Is theft draining your profit margins?
Theft is a huge problem for larger retail businesses but for smaller independent stores it can become a serious threat to survival. There is a multitude of ways that inventory and money loss can occur including shoplifting, burglary and theft or fraud by employees. In this blog post from Titan Security Europe, we are going to look in detail at retail security services and the measures that can be taken to limit opportunities for those seeking to help themselves.
You may be surprised to learn that the biggest cause of inventory loss due to theft is not shoplifting or burglary; employees are the biggest cause of inventory loss in retail.
We are going to cover this in some detail and advise on ways that you can limit theft by employees and make substantial cost savings when slippage is reduced.
The importance of retail security.
Theft is a problem for all retail stores, but it can especially damage smaller businesses. The cost of theft is significant, and your losses could affect your bottom line if you’re not careful.
Theft can include shoplifting and other forms of theft by customers, theft by employees and even delivery drivers. Retail security measures are designed to help prevent theft from occurring in the first place.
According to recent estimates, only about 10 % of missing goods are stolen by customers, while almost 60 % are stolen by employees. A 2019 study by The Centre for Retail Research found that employee theft cost stores an estimated 22% of retail shrinkage in the previous year.
Employee theft accounts for more than $35 billion in lost revenue each year in the US alone! As a result of this high incidence of employee theft, it’s essential that every shop owner put measures in place to protect their business from internal crime as well as external threats such as shoplifting by shoppers and burglaries at night when no one is around.
Fraud perpetrated by employees is another huge problem. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners in their 2020 Report to the Nations concluded that one-third of fraud cases occur due to a lack of internal company controls and that fraud causes companies to lose an estimated 5% of revenue every year.
Improving Retail Security
Retail security counter-measures
You can deter shoplifters by using the presence of highly trained and skilled security guards to respond immediately with appropriate action.
You might also employ physical measures like retail security cameras, mirrors, lighting and shutters. You can further maximize your store’s security by using high-security locks and hiring secret shoppers.
Read on to find out more about the retail security tips and techniques you need for maximum retail security protection for your business.
Strategies for tackling theft by staff
Employers are within their rights to consider theft or other dishonesty to be gross misconduct. Criminal offences committed at work will likely result in the involvement of the police. There is nothing to stop an employer from contacting the police if there has been a theft by an employee.
It is recommended that employers should have a zero-tolerance policy toward employee theft and that staff who are caught stealing should be dismissed immediately. Make this policy known and understood throughout your employee teams.
Staff Recruitment Policies
By conducting rigorous background checks on potential employees you are ensuring that you are stepping into potential problems before they occur. Make sure that you verify and take up any references given. Where possible speak to the person providing the reference.
Often the best course of action is to use a recruitment agency that will do most of the heavy lifting for you before sending some carefully chosen candidates for you to consider.
Because it’s important to consider theft by staff as well as by customers, prevention strategies include implementing anti-theft induction training programs. Staff can be trained in anti-theft techniques, such as how to spot shoplifters and use CCTV effectively.
Your aim should be to use your training to promote an enthusiastic team approach to tackling theft whether from customers or members of staff. Combining a positive working culture with fair remuneration and effective training results in having extra pairs of eyes watching out for underhand activity
Using CCTV coverage inside the building as well as covering the outside areas such as car parks and loading bays is one of the top measures for tackling employee theft. You should also ensure your staff have strict access rules and restrictions for sensitive areas like the stock room, which can be locked if necessary.
When your bottom line is simply not matching your level of sales and turnover, it can be difficult to discover the exact cause. This is where professional objective auditing of your business finances can come in. Auditors can be brought in to examine your finances and systems in minute detail to pinpoint areas of slippage and detect fraudulent activity. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that most fraud cases commonly occur in these four areas: operations, accounting, executive and upper management, or sales.
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Retail security tips and techniques
There are many different types of retail security systems that you can tap into including:
- Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras are used to monitor people who visit the store or enter the building. The footage from these cameras can be stored in a digital format so that it remains safe from tampering or loss due to power outages or other interruptions in service. CCTV cameras should cover every corner of your shop and can be used to record incidents or as a live feed delivered to a central monitoring station. CCTV cameras can be placed in areas where they will be effective but out of sight but you might also place them prominently as a deterrent. You might decide to employ a security company alarm response service to respond instantly to alerts rather than simply recording criminal activity for investigation after the incident.
- An alarm system provides an audible warning when someone tries opening doors or windows without authorisation. This may also be linked to remote video monitoring services where images captured by surveillance equipment such as closed circuit television systems (CCTV) recorders are uploaded onto company servers where they can be viewed remotely via computers or smartphones. This footage helps the Police with any investigations they make.
- Window shutters or grilles protect windows from being smashed or broken into at night. They are made of strong metal and can be bolted down on the outside of your building. With this extra layer of window security in place, opportunist criminals are more likely to move on and seek an easier target. You should also pay attention to high-level glass installations like skylights on the roof. Keep them alarmed and use security grills to protect them
- Security lighting can deter criminals. When criminals are trying to break in, they prefer to do so when it’s dark. But security lighting can deter these criminals by illuminating their faces and making them easier to identify. In addition, if you have an outdoor camera system that automatically records activity outside your business after dark, it may be useful for police officers responding at night to see the recording of what happened just before they were called.
- Security guards have training in preventing and responding to incidents, and they can be on hand when you’re busy with customers. Of all the things you can do to protect your retail store, hiring a competent security company is one of the most important. A professional firm will know how to assess and address potential threats to help ensure that your business is protected from theft.
