With a dramatic increase in unemployment, huge protests being hijacked by criminals and police departments stretched, many retailers have seen an increase in organized retail crime.
This week I took part on a webinar conducted by the National Retail Federation, sponsored by Microsoft, titled “Pandemic Playbook: Protecting Your Shoppers, Employees, and Products During the Pandemic.” This was a preview to the annual NRF: Protect – All Access – Asset Protection Conference that will be held virtually from September 22 to 25. This ten-session program is free. Learn more here.
More than 12,500 have participated in the conferences the last five years. The participants this year included Scott Draher, VP of Asset Protection and Safety for Lowe’s and Bob Moraca, the former NRF VP of Asset Protection.
Lowe’s, considered an essential business when the pandemic hit, has been focusing on safety for the customer and employees in its stores. The company had a playbook already developed from previous natural disasters, such as hurricanes, but had to build out its plan to make it more robust for the virus. With stores averaging 140,000 square feet it has been relatively easy to ensure social distancing while shopping.
When the pandemic hit, Lowe’s donated all of the N-95 masks it had in stock to health care providers. Lowe’s instituted many safeguards including contactless payment and used its own products to construct barriers at check-out stands.
Lowe’s has a strong supply chain team keeping products flowing to their stores and a dedicated Government Affairs staff that quickly and carefully tracks all of the federal, state and local orders and guidance across the country. It is truly a team effort. Most of the Lowe’s Corporate Team has been working productively from home. Draher complimented the partnerships with state retail associations to keep communications flowing and responding to new and emerging challenges.
NRF and Lowe’s are setting the standard for retailers to operate safely and effectively in the “new normal” of the pandemic.