Shoplifting, Retail Security, Loss Prevention, RFID (radio frequency identification) technology, Organized Retail Crime, Business Intelligence


With the advent of new technologies, there has been some success at curbing the growth of retail theft in recent years. However, such thefts have been estimated to cost American retailers approximately $40 billion dollars annually, and globally, the losses could reach $100 billion a year! This article explores the prospects for using RFID (radio frequency identification) technology as a new tool for retailers’ use in the ongoing loss prevention battle against theft by both shoplifters and employees. It begins with an overview of the scope of the retail theft problem, including the impact of organized retail crime (ORC) and the economic downturn on shoplifting. We then look at how technologies such as electronic article surveillance (EAS) and video camera surveillance have proven successful in the “arms race” to counter shoplifting. It then presents a brief overview of RFID technology, examining how it differs from the venerable bar code technology and how it is being applied across various settings. We then analyze how RFID is beginning to see utilization in-store, not just as a security device, but also as a vehicle to improve inventory management and business intelligence. We conclude with an analysis of the current situation and the prospects for retail’s RFID-enabled future

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