A teenager pocketing a pack of Juicy Fruit, an employee snagging a bag of California grapes, or even a celebrity lifting thousands of dollars worth of luxury items from Saks may not seem like major transgressions, but according to the National Retail Foundation’s 2015 study, inventory shrink amounted to $44 billion in losses in 2014 and more than 70% of that $44 billion (approximately $32 billion dollars in lost revenue) is directly attributed to shoplifting and employee/internal theft.

That’s big money.

And the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention reports that:

  • There are approximately 27 million shoplifters (or 1 in 11 people) in our nation today. More than 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the last five years.
  • Shoplifting affects more than the offender. It overburdens the police and the courts, adds to a store’s security expenses, costs consumers more for goods, costs communities lost dollars in sales taxes and hurts children and families.
  • Approximately 25 percent of shoplifters are kids, 75 percent are adults. 55 percent of adult shoplifters say they started shoplifting in their teens.
  • Many shoplifters buy and steal merchandise in the same visit. Shoplifters commonly steal from $2 to $200 per incident depending upon the type of store and item(s) chosen.

Those are some pretty striking statistics.

So, to protect your business and your inventory, it’s a good move to start thinking critically about your commercial security system and to do what’s best for your bottom line. Here are a few pointers to get you thinking about your business security systems.

Consider Your Weaknesses

We all like to think about our strengths, but in the commercial security industry, it pays to consider your external threats and internal weaknesses. Once you’ve considered the following and have objectively addressed each point, you can develop a commercial security plan that minimizes your weaknesses.

  • Neighborhood crime rate
  • Store security and entry points
  • Amount of inventory and available cash
  • Store floor plan
  • Trustworthiness of staff
  • Theft-prevention plans and protocol

Make it Hard for Shoplifters (and Employees) to Steal

This may sound obvious, but the harder you make it for shoplifters and unethical employees, the better off your retail business will be. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Train your employees to greet customers and make eye contact with them making shopping at your store a personal experience.
  • Make sure your entire shop (especially the dressing rooms, if applicable) is well-staffed by watchful staff members
  • Make sure your employees know how to observe potential (or known) shoplifters and how to respond appropriately.
  • Randomly inspect deliveries to ensure you’re getting what you’ve paid for.

Install Security Cameras and/or a High Definition CCTV System

Modern high-def security cameras deliver tremendous surveillance footage. These technologically advanced systems produce high definition resolution video to best protect your business and your assets. Working with licensed, registered, and certified security professionals guarantees your system will operate under any lighting conditions and that any footage will be admissible in a court of law.

A professionally installed video surveillance system may:

  • Allow you to stay connected remotely, using your computer or smartphone
  • Notify you of unusual activity such as loitering, B&E, or shoplifting
  • Record fraudulent employee transactions
  • Capture employee misconduct

Install an Access Control System

Depending on your retail business security needs, a professional security team can install anything from biometric readers to ID badges. An access control system may:

  • Help you monitor employee productivity
  • Restrict access to areas such as storage and warehousing facilities
  • Track employee time
  • Securely add and delete employees to the system, as necessary.

Consider Your Lighting and Layout

A dimly lit, maze-like environment is heaven for shoplifting. Consider well-placed lighting, task lighting, and spotlighting lighting to illuminate pricey inventory.

Stop theft today. Contact Herring Technology’s security consultants for a free physical security risk assessment for your retail business.

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