The backbone of a robust loss prevention program is a professionally installed, 24-hour monitored electronic security system that includes burglar and fire alarm systems, access control and video surveillance, both inside and outside the facility.
Analytic software built into many of the newer security cameras and other devices can detect and document all areas of loss, helping retailers better understand and pinpoint each source of loss so it can be addressed.
Lighting and physical barriers
Perimeter lighting and other physical barriers like roll-downs—similar to garage doors or bolsters that prevent vehicles from ramming through storefronts—offer an added layer of security to a store’s exterior.
The most prominent areas of shrink—namely, loss from internal theft and external shoplifting—can be addressed, to some degree, by product level protection using security tags or Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS).
Smart or alarming EAS tags integrated with a store’s video surveillance system can trigger a video recording of a theft event in addition to sending an audible alarm. This technology can be a powerful tool, not only for detection and deterrence, but also for enforcement and prosecution.
Stringent hiring, management and training practices that include clear communication about repercussions of employee theft can help reduce internal theft. Point of Sale (POS) software that requires staff members to log in individually, coupled with video surveillance of cash registers, has also proven effective at helping reduce this costly area of shrink.
The growing trend of buying online and returning in store is putting more pressure on retailers to ramp up visibility and auditing of inventory. Robust POS and security practices are key to reducing incidents of fraud in this area.
Source tagging at the point of manufacture can help to ensure merchandise is protected upon arrival to the store, freeing up associates for other necessary tasks and reducing labor costs, while also helping to support vigilant inventory reconciliation. Software analytics supplemented by video surveillance at critical areas along the supply chain can also be used to pinpoint whether cargo was actually received or not.
Combatting non-malicious loss like administrative error is part of effective, overall store management further addressed by a combination of data analysis, cross checking and reconciliation of orders and clear assignment of roles and responsibilities for in-store staff.
- According to the National Retail Federation, an estimated one in four American workers is employed in retail so the safety and security of employees is a primary concern for retailers that can be enhanced through measures that also improve store efficiency.
- Retailers who take the fire, life safety and security of their stakeholders seriously can build consumer and employee confidence that the store is a safe and welcoming place.
- Additionally, their efforts can serve as a deterrent by conveying the message that the store does not tolerate and will prosecute criminal activity.
Retailers faced with changing consumer shopping preferences and evolving threats are turning to innovative new technologies as well as proven methods to bring a holistic approach to their organizations. These safety measures can help protect employees, assets and profits while building long-term customer loyalty.
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