The Bottom Line
The heavy cost of inventory that retailers make
- By Fawzia A. Atcha, Ph.D.
- Apr 01, 2021
Last year brought tremendous challenges for everyone,
especially retailers. Retail shrinkage, the reduction
of inventory from shoplifting, fraud and
internal theft, is estimated to have cost the industry
$61.7 billion according to a 2020 National Retail
Security Survey, an all-time high. Dwindling sales at brick-andmortar
facilities continue to be a threat as new health concerns
from COVID-19 challenge the industry even more. Staff members
are being tested at all levels.
SECURITY SOLUTIONS MAXIMIZE BUDGETS
With staff and budgets being stressed to their limits, security solutions
need to be easy to use and cost effective. The right solution
should complement what is already installed, while further
reducing personnel needs for extensive training.
The system also needs to allow for easy upgrades and access
for multiple employees without exorbitant additional licensing
fees. Many retailers – small and large – are finding success with
hybrid, “open” architecture solutions that don’t require buying
an entirely new, costly system.
For the Neiman Marcus Group, Inc., the parent company for
luxury retailers Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Last Call
and Horchow with 38 stores nationwide, a more cost-effective,
user friendly and scalable security solution was needed with stellar
customer support and customization options. Neiman Marcus
had implemented another access control technology in their
stores and Dallas headquarters that was becoming increasingly
difficult and costly to support. Executives at Neiman Marcus realized
they needed a better long-term plan.
Since Neiman Marcus already made a significant investment in
Mercury controllers they wanted to continue using these boards
so any new solution would need to be compatible. Additionally,
they selected another access control board to work with their new
readers and decided that a hybrid approach would work best to
protect their existing investment. IMRON, a platinum partner of
Mercury, was brought in as the software partner to manage the
hybrid access control hardware vendors with its open architecture
standards and agnostic solutions.
The award-winning UnityIS by IMRON was the perfect hybrid
access control solution because it doesn’t require complicated
software installations or costly licenses. It’s remarkably easy
to use, and the cloud-based software can be accessed from any
web browser on smartphones, tablets or computers virtually anywhere.
This further reduces the need for dedicated staff as they
can now remotely manage the system. Flexible and scalable, UnityIS
is a powerful access management system for a wide range of
industries including retail.
With the cloud, multiple users can manage the system simultaneously,
which was not possible with the previous solution. This
simple change streamlined their internal processes, reduced dedicated
staffing, and increased functionality by allowing more associates
to manage day-to-day operations. With quick installation,
no firewall programming and 99.9% uptime, users can now manage
access from anywhere, instantly adding a new user, updating
existing records, and assigning access control attributes.
Events can be viewed in real-time, and doors can be monitored
and controlled from anywhere with user friendly graphic
maps. Keeping the team informed is a snap with the easy-to-use
reporting system. Featuring bank-level encryption, the database
is automatically backed up daily with immediate access for the
last 90 days.
Historical data can also be accessed as needed. IMRON performs
all maintenance on the software and database, making it
especially user-friendly. With a simple subscription model and no
upfront license fees, UnityIS is affordable and scalable for a wide
range of business users.
The solution offers a number of features that have been especially
useful for retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Occupancy controls. This limits the number of people allowed
into specific pre-assigned areas.
• Hands-free mode. Enables passing in front of reader without
presenting smartphone for access and egress.
• Guest pass. Email or text guests with temporary access pass.
• Remote mode. Remote control of access points from any internet
authorized connected device.
• First-man in. Automatically unlocks doors when first person arrives.
Last-man out. Auto locks doors when last person leaves.
• Lockdowns. Automatically lock/unlock groups of pre-selected
The product itself is only part of the equation. IMRON’s
technical support ensured the Neiman Marcus’ solution was up
and running quickly with virtually no down
time. With this hybrid approach, they’ve been
able to add multiple sites to the enterprise system
easily and they’re poised to implement new
technology quickly as it becomes available.
This article originally appeared in the April 2021 issue of Security Today.