Protect Your Business from Theft
Retail businesses suffer losses every day through issues like damaged, expired or unsold products, but the biggest loss of revenue comes from theft. This can come from both store “customers” and employees.
It’s no surprise, then, that when retailers were asked what aspect of store security they were most concerned with, the answer was cameras.
The obvious reason cameras are important is retailers need an extra pair of eyes (or two or three) to help them see what’s really happening in their stores. But another reason cameras are important is that they can give retailers insight. Owners can learn which areas of the stores are high-traffic and why, what behavior to look for in a potential thief and what parts of their stores are most vulnerable.
Security companies recommend installing cameras at entrances, exits, cash registers and customer service stations. Install one or more outside if you want to monitor activity in the parking lot; not only is this good for the business, it’s also good for the safety of your customers. Cameras can either run 24 hours or be motion-activated so that they only record when someone is passing by.
Cameras are also good to control access to your business. Station them at service entrances, like the delivery dock, to keep an eye on delivery personnel and maintenance contractors. You can even wire in a sensor that will automatically send a text message to your phone anytime someone comes in the door.
There are other steps you can take to reduce customer theft:
1. Greet customers. Not only is it a good customer service practice, openly acknowledging customers can make potential thieves feel less secure about getting away with it.
2. Ask employees to be on the lookout for suspicious activity.
3. Offer to help customers who linger without buying anything.
4. Post signs like “Shoplifters will be Prosecuted” and “Premises Under 24-Hour Surveillance” to discourage illegal activity.
5. Watch out for people who walk around the store without making a purchase, who leave and return frequently, and who avoid eye contact.
If you do suspect someone of shoplifting, don’t make an accusation. Instead, offer to ring the person up, making a comment like, “Are you ready to pay for that?” Don’t get confrontational and don’t chase after them if they leave. Call security.
There are also measures you can take to discourage employee theft:
1. Make random and unannounced visits to each retail location. Announce that you’re going to do a quick inventory and register check.
2. Track your inventory.
3. Watch out for employees who keep a calculator or separate receipt book at their registers.
4. Check the register tapes for “no sales.” These do happen, but if they happen with greater frequency when a certain employee is working, it may be a sign of trouble.
Nothing is going to put an end to theft altogether, but it is reassuring to know that you don’t have to just be a victim. You can take a hand in minimizing your losses.