It is no secret in retail that the biggest losses are caused by human activity – whether from shoplifting or internal theft. At Titan Security we provide extensive retail loss prevention services to help companies reduce their asset lost. Today though we wanted to share with you a complete guide of all the solutions available to reduce shoplifting and stock loss in your retail store.
Last year theft cost the UK retail industry over £700 million.
Shoplifting and employee theft accounts for more than half of all retail shrinkage.
Customer theft accounts for over 75% of incidents.
Most retail theft is opportunistic with only a small percentage premeditated.
Understanding the Risk/Reward Ration in Retail Loss
All retail loss prevention systems need to be based around an understanding of the risk/reward system. If you have high value stock in unsecure locations the risk is low and the reward high. If you have low value stock in secure locations the risk is high and the reward low. When thinking about your own retail loss prevention strategies always consider the value relative to this scale of risk – we want to maximise the security to maximise the risks to potential thieves to effectively deter them.
The first and most important place to start is with staff training. Staff training should cover three distinct areas; internal stock policy, store risk management and scam awareness. The most common cause of loss in retail is simply shoplifting or theft from the store, second is employee theft and finally scams. Training staff in how to spot shoplifters, to be aware of common scams and how to effectively manage risks and respond to incidents is pivotal in ensuring effective deterrents are maintained. Additionally, make company policy on stock losses internally crystal clear, prosecute if necessary and make sure all employees sign a declaration confirming their understanding of store policies regarding stock, including returned and damaged items.
Though cash theft from retail stores is low you should reduce the risks of becoming a target for cash theft by minimising the amount of cash kept in till systems and in the store throughout the day. Depending on turnover and cash needs for the business schedule cash collection or bank deposits for whenever cash reaches a certain threshold to ensure minimal possible losses and to prevent your retail stores becoming a target. Ensure the business has a high quality safe and security system and under no circumstances should cash be kept in tills overnight.
The layout of your store has a huge impact on stock loss prevention as it determines how easy it is for staff and the public to steal items.
- Ideally all areas of the store should be visible from primary and secondary sales desks. This ensures full visibility.
- Using low stock racks and ensuring prominent visibility by raising sales desk areas helps provide a visual field for the store employees and deters potential shoplifters by creating a feeling of being watched at all times.
- Cluttered stores tend to experience higher degrees of loss so manage your displays effectively and tidily to reduce risks.
- Expensive stock should be kept close to, or behind the till to reduce the risks of opportunistic theft. Low value items near the entrance to your store are much less likely to be stolen as the reward factor is significantly lower.
- All staff only areas should be protected by keypad or other secure entry to reduce the risks of trespass.
Protecting your stock itself offers an additional layer of security. There are numerous options here with varying degrees of costs that can drastically reduce shoplifting and theft risks.
- Locked Cabinets should be used for high value items such as jewellery or electronics
- Dummy displays can be used to showcase expensive product packaging, whilst products themselves are kept in secure areas
- EAS (Electronic Article Surveillance) tags can be used to protect individual products as these can only be removed at the till system without damaging the product
- Shopping cart locking systems can prevent push out theft, they will lock shopping trolleys when a customer attempts to leave the store without going through the checkout area
- Smoke cloaks can be used to cloud an area in thick, harmless fog, this limits theft visibility and is often used in luxury establishments to prevent organised theft attempts.
- Security sensor gates provide a highly effective deterrent that discourages casual theft.
Store layout goes a long way to managing risk but CCTV provides an effective visible deterrent. CCTV installation and monitoring needs to effectively cover the following:
- CCTV should cover all areas of the store including staff and warehousing areas
- CCTV should be highly visible
- Staff should be trained in the use of CCTV and CCTV monitors should be available in the office or behind the till systems to allow staff to manage potential risks effectively
- Signage should be placed in clearly visible locations including at the entrance to the store notifying customers of the use of CCTV
Security guards provide a highly effective and highly visible shoplifting deterrent and reduce additional staff risks including assault and anti-social behaviour. Security guards should be clearly uniformed and identified at the front of store and can additionally provide greeting services to your customers. The benefits of security guards are:
- Low cost solution in high risk areas
- Provide additional concierge services to customers
- Able to monitor and respond to all risk
- Are fully trained to deal with shoplifters and interact with police forces
- Provide A highly effective deterrent for opportunistic shoplifting
Having a holistic strategy for your retail store is vital to minimise retail loss prevention and you should complete all security measures that are cost-effective for your business in order to meet the acceptable levels of risk/reward mitigation your assets require.
At Titan Security we provide security risk analysis and management services, security guards and CCTV monitoring services throughout the UK and Europe aimed to help your business reduce retail losses.