Theft is a huge problem for Australian retailers, costing as much as $2.7 billion each year.
When added to many of the other issues retailers face, such as fraud, training deficiencies and operational inefficiency, the financial and reputational damage can amount to up to 7 per cent of revenue lost.
The need to prevent these losses, often described as ‘shrinkage’, is understandably a high priority for many retailers. But to date the solutions available have been laborious to implement and manage. Many retailers have simply relied on ‘gut instinct’ and tip-offs, backed up by manual analysis, to identify and remediate problems.
Queensland-based value-added reseller Bistech has a strong heritage in developing intellectual property and deep experience with the retail sector, and brought these attributes together to tackle the problem of shrinkage head-on.
The result is Retail Defender, a Microsoft Azure-based solution that uses advanced analytics from the Cortana Intelligence suite to isolate suspicious activity at a store or employee level. It integrates with existing point-of-sale software to monitor every transaction, automating the process of analysis and enabling suspicious patterns of activity to quickly be identified for further investigation.
Bistech consulted closely with the Internal Audit/Loss Prevention managers of a number of clients in the planning and design of Retail Defender, to ensure it focused on common areas of concern.
The development of Retail Defender has been mostly funded out of Bistech’s existing revenue streams, with some co-funding from Microsoft for marketing initiatives.
Microsoft also invited Bistech into a new “practice development unit” for high-potential partners, which delivered significant support in the form of Azure development funding, access to cloud solution architects at the commencement of the development process, and access to marketing advisors during its go-to-market planning.
Bistech has also benefitted from a relationship with the National Retail Association and from marketing support from specialist agency Mogrify.
The results for its clients have been strong, with reductions in employee theft and franchisee fraud. Investigations are now able to be completed in minutes rather than weeks, and cost recovery is achievable in months.
One Bistech customer, Retail Food Group (RFG), has deployed the solution across eight of its brands, covering more than 1500 stores, and transformed its Loss Prevention function, leading to significant recovery of lost revenue.
Bistech expects Retail Defender to become a significant revenue stream, with projected sales of $1 million per annum, and is in line with the company’s goal of driving recurring revenue beyond its consulting and resale business.
Bistech is a finalist in the 'Evolving Innovator' category in the 2018 CRN Impact Awards. For a list of all finalists and further details on the awards, please head to the CRN Impact Awards hub. The awards take place during the CRN Pipeline conference. You can get more information and purchase tickets here.