Yesterday, following Home Depot’s 2019 “Investor and Analyst Conference,” it was reported that shrink, or product theft and losses, is a bigger issue, potentially worsened by the opioid crisis and the ease at which stolen products can be quickly resold online.
Several news outlets, such as the LA Times, also reported that:
[Home Depot is] installing technology so that power tools won’t work unless they go through the retailer’s point-of-sale system.
Technology that prevents power tools from working unless they go through the point of sale system? How’s that going to work with cordless power tools, which are arguably the largest segment of power tools purchased today?
I listened to a transcript of the presentation and Q&A session, and Home Depot did indeed say that they are accelerating plans around technology that can help bring shrink down, including point of sale activation where you buy a power tool, and the only time that power tool can work is if it goes through a point of sale.
In other words, it seems that Home Depot is experimenting with technology that prevents power tools from working unless you buy them at a register.
This is one of several pilots to better secure higher-valued products.
What kinds of power tools? Which brands? I suppose this is related to which power tools are most commonly stolen from stores. “Power tools” can also mean different things.
HOW will this be done?
Some cordless power tool brands have specific models and connected technologies that allow tools to be locked-out via an app, but you need an app to do it. I don’t think I have ever seen these tools, such as Milwaukee One-Key, sold at Home Depot stores.
This will be an interesting development to follow.