No matter the industry, the risk of theft is always prevalent. In 2019 alone, retailers lost £1,9 million to external theft and £1,3 million to internal theft. Thankfully, you can implement plenty of methods to reduce the chance of this happening in a retail store you're responsible for.
To combat theft, implementing retail security protections, such as shoplifting policies, regular stock takes and CCTV, are essential. Here are our top eight tips for retail security.
- Implement shoplifting policies
- Use customer service to your advantage
- Optimise your layout
- Identify at-risk items
- Conduct regular stock takes
- Put up signage
- Deploy retail officers
- Implement CCTV systems
1. Implement shoplifting policies
By implementing a shoplifting policy and training your employees, your team can confidently handle many situations should they arise.
This policy and training educates employees on identifying a shoplifter and what to do if they witness the individual taking your products and attempting to leave the store. If your employee decides to confront them, they should do so after leaving the store, preferably with another colleague.
From this point, retrieve the products and call the police to deal with the situation appropriately. The perpetrator should be escorted back to the store.
2. Use customer service to your advantage
Potential shoplifters can be put off stealing if they know store staff have spotted them. One method is approaching the person and asking if they need any help or directing them to a particular product. Another option would be to tidy the shelves nearby, making the person aware staff are present, having a person manning the exit to observe people as they leave the store or using store detectives. These are undercover staff who look out for suspicious behaviour.
3. Optimise your layout
If you can change the layout of your retail store, these techniques will make it harder for shoplifters to get away with stealing:
- Place your cash register by the door to force customers to walk past you when leaving
- Minimise blind spots by moving displays, installing better lighting and placing mirrors around the store
- Lower displays to see customers throughout the store
- Keep dressing rooms locked and limit the number of items each person can take
4. Identify at-risk items
In your store, there will be products that will be more likely to be stolen than others. This can either be high-value items or something easily accessible. Identify these items and take particular care to make them more difficult to steal. You can do this by placing them in locked display cases, displaying them near the till or by always having staff nearby to keep an eye on them.Historically, this has been tobacco and high value alcoholic items. However, this is now switching towards expensive confectionary, clothes and shoes, electronic items and even large cuts of meat.
5. Conduct regular stock takes
If you don’t know what you have in stock, it’ll be challenging to know if something has been stolen. By keeping up-to-date with your stock takes and inventories, you’ll find it easier to identify any theft and patterns of theft if it happens regularly. As a result, you can make the necessary changes to reduce the chances of theft.
6. Put up signage
Signs stating CCTV is in use and shoplifters will be prosecuted serve as a deterrent and reduce theft. The goal of these signs is to scare thieves - not intimidate legitimate buyers. To maximise the use of signage, place a sign at or near your entrance so it’s the first place visitors look when entering your store.
7. Deploy retail officers
Security guards are an essential aspect of security protections. They serve all three Ds of defence - deter, detect and delay. A security guard’s presence alone will deter many criminals from committing theft in the first place.
As staff are focused on running the store and serving customers, security guards can detect and stop many crimes. If a person attempts to steal an item, the security guard will witness the crime and delay the criminal from getting away with it.
Good security guards are specially trained and qualified in handling difficult situations. Ultimately, this takes the stress away from the rest of your staff who may not have experience in these kinds of situations or lack the relevant training or certifications to handle tense situations like these accordingly.
Retail security incidents are a serious issue you can't ignore. The 2021 British Retail Consortium Crime Survey has revealed some harrowing statistics:
- Violent or abusive incidents have increased to 455 per day
- The total loss to crime now stands at £1.3 billion
- Loss to customer theft is now at £1 billion
- The total cost of crime to the retail industry is now at £2.5 billion
8. Implement CCTV systems
CCTV systems are a valuable tool in security procedures. Potential shoplifters will be deterred from stealing after seeing a CCTV camera. If a person does decide to steal, the cameras will catch their actions, making it easier to prosecute the criminal should the situation occur.
Roaming CCTV devices instead of CCTV podiums should always be considered to maximise your value for money.
With retail crime stats continuing to increase, you need to take the relevant steps to ensure your retail store remains safe from potentially huge losses. But there's a lot to consider when implementing a comprehensive security plan. To ensure you have everything covered, take a look at our latest checklist.
Safeguard your business from all threats
There are many steps to take to deter, detect and delay criminals on your premises. Our latest checklist covers everything from conducting a risk assessment to implementing security measures and more.