Opening a new retail outlet requires a lot of decision making – from store fit out and staffing to the range of products on offer and how they will be displayed. Amongst the lengthy list of considerations are the security measures you require to ensure the products you stock are protected against loss and theft.
In this series we look at the best protection for your new store. Our first article covered Electronic Article Surveillance and appropriate tagging. In this edition we go behind the counter, into the change room and also take a big-picture planning perspective of security measures for your retail outlet.
Securing high-value stock
Each year about 40 per cent of Australia’s retail loss is attributed to theft and a further quarter to dishonest employees, with high-value stock that can be on-sold at the greatest risk of theft.
Items in this category include mobile phones, electronics, accessories and games.
The question is, how do you secure this stock yet still have it available to the consumer? And it’s worth remembering you’re not just securing it against shoplifters but against the rare but costly dishonest employee as well.
This is where loss prevention features like lockable cabinets and drawers come in. What’s more, in today’s tech savvy world, lockable cabinets and drawers can also harness additional benefits like programmable access restrictions, unique employee codes and access tracking through smart locks.
Smart locks part of the InVue’s IR ecosystem, allow a single key to open any cabinet within a store. Keys can be programmed for specific staff members to enable them to only access the cabinets in their department and can also track which key has opened what lock.
This feature helps guard not just against external theft but internal theft as well, while also offering an insight into which types of products are most popular, when they have been accessed and by whom.
Meanwhile, when used with Access Manager, management can change the pincode daily. The IR Smart Key is suited to any Invue Smart Lock, meaning it can also be used for other security assets like lockable package wraps, tablet displays and more.
Store layout is one of the most critical yet simple strategies for protecting stock against theft. The art lies in ensuring all areas of your shopfront can be seen from staff stations or the counter. In larger stores, it involves having staff assigned to specific areas, and perhaps the addition of CCTV.
The best use of CCTV sees it act as a deterrent, by making consumers aware through visually obvious cameras or signage that they will be monitored in your store.
The reality is statistics show shoplifters are far less likely to steal if they feel they can be seen, and lighting also plays a role in this type of prevention.
Lighting should be appealing but minimise dark areas where the criminally inclined can seek places to secrete items on their person or in bags.
The fitting room presents one of the greatest challenges for any retail outlet incorporating clothing, because by nature, it’s a private, non-monitored space.
However, modern technology allows this area to be protected against theft through innovations like FittingRoom guard.
Designed specifically to address the issue of change room theft, FittingRoom Guard detects the tools that shoplifters use to detach security tags.
The product sees antennae placed in the fitting room area and the FittingRoom Guard then detects magnetic movement when a shoplifter removes a tag with a detacher.
Staff are alerted to the incident in real time via a pager, or an optional alarm in the fitting room can sound to deter the would-be thief from proceeding with the crime.
Screening and training staff
Technology plays an increasing role in deterring both shoplifting and employee theft, but staff screening and training does and always will play a critical part in decreasing incidents further.
The key for retailers is to first ensure the staff they hire are trustworthy through adequate screening, and then ensure they are trained to identify suspicious behaviour.
When hiring, managers should reference check all potential shop assistants and managers, ascertaining their employment history and criminal records.
When training, the focus should be on ensuring staff can recognise suspicious behaviour, but above all serve the customer well.
Good customer service, such as greeting customers, assisting them to find items and attending to their needs goes a long way to ensuring consumers feel welcome and observed.
The final word
Protecting any shopfront requires a multi-layered approach. Technology like electronic article surveillance plays a critical role, but so does staff training and the physical design of the store. The best deterrence of theft will always come down to a combination of security strategies that take into account your store’s size, its products and the staff members available.