Retail Executive

JAN-FEB 2018

Retail Executive is the trusted advisor to top retail executives from the industry’s most profitable retailers. We help retail executives succeed in their job role and grow their business via exclusive, actionable, peer-driven content.

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Page 15 of 43

sizes to remain flat. "LP professionals work hard to help other leaders understand that in order to affect change, the organization must make capital investments that may take time to deliver an ROI." She advises LP leaders to overcome this challenge with open, face-to-face com- munication with key stakeholders. "Getting the various stakeholders to buy into an idea early on and taking them through the process helps. I think sometimes LP professionals make a mistake by taking a proposal right to the CEO or the CFO without vetting it with their peers for feedback or to gain support. It's important to get all the stakeholders excited about and engaged in your vision for improvement." Because tech is such a critical component of the LP department's success, Sostilio believes C-level execu- tives have come to understand that LP technologies aid the entire organization. "Most LP technologies are smart and programmable to do a whole host of things, from heat mapping to people counting," she says. "Take the camera system — it not only catches bad guys but also captures data that can be used to improve the busi- ness. Yet, not every executive understands that LP tech- nologies change quickly. And, so, it's the LP executives' responsibility as leaders to stay abreast of advance- ments in technology and to educate the organization accordingly. Everyone is focused on something else, so it's our job to communicate effectively on a regular, re- curring basis." LP at Barnes & Noble, Sostilio is responsible for all LP functions, and she'll tell you that the LP industry has evolved so much that the term loss prevention, which in itself has a reactionary connotation, has morphed into the commonly accepted proactive term, asset protection. "Technology changed loss prevention; it is evolving and expanding to help retailers protect their assets — their people and their products — as opposed to merely preventing loss. But, the more strategic reason for the move to asset protection stems from three types of programs. Some retailers have a security program, which focuses on theft and access control — the basics and fundamentals of physical security. Others have a loss prevention program, which means LP profession- als have more responsibility when it comes to auditing and, perhaps, safety. Finally, some retailers have an as- set protection program, which is an all-encompassing, holistic program that focuses on the multichannel envi- ronment by assessing risk in a more sophisticated way. I say 'holistic,' but what I really mean is the examination of issues from end to end, as opposed to LP's traditional siloed approach. In my younger years, loss prevention was a siloed group that was only there when needed. But, scarce resources have caused retail executives to do more with less, which has brought about the evolution and involvement of asset protection into the organiza- tion. Loss prevention has gained an important seat at the table by evolving into an asset protection philosophy thanks to its strategic approach to mitigating risk." " When I began my career, the biggest thing we worried about was fire drills. Our threats changed dramatically after 9/11. The world has changed, and we have to change with the world." R O S A M A R I A S O S T I L I O V P, L P AT B A R N E S & N O B L E Difficulties Remain Sostilio and other LP professionals have helped the re- tail industry adopt the asset protection philosophy, but challenges remain. "One of the LP professional's biggest challenges has been helping other stakeholders realize they may not see an immediate ROI from a capital in- vestment," she explains. These challenges are valid — according to the NRF's 2017 National Retail Security Survey, two-thirds of LP budgets are flat or declining, and over half expect staff The Changing Face of Cybercrime Buy-in from the top helps move initiatives forward, and so it goes with combatting cybercrime — another mas- sive issue facing retailers today that didn't exist decades ago. The problem is that cybercrime is always changing. For every measure taken to prevent a breach, there is someone out there trying to hack it. Sostilio states that the cost of compromise can be higher than the cost of the measures. "Retailers must EXECUTIVE Exclusive retail feature RETAILEXECUTIVE.COM JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 16 By E. Harris THE NEW AGE OF LP

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