Shoplifting is still a common crime across the UK. According to a report conducted by the Association of Convenience Stores, there were over 950,000 estimated thefts in 2018. The report also found that the total cost of theft per store was £2,237 costing the retail sector £246 million in total.
These figures can seem alarming to stores which have either little or no means of retail security. Which is why, if you own a retail store, it’s recommended that you look at ways in which you can be protected against thieves.
Read our guide on how to maximise your loss prevention strategy below and you may be able to stop your business becoming an easy target:
One of the most common retail security methods is CCTV installation. It’s a sure-fire way to deter thieves from entering your shop unsolicited, as effectively placed cameras will make it obvious that your site is being monitored 24/7. Cameras can be accessed either on-site or remotely and provide evidence in court proceedings that a burglary took place.
Check that you have the most up-to-date and certified alarm security systems. These are able to detect intruders from the first instance and send immediate notifications to security personnel. Alarm responses will also be recorded, and retail security staff will make sure that, even if an incident occurs in the middle of the night, you will be properly protected.
Hire Security Guards
Security guards are a physical deterrent to ward-off potential criminals, operating as either manned or static guards on your shop floor, as well as outside the premises. Security guards are trained to detect customers attempting to steal goods, monitor check-outs, entrances and exits, as well as carry out frequent foot patrols.
In 2018, staff theft cost the retail sector £20 million, the most common form of theft in convenience stores being cash from tills. Taking the extra time at the end of the working day to check staff handbags, rucksacks or larger than normal bags will help determine if your employees are trustworthy and prevent missing stock. Also, consider monitoring what time your staff clock in and out of the store in case anyone is entering or leaving work when there are not as many people around.
Undercover retail store detectives will be able to subtly monitor your shop for criminals waiting to steal from your business. Detectives can disguise themselves in ordinary citizen clothing and watch customer behaviour closely, to spot if there is anyone lingering for longer than usual at parts of the store and alert the relevant retail manager. Other customers will not be harmed if a detective will confront a shoplifter and take them away discreetly.
Monitor Self-Service Checkouts
Self-service tills can save customers a lot of time and social interaction with retail staff, but this can pose some of the worst threats to retail businesses. According to statistics, £3.2 billion is lost every year in the UK due to self-service till theft. Techniques can be applied to spot those not actually self-scanning – or scanning cheaper items instead of the actual item they’re holding – such as placing security officers near self-service exits, instructing retail staff to check labels on items in bagging areas which seem overcrowded and employing staff to consistently check self-service areas by standing nearby.
Greet and Offer Help to Customers
Ask your retail staff to greet customers as they enter the store or say ‘goodbye, thank you’ on leaving. This shows you’re acknowledging their presence. It’s an unobvious way of getting across to shoppers that you’re aware of everyone who comes in, no matter how busy the store. By instructing employees to ask customers if they require any help on the shop floor, this will help determine if someone is merely browsing to steal.
Careful Product Placement
Position high-value stock in obvious spots such as near check-outs, low shelving, ask employees to regularly tidy displays; display empty boxes or packaging in front of full ones; use effective lighting on high-value products and place shelves so that aisles between other shelves are clearly visible to check-out staff. Displays should be no higher than above the waist, with higher displays or units against walls and check-out displays not cluttering up the eye-line of staff.
Consider placing convex mirrors in the corners of the shop ceilings and shelves so that blind spots across the shop can be seen. Criminals are likely to steal in far-reaching and unoccupied corners of the shop floor, so, by having mirrors, this means anything suspicious is detected faster.