Running a business can be hectic. Really hectic.
Retail entrepreneurs are rushed off their feet dealing with staff and managing customer issues. In amongst all the chaos, they rarely have the time or the inclination to deal with security matters.
There’s a big problem, however, with this strategy. When security issues do arise, they can often be damaging, if not fatal to your business.
In hindsight, you’ll wish that you’d spend a little more time focusing on security and a little less on winning customers. That’s why you need to think about your security situation right now and iron out any weaknesses.
The good news is that looking after the security of your business isn’t difficult. In fact, it’s a lot less challenging than you imagine. If you get it right, you can avoid being stolen from.
Here’s what to do.
Manage Your Inventory
Most retail businesses have some sort of inventory management system in place to keep track of their inventory. This is so that they can tell how much stock they have, and whether any has gone missing.
Without a management system, however, there’s no way of knowing whether all your stock is intact, or whether it’s been stolen.
According to the National Retail Federation, there are three leading causes of loss of stock. The first is your customers.
The National Retail Federation claims that more than 38 percent of total retail loss is due to customers stealing from stores. Businesses most at risk are those who keep hair and beauty products, as well as those who sell electronic devices.
The next major cause of loss of stock is your employees. According to the data, around 35 percent of all theft from stores is carried out by the staff who work there.
“Shrinkage” as it is politely known, is a big problem. Many employees steal from their companies to give gifts to their friends or to sell them and get cash.
Finally, the third major reason for needing a stock management system is the theft by admin and contractors. According to the data, a whopping 27 percent of all stock loss is down to errors and deliberate theft by this group.
The first line of defense, therefore, against losing stock must be inventory management.
Collecting data on an inventory management system enables you to track patterns and keep up to date with your manual count.
If somebody is stealing from you, you want to be able to narrow down where they are in the supply chain and take action.
For instance, perhaps you notice that you keep losing stock when you order it from a particular supplier. Having this information provides you with grounds to make further investigations.
Educate Your Employees About Theft
A lot of retail businesses don’t yet understand the value of educating their employees about employee theft.
They just assume that employees know that it’s wrong to steal and if they do it, that they are bad. But that’s a simplistic way of looking at the problem.
Yes, you want to remind your employees that they shouldn’t steal from you and that if they do there will be sanctions. But you should also look at ways to make it less likely that they will steal from you in the future.
One of the reasons that they might consider stealing now is that they don’t feel loyal to you. If employees don’t feel loyal, they’re less likely to feel guilty about taking your product.
Having a program in place to make employees feel more loyal towards you reduces the chance that they’ll decide to steal from you.
There’s another benefit too. Loyal employees are more likely to report employee theft. In other words, you’re more likely to find out about stealing, the more loyal your employees feel toward you.
Employees will be more willing to point out the people stealing from you so that you can take disciplinary action.
Get A Basic Video-Surveillance System
In the past, companies had to shell out a lot of money if they wanted CCTV solutions. But now, thanks to lower sensor and camera prices, that’s no longer the case.
CCTV has come down in price enormously, and it continues to get more accessible. Now, practically any retail business can afford at least some form of video surveillance system.
The great thing about security cameras is that they deter both customers and staff from stealing from you.
Make sure that your CCTV systems act as a visual deterrent to any would-be thief. Don’t try to hide them away. Advertising that you have CCTV in your store is a must if you want to put thieves off for good.
There used to be a big difference between high-end CCTV and mid-range. High-end systems had high visual fidelity, allowing you to see more of what was going on.
But now, high definition is working its way down the market, and even cheap systems come with high resolutions. Businesses can pick up a good CCTV system for around $200.
Use RFID Tags
RFID tags are little units that emit a radio signal. The idea is to attach these tags to products to stop people from just picking them up and walking out of the store. If somebody walks out of the store with a product with a RFID tag still attached, the alarm will sound.
You’ve probably already seen RFID tags in clothes stores and on electronics packages. But the great thing about them is that they can be used on just about any product.
It should be noted that RFID is not a perfect system. Thieves can still get around the problem by lining their shopping bags with silver foil. But most stores know that the majority of criminals are opportunistic. If they see a RFID tag, they just won’t bother.
There are, of course, more expensive methods to protect your retail business, such as hiring a guard to stand watch at the door. But most stores can get by using the ideas that we’ve discussed here. Retail theft is a big problem – but it doesn’t have to be a big problem for your business.
So what are you doing to avoid theft when it comes to your retail business? Have you ever had to deal with theft before? Share your thoughts and comments below.