Struggling, but fighting back

The retail sector has seen multiple store closures this year, increasing the pressure to innovate through two-way radios, body-worn cameras, RFID and other wireless technologies. Kate O’Flaherty reports

Toys R Us, Maplin, Mothercare and House of Fraser were just a few of the casualties in 2018 as consumers chose to shop online instead of visiting bricks-and-mortar locations.

According to some retail experts, this is leading to a reluctance to invest in technology – which itself paradoxically makes it even more difficult to compete. However, others point to the growth of body-worn cameras and digital two-way radios in shopping centres and large outlets, in addition to RFID boasting more advanced capabilities.

Retailers need to prevent revenue loss from shoplifting, as well as protecting customers and staff. This is leading to a focus on safety and security, a retail source tells Land Mobile. “In today’s society, we see constant security threats, so we have to be as proactive as we possibly can. We need systems that are robust and afford the ability to grow and expand.”

Indeed, digital two-way radios are widely being used in larger stores. But in the UK, retailers don’t always ‘get’ how radio can benefit a small shop, says Andrew Wilson, Syndico’s managing director. “In the US, everyone uses two-way radios in small stores. In a large store, radios allow people to ask questions. Meanwhile, in a small store, people will have to pop out the back, often leaving one person on the shop floor. They need radios for health and safety – and there is also the practicality of customers wanting to speak to someone.”

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