For small- and medium-sized businesses, protecting your margins and ultimately, your bottom line, is crucial for fiscal health. That's why shutting down retail theft from both inside and outside of your company requires diligence and security.
A study by the Retail Council of Canada1 showed that Canadian retailers lose about $4 billion per year – that’s $10 million a day – to shrink. The breakdown according to a National Retail Federation2 survey was Shoplifting, (38%), Employee/internal theft (34.5%), Administrative and paperwork errors (16.5%), Vendor fraud or error (6.8%) and Unknown loss (6.1%).
In other words, almost 75% of retail losses come directly from shoplifting and employee theft. Here are some handy dos and don'ts to help you stop this loss.
#1 Make good customer service a deterrent to theft.
- Have employees greet every customer who enters their department. Watch what customers look for as they enter – are they looking around for items or help from staff, or do they appear to be looking for security devices? If they wish to browse on their own, still maintain frequent eye contact with them.
- Provide personal customer service to as many customers as possible. This includes making a pleasant comment to every customer about the item(s) being taken into a fitting room, so that the customer is aware of what is expected to be returned or purchased.
#2 Supervise your selling area.
- Keep an eye out for unlocked display cases, empty packaging, unattended price guns, price stickers or merchandise without security or price tags, and security equipment that is not working properly.
- Assign zones for staff coverage so that vulnerable areas are not left unattended.
- Install added security measures in "blind spots" around the store (e.g., bright lighting, security mirrors, anti-shoplifting signs, and cameras).
- Maintain 100% compliance when placing security tags on merchandise.
- If you can't be on the sales floor, add an ADT remote video surveillance system that allows you to view different areas of your retail operation from your smartphone, tablet or computer.
#3 Don't hide your security and your commitment to preventing theft.
- Don't leave thieves feel anonymous. Let both customers and employees know you are watching them. Better to prevent a crime than have to deal with it.
- Keep your security cameras in plain view. Tip: In addition to your security camera, use mirrors. Even professional thieves do not like mirrors, as they can't know for sure if someone is watching.
- Have a simple system to check or leave large bags, such as knapsacks, aside as customers enter the store.
#4 Don't make your cash register vulnerable.
- Don't go for long periods of time allowing money to pile up if your small-medium business deals frequently with cash. Have managers or other authorized personnel pick up cash during peak sales periods.
- Don't have cashiers count cash out in the open. Rather have them move to a secure location, preferably one with a security camera in full view of the employee.
#5 Don't neglect inside theft.
- Don't hire employees without proper screening! Check references and ensure that any gaps in their resumes are explained. Opt for credit and criminal checks.
- Don't be shy to talk to employees about zero tolerance policies for theft. Adopt a prosecution policy and ensure staff understand it. On the positive side, create an environment that fosters loyalty and mutual respect. Reward staff loyalty and honourable behavior.
- Don't let your cash register be a tool for internal theft. Beware of sweetheart transactions, where an employee will allow a friend or family member to skip paying or pay less for an item. Watch for customers who choose the same register or the same employee.
Help improve your company’s bottom line by keeping vigilant and having the best security possible. ADT, Canada’s #1 security company, is proud to offer custom business solutions for every retail situation. Call 800-653-9111 to speak to a business security expert today.