Retail stores are particularly at risk for shoplifting and even robberies. Improving the security in your retail store requires understanding the latest security technologies that are available today. There are so many choices in security systems that you may have difficulty deciding which one is right for your store. The first step is to contact a professional security company and ask for a security audit in your store. Security audits are the best way to identify potential security risks. Experienced auditors know what to look for when it comes to securing a retail store. Once you have identified your security risks, you can proceed with choosing security equipment.
State of the Art Security Cameras
Surveillance security cameras are used in most retail stores. Technology advances have improved modern surveillance security systems. Theft can come from employees or customers. It is important that your store is monitored to avoid losing money from theft. You would be surprised at the number of people who shoplift each day. Not all items that are shoplifted cost a lot of money. Some of the items are relatively inexpensive. Some people have an addiction to shoplifting and it doesn’t matter to them what they shoplift. There are several types of surveillance cameras including wired or wireless systems.
Determine the key locations where you want your security cameras to be located. Choose a system that can accommodate the number of cameras you need. You can find surveillance security equipment that can accommodate up to 32 cameras. Wired surveillance systems is most commonly used in retail stores, shopping malls and other places of business. These systems must be professionally installed by a security company. Domed cameras are perfect for retail shops because you can place them in the store and customers can’t see which angle the camera is viewing. They are round in shape with a black covering.
One of the best reasons for using surveillance camera equipment in a retail store is to make sure customers and employees know that it is there. You should install a security camera aimed at the cash register to ensure employees are not stealing cash. Loss from theft is a big concern for retail store’s profit margins. Preventing theft will keep the store from losing money. Covert or hidden cameras does a great job of preventing employee theft because employees know where the surveillance cameras are located.
A few covert cameras installed around the store will minimize employee thefts. Be sure you know your local laws regarding surveillance before installing a system. If you are concerned with how much monitoring time will need to be spent, consider the new technology of video analysis programs. These programs recognize certain behavior patterns and flag the video to be reviewed further. This will help cut down the number of hours it may take to review the images. You can also hire an employee or security company to monitor the video in real-time.
Many retail stores hire store detectives to discreetly watch customers for signs of theft. These detectives look like regular customers except they have been trained to recognize the behavioral patterns of shoplifters. This is a great way to cut costs in your security plan. You can also train store managers or other employees to watch the store. Department employees should be responsible for watching customers in their departments. In many states, the store detective must report the crime to the local law enforcement agency. A store detective can also be hired and trained by a security company. Depending on your security budget, choose the methods that work best for your type of business.
There are many ways to combat shoplifting. You can combine a variety of methods to increase the level of security in your store. Employees should be the first line of defense when it comes to security. Employees in each department should offer to help customers as they enter their departments. Employees should make frequent eye contact and provide good customer service. If you have a particular area of the store that is vulnerable, consider hiring another employee for that department.
For example, high-end electronics may cost you more money than office supplies. If you have expensive items within your store that costs a lot, then that department should be monitored continuously. A retail store that sells apparel, should have an employee dedicated to monitoring the dressing room. The employee should be detail-minded and keep track of the number of clothes someone takes into the dressing room. Some retail stores have dressing room item limits and keep track by giving customers numbers.
The selling floor should be monitored for price changes, unattended pricing guns, security fixtures that are unlocked and signs that security equipment is working properly. Employees should be alert at all times for known shoplifters, customers who are acting suspiciously and showcases that have been left open. Checking retail inventories once a week against purchases can give you an idea of your losses. If you have a spike in losses, you can also review your surveillance video.
Restrict customers access in unauthorized warehouses and back rooms where inventory is located. You should use control keys to limit access and assign them to key employees. For example, if there is a spike in the loss of a particular warehouse location, you can print out the analysis of employees who had access to that warehouse and at what time. Control keys work well for controlling key warehouse areas. It is estimated that American retail businesses lose over $13 billion dollars in merchandise through shoplifting.
Security tags are electronic devices that are placed on merchandise that costs a lot of money or merchandise that is frequently stolen. These tags cannot be removed by the customer and must be removed by an employee at the cash register. Security tags help in reducing the number of thefts that occur with these types of merchandise. Place a sign near these items that says your store prosecutes all shoplifters. Combined with security tags, this should reduce the number of thefts in your store. Make frequent announcements over the intercom system suggesting security goes to a particular area. This will get the attention of a shoplifter and may deter them. Make sure the lighting around the security cameras is well-lit.
