With the direct cost of retail crime at £660M in the UK last year, is your company taking security seriously enough? With customer theft accounting for 75% of incidents, Loss Prevention is the most important security challenge facing retail today.
The British Retail Consortium blames the rise on criminal gangs stealing luxury and hi-tech goods to order. We’ve seen a recent spate in moped gangs across primary luxury retail establishments across London that certainly backs this theory. “Smash ‘n’ Grab” operations are unfortunately too common, and can be highly dangerous to staff and clients alike.
The less obvious, and less publicised crime, involves professional thieves. Usually operating in small teams, they look and behave like high-end clientele, making it difficult to spot and prevent them. With distinct roles, they are highly skilled, and their objective is to discretely steal high value items.
However, if staff have received appropriate “Awareness Training”, the challenge of Loss Prevention becomes much easier to control.
Here’s 5 essential tools you should be considering to help you address Loss Prevention.
1) Staff Awareness Training
Ensure your employees receive regular training, helping them to understand the signs to look out for and learn specialist techniques. This includes dealing with Professional theft, Opportunist theft, and knowing the methods and equipment used.
Working with your Security Team, have a plan in place to handle incidents as they arise. Your Retail Team could also have a “code word” to discretely alert each other in suspicious cases. And of course, impeccable customer service with eye contact makes thieves less elusive.
Using an industry expert with extensive knowledge in this area is the ideal partner to deliver Loss Prevention Training.
2) Prevention Methods using Technology
It goes without saying that you should be implementing all the prevention methods available, e.g. CCTV and tagging systems. Deterrents will slow down thieves but of course will not stop them altogether – you need time on your side to spot any untoward behaviour.
CCTV is vital to capture evidence when issues do occur, and share with fellow retailers and local police.
Although less common, employee theft still accounted for £13M worth of retail crime last year. So, it’s wise to invest in additional training for Management Teams to be aware of prevention techniques.
Employees will steal for a multitude of reasons; from peer pressure to revenge and financial hardships. As with any theft, if they have the means, motive and opportunity it’s very difficult to control.
Like the Staff Awareness Training, it’s best to use an expert in this field to provide this vital training and to help set up procedures.
4) Strive for Operational Excellence
Having appropriate operational controls in place will put you a step ahead in Loss Prevention. This will lower your risks and ultimately increase revenues.
You should work with your specialist Security Provider to keep your business strategy in line with your security objectives.
Implementing internal tools such as auditing will ensure all operational controls are working effectively. Having the right auditing solution specific to the retail industry will highlight any risks and discrepancies, optimising your business operations.
Identifying any “Paperwork Errors” caused by employees, whether intentional or accidental, can also help reduce shrinkage.
With all these tools and processes in place, you finally need to create a Loss Prevention Culture within your organisation. This is when all employees are trained and supported by the controls for Loss Prevention and Shortage Control. It’s not only merchandise and profit at risk, but your employees’ safety too.