All Canadian retailers face theft, and with over $4 billion per year lost to both employee theft and external theft it becomes important to take a closer look at the problem. Small retailers often have the issue, but don’t understand how to protect themselves from theft. We spoke with Lillian Battikha, a security expert from Battikha Security, about retail store security and came up with these 3 ways you can protect your retail business from theft.
1. Educate Your Employees
It is vital to educate your employees on how they can help prevent theft so they can deter shoplifters. Tell your employees to watch out for shoppers who linger for suspicious amounts of time, have bags or clothing capable of concealing products, or seem on edge and overly aware of staff and your cameras. Staff intervention is seldom necessary because if the potential shoplifter is approached by a staff member and asked if they require assistance it is unlikely they will still try to steal something.
Although your staff will play a role in preventing theft, the fact is 33% of retail theft is committed by your own employees. To get on top of this, have a discussion with your employees to explain the issue of internal theft, describe what inventory is going missing and how much, and detail exactly what you are doing to combat the situation (whether that includes cameras or vigilant inventory tracking) so they are aware of the new level of risk associated with stealing. Such a discussion can help reduce employee theft simply because they become aware that actions are being taken to crack down on the issue.
2. Organize Your Store
A well-organized store is important for several reasons. For starters, a good floor plan makes the job of your security cameras much easier. Strive for an open layout and avoid tall dividing shelves so any cameras have good visibility of the floor. In addition, you’ll want to place cameras strategically so they cover a large area and have a clear line of sight to the items that are most commonly stolen. In areas not immediately visible to your employees, consider investing in cameras so you can still monitor the target area.
An open layout also allows your cashiers and other employees to see the store and identify potential shoplifters. This helps you reduce the opportunity for theft; and because shoplifting is largely a crime of impulse, reducing the opportunity these individuals have to shoplift is a great theft prevention tactic.
3. Get the Right Security System
Having an effective, up-to-date security system can prove invaluable to a retailer and cameras are a good place to start. Dome video cameras inside your store can give you 360-degree visibility in high traffic areas. Front and back door cameras are helpful in monitoring the comings and goings of customers and employees. In both cases, it is recommended that you have 24/7 recording and cloud hosting so your footage is always complete and safely secured.
If you have cameras, an automated light control system is also something to consider. A well-lit store is more intimidating to those looking to shoplift items. Also, it will make the video footage much easier to review and identify people.
Door sensors are another helpful asset often unknown or under-utilized by smaller retailers. For example, if your back door remains propped open for an unusual amount of time this could be indicative of a simple mistake or some shady activity. Either way, being aware of such activities can only benefit your business.
With so many technologies at your disposal it is important to work with a trusted security partner that can put together a modern security package unique to your business, deliver the reports and notifications you need, and provide the opportunity to speak with a live agent if/when needed.
It’s not too late to get started
Whatever theft prevention steps you decide on, just know that it is never too late to take up the fight against shoplifting, and that something as simple as rearranging your store layout, an employee education initiative, or a new retail store security system could be a difference maker for your small business.