysis was able to highlight and escalate incidents of unusual till activity across their estate. They were also able to identify the modus operandi, which frequently involved under-ringing of 3 item ‘Meal Deal’ offers.
Armed with a detailed brief which allowed us to focus on specific stores, till operators and products, Lodge Service operatives carried out short, intensive programmes of test purchasing, providing immediate feedback to the client LP team to check the transaction against the store EPoS.
Using this proactive approach, the client was able to positively identify till theft in over 95% of cases referred to Lodge Service, resulting in the subsequent removal of a number of staff members from the business.
For more information on services we can offer, please contact us via our Contact Us page for more information on how we can help increase your ROI.