Many businesses are making it harder for customers to browse their merchandise.
Over the past 12 months, a large number of retailers announced they were incorporating new measures that helped them track stolen goods, Reuters reported. That made some employees more likely to complain, and frustrated shoppers.
There were some notable exceptions. Kimberly-Clark, the company behind Huggies diapers, said it had implemented these restrictions “to protect the integrity of our brand and customer experiences.” As a result, the company saw a 5 percent rise in sales over the previous year.
Retail security has been raised as inescapable in recent years. Technology that turned registers into banks and credit cards online has made it easier for criminals to steal and sell items. Retailers have had to adapt to this, including by instituting anti-theft measures like the “V-Chip” for tracking mobile phone usage, and being able to remotely disable smartwatches and tablets without user permission.
The sector is even considered less of a “hotbed of crime” than the more technologically advanced ones, according to University of Connecticut criminologist and author Todd Cohen.
With technology continuing to advance and stores unable to afford expensive new measures — security costs hit $150 billion last year, and are projected to jump 10 percent this year — companies are increasingly resorting to taking measures that can only be partially successful.