10 Tips For Keeping Your Retail Store Secure

Here are some retail statistics that will shock you:

  • Shoplifting costs the UK economy more than £1.4 billion every year
  • Thefts under £200 have been effectively decriminalised in the UK since 1968
  • 89 per cent of store staff working alone face abuse on the job
  • There are more than 35,000 acts of violence on retail premises annually, 16,000 of which involve a weapon

Unfortunately, retail store security isn’t always a priority for retailers. And that’s putting staff, customers and business profitability at risk. 

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In this post, we take a look at ten tips to reduce the risk of violence and theft in your store. Here’s what you need to know.

  1. Hire Security Guards

Posting retail security guards at the entrance to stores brings a host of benefits and almost no downsides (except the cost, perhaps). Customers feel more secure and having trained personnel on-site deters criminals.

What’s more, hiring retail guards is easy. Just approach a retail security company and tell them about your staffing needs. 

If you are worried about value for money, you can ask security guards to double up as greeters. This way, you can make customers feel welcome and protect your stock at the same time. 

  1. Implement An AI Retail Security System

Paying someone to monitor your CCTV is expensive. And, in many cases, they miss blatant theft. Either they are having a conversation with a customer or aren’t paying attention. 

Fortunately, there’s a solution: AI-powered retail security software. These use pattern-recognition technology to identify criminals in the act by analysing their body language. Security guards receive notifications to their devices if the AI spots anything unusual, allowing them to identify and track criminals. 

  1. Install CCTV

CCTV is a mainstay of retail security and loss prevention. Cameras deter both customers and staff from stealing from you, helping to reduce shrinkage. 

CCTV has the added benefit of being relatively inexpensive to install. Even the smallest retailers can afford comprehensive camera coverage. 

Retail CCTV solutions usually integrate with other security services, such as the software mentioned above. They may also help you reduce your dependence on physical security guards when used strategically. 

  1. Provide Employee Training

Most employees aren’t criminals so they aren’t familiar with the signs of impending theft. That’s why savvy retailers are training their employees. They want them to get better at handling instances of theft. Employees, for instance, should be trained to look out for shoppers who: 

  • Regularly pick up items and put them down in a different place in the store
  • Appear to be swapping price tags
  • Constantly look around to see if they are being watched

Training doesn’t need to be complicated. Simple things like drilling employees on how to contact security or how to operate security alarms should suffice. You might also want to give them some code words they can use to communicate with each other if they see something suspicious, keeping them safe.

  1. Rethink Your Store Layout

Generally speaking, keeping all your valuables close to exits is bad for retail store security. Practices like these make it easier for shoplifters to grab items they want and make a run for it. 

Likewise, it’s a bad idea to allow poor visibility in some areas of the store. Staff should be able to see what customers are doing at all times. 

Try to avoid: 

  • Displays that are too tall to see over
  • Clustering all your products in one space will attract crowds. (Spread them out a little so that you can catch any attempted thefts in the act). 
  • Putting all your high-value products in unlocked cabinets. Keep expensive items behind the counter or locked up in the back room. 
  1. Use Anti-Theft Retail Boxes

Anti-theft devices are inexpensive, reusable and highly effective. 

They work using two essential elements. The first is the antenna, usually placed as gantries at the store entrance on either side of the door frame. All customers have to walk through them if they want to leave the store. 

The second is the security tags themselves. These contain a transmitter that communicates with the antenna. If the antenna detects the presence of a tag moving close to it, it’ll initiate an alarm. Security officers can then apprehend customers and ask them to produce proof of purchase. 

  1. Conduct Regular Walkthroughs

Your store won’t look after itself. Therefore, conduct regular walkthroughs. Randomly patrol all parts of the store, including the back rooms and warehouses. 

Walkthroughs are helpful because they keep both criminals and staff on their toes. Patrolling managers act as a deterrent, preventing theft from occurring. 

  1. Display Security Signage

While retail technology is improving store security, there are also some surprisingly low-tech and affordable methods you can use to deter crime. 

One of these is putting up security signage. They say things like “smile, you’re on camera” or “CCTV is in operation in this premises” and are particularly effective when placed next to high-value products. Signs like these should have no effect on regular customers, but they will put off thieves. 

  1. Reduce Cash Transactions

Reducing cash transactions is another powerful way you can keep your retail store secure. It prevents light-fingered cashiers and opportunistic thieves from bleeding you dry. It also makes the security store or area where you handle cash less of a target. If all your transactions are digital, criminals will look elsewhere. 

Of course, switching away from cash might be an inconvenience for customers in the short term. But over time, it can speed up the checkout process and improve security for staff. 

  1. Get Professional Advice

Lastly, don’t manage your retail security in-house. Instead, get help from professionals. They can: 

  • Help you install anti-theft retail technology correctly
  • Improve your retail display security
  • Audit your existing processes and show you where your weak points are
  • Train your staff to identify signs that a customer is about to shoplift
  • Improve the overall safety of staff and customers
  • Get training on how to deal with challenging behaviour

Start using these tips today to improve your operational security and keep everyone safe. 

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