Whether you own a chain of convenience stores or a single shop with high-end items in you’re likely in constant search for effective loss prevention strategies.
Employee theft, administrative errors and shoplifting account for billions of dollars in losses across the retail industry in the United States including right here in Buffalo.
You may already be implementing tools and techniques to prevent shrinkage, but there are still a variety of improvements that may save you significant dollars in the future.
Here are 8 loss prevention strategies to consider:
1. Loss Prevention Team
You can implement every loss prevention strategy known in the retail world but fail to get results if you don’t have a dedicated team managing loss prevention operations. This team will be responsible for introducing employees to new procedures, training staff on new technology, overseeing adherence to procedures, and analyzing the results of any implemented strategies. Dedicated teams can spot weaknesses and find ways to improve existing systems.
2. Modern Surveillance Technology
One of the most effective deterrents against any crime is the threat of being caught in the act. Most retailers don’t have the resources to put eyes on everyone at all times, but modern technology makes surveillance very cost effective.
Visible cameras at key locations, including entry and exit points, point of sale spots, and high-value merchandise locations let would-be thieves know they’re being watched before they act. And cameras can be more than just decoys – the video footage gives you insight into security weaknesses at different points around your business location.
3. Access Control System
As a retailer or commercial business, you know that careful control of the entry and exit of customers is crucial to loss prevention.
It’s much easier to monitor just one or two portals than several. Installing security locks on all doors ensures people enter and leave at locations that can be monitored.
Since employees often account for the biggest portion of shrinkage, this setup also applies to them. Keys or keyless entry devices for certain doors should only be held by employees that require them for their job, or consider access control which adds an extra security precaution and is more efficient than replacing lost keys or locks if there is an issue.
4. Fire Detection Equipment
Most retailers put all their loss prevention efforts into customer and employee theft. This can be a costly mistake.
Inventory losses due to a fire can be significant even when items are covered by insurance. By installing advanced equipment that’s used to detect fires in their earliest stages, your chances of the fire department getting to your location as soon as possible and preventing extensive damage increase. Fire detection technology alerts you, and the fire department, when smoke is detected so you can mitigate loss sooner.
5. Detailed Inventory Tracking System
Unless you catch someone stealing an item in the act, it’s difficult to find out exactly how much shrinkage your location is experiencing. That’s why a computerized inventory tracking system is recommended for all retailers. A comprehensive setup that tracks the status of each item from the moment it arrives from the vendor to the moment it’s bought by a customer will help you determine exactly what percentage of items is being lost. When statistics are tracked over a period of time, the loss prevention team can figure out which strategies are having positive or negative impacts.
6. RFID Tracking
Tracking individual items at your store through RFID can complement your existing inventory tracking system. If your store mostly contains low-value items, this solution may not be for you, but RFID can be highly valuable to retailers who sell high-cost items that are attractive to thieves. These small radio frequency identification chips can provide real-time monitoring of items whether they’re sitting on the shelf or being moved throughout the store. Your inventory control system can even detect if an RFID tagged item leaves the store without going through the regular checkout process.
7. Empower Employees and Managers
According to a study from the Harvard Business Review that analyzed loss prevention tactics at top retailers, one of the most effective strategies involved direct engagement of front-line employees and managers. If the employees and managers directly involved with daily operations don’t make loss prevention one of their top priorities, no strategy will be as effective as it can be. Employees should be encouraged to give their input on current procedures, and their opinions about ways to improve inventory loss should be listened to.
8. Experiment and Innovate
A loss prevention strategy that works great for one retailer may not work well for your store. That’s because no two locations have the exact same vulnerabilities and problems. Your loss prevention team should be encouraged to experiment with strategies rather than blindly accept their utility. Don’t be afraid to implement technologies that may be new or unorthodox, and think about using ideas from employees who have a different perspective from the ground floor.
While it’s impossible to completely eliminate the loss of inventory at your retail location, these strategies can reduce theft, fraud and other problems by big margins. Combining advanced technology, accountability, and employee engagement, you’re most likely to find a comprehensive strategy that minimizes losses for your retail location in Buffalo, New York.
Find out more about how to affordable it is to protect your retail or commercial business from the security expert at SHIELD.