Inventory Management Systems
Technology advances have improved retail inventory management systems. These systems are automated and can generate computer reports that give you information about your sales, inventory and when you need to order. Most systems use bar code technology and merchandise is scanned at the register. This information can also be used to estimate inventory losses due to theft. This can give you a good idea about where you might need additional security coverage. Inventory management system’s software is sophisticated and makes managing retail inventory much easier. These systems can give you valuable information regarding popular items and your customer’s buying preferences. Research the latest inventory management systems online. You will find a variety of high-tech software designed to reduce losses due to theft.
Fraudulent returns is a common problem about retailers who have relaxed return policies. It is estimated that retailers lose over $9 billion dollars a year due to fraudulent returns. These types of returns include stolen merchandise, returning used merchandise and returns using a counterfeit receipt. To avoid this type of loss, you should require a receipt with every return and offer store credit instead of cash. Your return policies should be in plain sight of your checkout center. Large signs that have your return policy spelled out will help you avoid fraudulent returns.
Protecting Credit Card Information
Most retail store owners take cash, credit cards or checks. Fraudulent credit card use is a big problem today. You should train your employees to carefully check that the identification and the credit card name is correct. There are many employees who simply glance at the identification and may not catch credit cards that do not match. It is also your responsibility as a retailer to protect your customer’s credit card information. Shred credit card information when you no longer need it.
Limit access to stored credit card information. If you store credit card information on your computers, don’t throw the computers out without contacting a data destruction company. Thieves can retrieve your computers from the trash and use your customer’s credit card information. Make sure the data on your computers is secure. Install security software on your computer systems to protect your data.
Commonly Stolen Items
Professional shoplifters are usually looking for items that can be resold for profit. An amateur shoplifting may not plan the theft ahead of time and the incident is usually a spur of the moment thing. However, professional shoplifters are skilled and experienced. Some of the most commonly stolen items include items that are easy to conceal, not tied down or secured and items that are in demand and easily sold. It is important to have enough employees to monitor customers and the security cameras.
Add signs to your store that lets customers know that you have the right to check bags upon entering the store. Amateur and professional shoplifters often bring large bags with them in order to steal items. Clothes, beauty products and electronics are the top targeted items for shoplifters. If you have witnessed a theft in progress, be sure to call the police before confronting the shoplifter. Depending on the laws in your state, you must also follow specific guidelines before detaining them.
Some states require you to wait until the shoplifter leaves the store, and other states allow you to confront them at the time the item is concealed. Be sure you know the laws in your state. Approach the shoplifter with another employee. Advise them that the police are on their way. In most states, it will be up to the law enforcement authorities to determine if there is enough evidence to support a charge. If you have surveillance equipment, this task will be much easier.
The design of your store can actually help in reducing shoplifting activities. Design the store with a clear view of entry and exit areas. Installing door chimes will help employees hear a customer walking through the door. Shelving should not be high enough to reduce visibility. Install large mirrors on the walls where there is a blind spot. Expensive items should be stored in locked glass cases. Popular stolen items can be displayed in empty boxes to prevent theft. Develop a policy for employees that include limiting bags, purses or wallets on the sales floor. Reducing employee personal belongings on the sales floor can help reduce theft from employees. Train employees on the importance of loss prevention.
Best Ways to Handle Cash
Retail stores that handle cash should have specific safety procedures in place. Cash should be counted away from customers or employees in a secure area. Increase accountability by requiring two employees while transferring cash to the bank or a safe location within the store. Deposit cash several times a day if you are busy retailer.
If there is a large amount of cash on hand, consider hiring an armed security company to pick up the money. This is what large retailers do to avoid having large amounts of cash on hand. Install signs that let customers know that your store does not keep cash overnight. This can help prevent a potential intruder from entering your store at night. Investigate any incidents where cash is missing even if it is a small amount.
Reducing losses by theft or shoplifting can improve your profit margin. Retail store security methods also include reinforcing doors and windows to prevent theft when the store is closed. Install audible security alarms and doors and windows and consider hiring a security company to monitor your business at night. Identifying the common areas where theft occurs in your store will help you develop a successful security plan that works. Contact us today to learn more about how to successfully secure your store.