In spite of the growing popularity of online retail, physical retail stores still hold over 93% of sales shares in Australia. And in 2015, a study from the Global Retail Theft Barometer stipulated that the Australian retail industry loses an estimated AUD 2.7 billion due to theft, negligence, and fraud – losses which can be attributed to issues of inadequate security. While losses can never be 100% prevented, they can at least be minimized. And to minimize losses due to issues of inadequate security, identifying common mistakes in retail business security can be very helpful.
Here are 5 common mistakes that can lead to inadequate security in the retail business.
“Failure to plan is planning to fail.”
Proper risk assessment and comprehensive planning allow you to identify your security needs as well as the measures required to ensure that these needs are met. Without proper planning and assessment, you not only run the danger of miscalculating the obvious security risks. You may even completely miss out on threats to your business which are not so obvious, but which can potentially be more devastating when left unaddressed. Without proper planning and assessment, your retail business can be left vulnerable to a catastrophic breach, the likes of which can spell disaster, or even the death of a business venture.
In this day and age, the view is shifting from “security as a cost” to “creating value from security” – what leading security experts term as “Enterprise Security Management”. This means that the security should not be viewed just as a facet of any business to be financed when you have the luxury of additional resources. Instead, it must be viewed as an integral part of the entire business venture or model.
Having insufficient or sub-optimal security and surveillance equipment and personnel largely stems from two things: the absence of planning and assessment (again, emphasizing the importance of planning) and trying to cut down costs. Skimping on security costs can be very tempting, especially for a small retail business with seemingly low-value merchandise that thieves or shoplifters will have little interest in taking. But whether your retail business offers everyday items or expensive luxury goods, losses due to theft, fraud, or negligence will still hurt your bottom line – losses which could have been prevented by an adequate security system in place. Having an adequate security system is an investment – and you get what you pay for. Investing in the right equipment and adequate personnel will not only prevent material losses but also foster an atmosphere of safety among clients and staff. This translates into more customers and fewer staff errors (or staff theft).
A significant part of retail businesses’ lost revenue (sometimes as high as 40%) can come from unintentional employee errors or employee theft. While there are many factors why employees would steal from their own businesses (i.e. revenge, necessity, uncontrolled mental illness, etc.), a considerable portion of these losses can be prevented by proper staff evaluation, screening, and on-boarding. Staff that are happy and satisfied with their work environment and who see themselves as “partners” rather than “employees” will be more likely to value the business and will decrease the chance of employee theft. Likewise, staff who are trained to spot and report suspicious activity can also help curtail losses.
Retail security plans and efforts should be executed in coordination with local law enforcement organizations. It becomes significantly easier for retail security personnel and retail staff to do their jobs when they have the support of the police, when the security cameras are networked to the police stations, and when alarms also alert patrolling or on-station law enforcement officers.
Store design and layout elements can either promote or hamper efforts of security personnel. These elements can also determine the type of security system and the number of security personnel that a retail store may require for effective security. Store lighting, door positions, width and length of shopping aisles, presence of structures which can obscure security cameras, access to emergency exits and location of store-critical areas like vaults or storage spaces all need to be considered in conjunction with the initial security plan.
Retail Security is not as simple as you may think. In order to effectively deter crimes and prevent losses that bleed businesses’ resources dry, you and your security service provider need to pay attention to details and make sure you don’t commit these mistakes. Learn from previous experiences of other businesses and implement better.
Prosek Security’s years of impeccable track record working with the retail industry makes us highly capable in identifying possible issues and managing them before they go out of hand. Contact us now so we can help you pinpoint probable missteps you’ve been making and guide you on how to improve your retail security systems and get the results you want to achieve.