As earlier reported in the Knowledge Zone - retail crime has risen by 18% in the last 12 months, and now that the busiest shopping period of the year is here the pressure is on for retailers.
With increased footfall comes higher risk of retail losses. Keeping stores stocked and tidy, while managing the influx of shoppers, means staff are preoccupied allowing some thrifty consumers to help themselves.
Here are our tips for controlling crime:
1) Increase security and manpower
Thieves are more likely to target unguarded stores so having a security presence is a must. A well trained security guard will act as a deterrent by interacting with consumers and watching out for suspicious activity. Store detectives should also be a part of the security strategy. These plain clothes officers are trained in spotting the more covert methods of theft and because they go unnoticed and can compile evidence before an arrest.
EAS tagging, CCTV and EPoS till monitoring are all must haves in a retail environment. If a tagged product triggers the alarm at the exit, the event is filmed on CCTV and the transaction checked using the EPoS data. Sophisticated equipment will also monitor high value items and shopper behaviour - triggering an alert to suspicious activity or individuals in the store.
3) Consider your store layout
The most popular items to a thief is something of high value which is easy to sell on. Be savvy - consider where your high value items are placed so they are not an easy grab. Consider locating them in clear site of CCTV or where employees have a direct line of view.
4) Even employees can pose a threat
39% of thefts reported in the last year have been at the hands of employees - background checks are crucial when hiring staff - see our article on vetting for more information.
5) The art of customer service
Industry experts have often suggested that customer service is the most effective deterrent - when a customer walks into your store; greet them, make eye contact with them and let them know you have seen them.
6) Work with local police officers
Local authorities will be able to identify repeat offenders and organised gangs and police community support officers work on the most local level to help combat crime.
7) Ensure you are a Retailers Against Crime Member
This organisation are a national retail crime partnership, established in 1997 they detect and deter crime including acts of violence. They share information on local and travelling suspects to members, crime partnerships and the police throughout the UK. You can visit RAC here www.retailersagainstcrime.org.
8) Know your neighbours
In smaller towns and high streets it helps to speak to other store owners about any problems or concerns they have encountered, knowing your neighbours means you’re kept in the loop if there are new or ongoing threats.