In the retail industry, theft leads to billions of dollars in lost revenue each year. If you own a shop, it is vital that you develop an integrated plan for loss prevention to avoid becoming a victim. To ensure your plan is effective, make sure it takes into account the seven expert suggestions detailed below.
1. Have Obvious Security
If you want to catch thieves, hiding all of your security measures might be the best strategy, but if you want to deter thieves, you need to make your store appear well defended. While cameras, mirrors and window bars will not stop all thieves, people are much less likely to steal from a store they perceive to be monitored. According to studies, cameras and dummy camera domes are particularly effective for this purpose.
2. Protect Against Internal Theft
Internal theft by employees represents the most significant single component of white-collar crime annually according to the Institute for Financial Crime Prevention. It costs companies billions of dollars each year, yet most store owners do little to prevent theft by their employees.
Minimize your chances of internal loss by investing in access control that is auditable, keeping cash locked in a safe, and only allowing necessary employees access to cash handling areas.
3. Avoid Anonymity
Providing a personal touch is both good customer service and an important security measure. Employees should monitor and greet everyone who comes into the store. A little friendly conversation and obvious attention can deter would-be thieves. Additionally, consider making use of technology, including cameras, to keep a verifiable record of all people who visit your establishment.
4. Minimize Temptation
Having a well-maintained store deters theft by shoplifters and employees. Some strategies you should consider to make your business an unattractive target for criminals include the following:
- Avoid leaving large amounts of cash in the registers
- Have a bell or chime on all entrances and exits to alert employees when people enter and leave the shop
- Avoid counting money in public areas
- Have employees count money and make deposits in pairs
- Place electronic tags so they are difficult for thieves to detect or remove
- Put small costly items behind counters or in locked display cases
- Alternate the direction of hangers on clothing racks
- Train cashiers to focus on one transaction at a time
- Arrange your shop so all areas are visible to staff members
5. Be Vigilant Even When Your Store Is Closed
Protect your property against break and enters by investing in high quality locks, physical security measures such as window and door bars, and a reliable security system.
When you leave at night, take care to make sure all of the following are true:
- The building is empty
- There are no suspicious loiterers
- All entrances are locked
- The alarm is set
6. Develop and Enforce a Strong Return Policy
Many thieves steal merchandise for the purpose of returning it to your store or another store for cash. Develop a return policy to help discourage this practice. At a minimum, you should require a receipt for all cash returns or shop credits. If the customer does not have a receipt, consider offering an exchange of the returned item for a similar item.
7. Treat Everyone Equally
Shoplifters are a heterogeneous group, so be vigilant with all customers even if they do not fit the preconceived notions you have about typical shoplifters. If you do catch someone shoplifting, prosecute them. Do not let sympathy sway your decisions. Shoplifting is a crime, and if you let one incident go unreported, you are making your business a target for thieves who believe you are soft.
If you’d like a free security review of your property, contact us now.