Rouses Market is getting more serious about loss prevention.
The food retailer and IDScan.net, a provider of identity verification and information-gathering solutions, recently completed a pilot program of a new loss prevention solution, IDWare Profit. The solution reduced returns by 36% at participating stores. Following the successful pilot, Rouses has expanded the use of the solution in more than 90% of its stores and plans to include it in all its stores this year.
“The significance of this solution has taken on a whole new meaning during the pandemic, with stress buying way up and the economy way down,” said Denis Petrov, the CEO of New Orleans-based IDScan.net. “Groceries and retailers of all kinds must be extra vigilant to protect their bottom lines during these extraordinary times, and our new, proven solution makes it possible.”
Merchandise return fraud cost U.S. retailers $18.4 billion last year, and fraud and abuse combined cost $24 billion, according to the Washington, D.C.-based National Retail Federation.
The IDWare Profit solution is powered by IDScan.net’s robust ID-scanning and -parsing technology. It allows retailers to use an iPad kiosk installed at customer service to scan an individual’s ID when they seek to return merchandise. In an instant, the solution automatically captures the information from the ID and creates a record of the customer and the return. If returns reach a set dollar threshold for the individual during a given time period, IDWare Profit immediately triggers a manual review of the return. The technology is cloud-based, so the information is shared across all store locations in real time and can be accessed by management through an online portal.
The pilot began last year, and IDScan.net and Rouses have been working to refine and perfect it ever since.
“We saw a 36% reduction in merchandise returns in our five pilot stores during the first five weeks, while other stores in the area saw an increase in returns during the same period,” said Barton Howard, Rouses' VP for asset and profit protection. “It’s clear the solution is not only catching fraud, it’s deterring it. The solution is much more than paying for itself, so we’re deploying IDWare Profit across all our stores.”
The new tool also allows retailers to manage vendors by scanning their IDs to create time-stamped records of when vendors arrive and when they leave. Retailers can use this information to ensure that bills accurately reflect the time a vendor spent at the store, and that deliveries were made when vendors claim to have made them.
IDWare Profit’s timers module allows stores to manage and track routine operations and audits. Employees scan their badges after performing tasks, including floor checks, and the system creates a time-stamped, forensic record that can be exported from the retailer’s database and used to fight frivolous slip-and-fall claims.
One of the largest independents in the country, Rouses has stores in Louisiana, along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and in lower Alabama, and employs more than 7,000 associates. The Thibodaux, Louisiana-based company is No. 80 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.