Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Unethical LP Solution Providers ? Day 1 of NRFLP 2012 - Retail ...

One of the main aspects of Loss Prevention that I have always admired is the moral compass within the close knit group of men and women who make up the space. ?They believe that they should be held to higher standard and they act as such. ?Because their vocation is about preventing loss and theft and because they must protect their employers, they feel that they themselves must be moral and ethical in how they conduct themselves and how they represent their employers. ?This is high commendable and I see it in practice at every event that I attend.

What I have come to learn over the last 6 months and I have had re-enforced today is that there are some solution providers in this space whose actions are diametrically opposed to those upheld by retail loss prevention. ?In fact, their behavior is downright unethical and could be borderline illegal. ?And it is sad. ?There is an unwritten rule at trade shows. ?Competitors are co-located together in the same space. ?But, there is a mutual respect for each other. ?In fact, I consider folks at some of our competitors to be friends. ?But, we do not cross the line. ?You respect one another?s space. ?You do not listen in on their conversations or try to watch semi-private demos. ?And you do not send your people to their booth pretending to be someone else and try to steal their ideas. ?Otherwise, these shows will collapse. ?Vendors will snipe other vendors and so some vendors will stop attending.

What I have seen today tells me is that some vendors don?t follow this unwritten rule and will in fact lie to spy on others. ?Not only is this uncool, but it is unethical (and if they implement what they learned from us in their software, then it is illegal).

Today I had a competitor come by the booth. ?I was in the middle of a very detailed demo to a journalist. ?They had their name badge covered. ?This is standard practice for someone trying to commit subterfuge and learn your secrets. ?So, I paused and asked her where she was from. ?In most situations, this is where the person admits where they are from and politely excuses themselves. ?It is the right thing to do.

This woman, however, had the audacity to lie to me and say she was form Sony and she wanted to partner with us. ?This turned out to be untrue. ?A blatant lie. ?She was from a competitor. ?And she proceeded to take notes and ask detailed questions.

I learned after the fact that she was lying and where she worked. ?I will not call the company out publicly. ?This will be addressed privately. ?But, I will warn retailers that this is happening and I consider it highly unethical. ?Before you do business with a vendor it?s best to ensure that they act in a ethical manner. ?After all, if they are willing to lie, what else are the capable of? ?Is your data safe with them?

I will also say that since this vendor now has seen detailed information about our product and received this information in an unethical manner, that they have no ethics and will attempt to steal our features for their product. ?We spend a lot of time and money to make our product unique and to offer cutting edge technologies and features that will benefit our customers. ? They already stole our marketing messages and our website messaging. ? They spent the last week and a half downloading every page on our website. ?They might as well call themselves Agilence.

The fact they think they can steal our ideas sickens me.

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