- High-security locks are very difficult to cut through or pick open, which makes it more difficult for thieves to access your shop’s interior. High-security locks can be used on doors, windows and cabinets. They’re more expensive than standard locks, though, but in most cases, they are well worth the extra investment
- Mystery Shoppers. Some stores hire people who pose as shoppers but instead focus on catching shoplifters, deterring theft and observing how employees interact with customers. Not only does this provide a way of monitoring and intervening in the activities of shoplifters, but it is also a way of making sure that there is nothing untoward happening at the tills. Read more about mystery shopper services.
- Point-of-sale (POS) security addresses vulnerabilities in retail checkout points and the prevention of access by unauthorised parties looking to steal customer details during transactions. The purpose behind POS Security is to create a safe environment for customer transactions and limit the opportunities for employee-generated fraud. Your POS system can also be linked to inventory management to give you an early warning when discrepancies start to occur.
- Layout improvements that eliminate hard to observe areas and dark corners along with measures to make sure that the shop is tidy at all times all help to reduce shoplifting.
- Retail Security Tag System. Retailers use security tags to deter theft and increase inventory control. Ink-dye tags, EAS devices (such as a form of RFID technology), or other anti-theft techniques can all be used by retailers. From large plastic tags attached to clothing, down to small magnetic strips with barcodes that are placed on individual products. These items are used in conjunction with detectors (typically located at store exits). Unremoved EAS tags trigger an alarm if they pass the detector gates without being removed or deactivated. In the case of ink dye tags, the ink is released if the ink tag is forcibly removed or tampered with, thereby spoiling the product. In the interests of maximising profits, retailers often favour tags over other security measures because tagged items remain on open display and are therefore more accessible to staff and customers.
The Benefits of Professional Retail Security Guards
Many retail store owners are now seeing the need to hire security guards and use a range of retail security services for their business. Security guards can help with a range of potential issues, from theft prevention to providing a reassuring presence to customers and visitors. The point of having a guard is that they not only guard the premises, but their presence also deters crime. It is fair to say that retail security guards act as both deterrents and solutions to many security concerns that retailers may face.
- Security guards can help prevent and respond to incidents.
- They’re on hand when you’re busy with customers.
- They can be a crime deterrent.
- They can help make decisions about how to deal with incidents including liaising with the police and presenting reports
- They can also keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour on your property, like people loitering outside for long periods or going into restricted areas without permission
- Retail security guards are trained in understanding retail security needs, so they’ll be familiar with the risks that come with working in this industry—and what measures you should take to protect yourself from them! If there is a security breach, a trained security guard can quickly act to resolve the situation.
We often come across smaller retailers who are under the impression that contracting security out to a professional contractor is something that they cannot afford. But with the incidence of theft ever increasing, there is an argument to be made that hiring a security company to carry out an assessment, make recommendations on how to improve retail security and provide a range of security services will more than pay for itself by reducing theft from the store over the long term.
Qualities of a Good Retail Security Guard
If you’re thinking about hiring a retail security guard for your store, here are some key qualities of a good retail security guard.
- A keen eye for details – The ability to analyse big groups of individuals swiftly and efficiently is critical for those working in retail security. Every hour, dozens of individuals will arrive and depart the store; a security officer must be able to use their superior judgment to assess the risk posed by each of these people as they go through the store. They must then detect and monitor any number of possible threats and the shoplifters among the group.
- Well presented – The impeccable presentation and personal bearing that is demanded of retail security officers is perhaps the most significant trait. Because a security officer will be present at all times in the store, they will become a part of the store’s image and somewhat of a brand ambassador. As a result, being well dressed in security attire, well groomed and having a positive attitude about their employment will be critical in welcoming shoppers to the business and ensuring that they feel at ease while shopping.
- Good customer relations – Because they are part of the store’s personnel, they must be able to provide excellent customer service. In the retail industry, a pleasant security officer will go further than one who appears hostile or aggressive. Retail security officers must strike a balance between their friendly demeanour and their security obligations. It also important that in the case of retail security guard mistakenly misjudging an individual as a shoplifter or some wrong doing that they can calmly and in a friendly manner diffuse the situation. This would prevent the customer for associating the store with a negative experience and not returning in the future.
Developing and implementing your retail security strategy
As you can see, many retail security measures can be taken to protect your store from theft. It’s important to consider the costs and benefits of different options before deciding on a course of action so that you invest wisely in the right services for your business.
A long-established and experienced company like Titan Security can help you with this by auditing your security procedures and coming up with a set of recommendations tailored to the unique needs of your business. At Titan Security, we offer a full range of security services to large multi-site retail concerns, shopping centres and smaller single-site businesses.
Our security services range from supply and installation of physical security measures to providing mobile security patrols, on-site security guards and remote alarm monitoring/response services.
With over three decades in the business, you can trust Titan to provide cost-effective retail security services wherever you are in the UK and across Europe
Partner with us and protect your retail store today
Protecting your retail store is more important than ever. As the industry continues to grow at an exponential rate, it becomes harder and harder for stores to protect themselves from burglaries and robberies. Let our team of experts help you with security measures that will keep both customers and employees safe while also deterring criminals so they don’t even think about coming near your business in the first place! We provide:
- Security auditing
- Supply and installation of physical security measures
- Security guards
- Mystery shoppers
Titan Security is a professional security company you can trust. With our extensive experience of over twenty years in the security industry, you can rest assured that your premises are in safe hands. Our security guards and systems are specially designed for retailers like you, so between us we can protect your business from the various risks of theft.
For more information about how we can help your company implement effective security measures while making sure that customers are receiving a superior experience when they interact with your brand, please contact us.
If you need to talk to a security expert you can do so by giving us a call on 441803 446004. An informal chat costs nothing and is without further obligation
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