Did you know the retail industry incurs a loss of $50 billion annually due to shoplifting and employee theft? As a result, retailers have started investing in new technologies to reduce inventory shrinkage.

The retail industry carries out various complex functions from store operations to managing the warehouse, distribution, and logistics.  Due to many moving parts, a proficient retail loss prevention service with all-round protection for your retail business is crucial.

So how does an experienced security agency protect against retail shrinkage? Well, it offers its clients a couple of options:

  • First, a security agency can provide expert loss prevention associates to apprehend shoplifters and prevent theft incidents from occurring.
  • Second, you can hire both unarmed and armed retail security officers in your business.

Identifying the Root Cause & Factors of Loss Prevention

Many retailers find themselves in a situation where they do not know where to start with retail loss prevention.

However, if you want to reduce shrinking inventory, you need to identify the causes for the shrink.

External Theft or Shoplifting

External theft or shoplifting occurs when a person steals the product directly or returns stolen items for store credit.

In-Store Theft or Employee Theft

The employees may pickpocket the product or steal cash from the counter causing inventory shrinkage.

Administrative Errors

Administrative errors or paper shrink happens more in cases where businesses process all of their tasks manually.

Supplier Fraud

Supplier fraud is not as common as shoplifting or employee theft but still accounts for some loss.

Calculating the Retail Shrink

You also need to calculate the retail shrinkage to know the actual loss you are incurring due to inventory loss.

Developing a Loss Prevention Plan

A loss prevention plan means more than just installing closed-circuit cameras in stores. You need to create a vertical strategy to curb shoplifting and inventory loss.

The Harvard Business Review conducted a detailed study on loss prevention strategies to come up with a few viable suggestions. These include:

  • Loss prevention embedded at all levels
  • Empowered and responsible staff and store workers
  • Evidence-based tactics
  • Communication about inventory shrinkage through the organization
  • Commitment at the Senior Management Level

When you are creating an effective loss prevention plan, it’s important to focus on essential aspects.

Physical Security

Let’s begin with installing the cameras. Digital cameras are one of the most effective and common devices that secure loss prevention.

CEO and President of National Retail Solutions Elie Y Kartz said, “I would recommend installing visible security cameras throughout the store so that you can always monitor the different activities from behind the counter.”

Moreover, it also deters shoplifters and thieves from doing whatever they want. They are aware that the camera is recording their activities.

Hiring a Loss Prevention Officer

Cameras are equipment, just like any other machine. Therefore, you cannot rely on them completely. At times the device may develop a technical snag or any other issue, not operating properly. So what do you do then?

You can hire loss prevention officers to reduce retail shrink and curb losses. Professional loss prevention services focus on:

  • Securing personal loss and safety
  • Asset protection
  • Ensuring smooth business operations

Loss Prevention Officers have the expertise to prevent shoplifting and theft incidents. They are present in the retail public space keeping a vigilant eye on shoppers and employers to detect any suspicious activity. They can even confront a suspected person in case they notice any unusual activity.

Job responsibilities also include monitoring the fitting rooms and displays, where opportunities to steal merchandise are higher. Uniformed officers discourage thieves and troublemakers from creating any trouble at the store.

Role of a Loss Prevention Associate

Loss Prevention Associates also play a pivotal role in minimizing retail theft and other unlawful activities. They are trained, asset protectors who usually work indoors on the store premises or behind the scene, monitoring the surveillance cameras. Loss prevention associates may need to work even during the holidays or at other peak times.

Patrolling the Premises

Most of the time, you will find loss prevention associates taking a walk around the entire store, keeping an eye on all activities. They are dressed in everyday attire to blend in so people don’t notice them. They are appointed to stop shoplifting and vandalism.

Monitoring Security Cameras

Today almost all retail stores have CCTV cameras installed at different points. Loss prevention officers continuously keep monitoring the footage and take appropriate action if necessary.  Apart from watching the activities of patrons, they closely monitor the actions of employees to prevent in-store theft.

Apprehend Shoplifters

If a theft is committed, they take appropriate actions according to the procedure immediately. These may include catching the thief and recovering the stolen item, collecting evidence, taking the culprit to a specified area, handling the conflict and inform the police.

Writing Reports

The job of a loss prevention associate also requires them to document incidents. It helps law enforcement officials and police to frame charge against the thief. It also serves as a record for a store that helps in further investigation.

Strategizing Loss Prevention

Loss prevention officers not only help in catching the crooks but also in planning a strategy to prevent retail loss. The store can enact upon the officer’s valuable suggestions to minimize such incidents.

Playing a Supportive Role

Loss prevention associates are also known as asset protectors who can also verify the accuracy of merchandise items, check inventory, and more.

How Retail Uniform Security Officers Help

Retail uniform security officers can both serve as armed or unarmed guards according to the requisites of the client.  Here’s how they can help:

  • They help retailers in providing a more secure and inviting environment for their employees and customers by minimizing theft incidents.
  • They can also protect the store from potential armed burglars who could barge into the store & vandalize it.
  • Assisting in emergency situations and other hazards such as evacuating the store in case of fire.

In short, loss prevention and inventory shrinkage is different for every retailer. What works for others might not be suitable for your business. So to begin your loss prevention action plan you need to first analyze inventory shrinkage and then create a strategy that can mitigate those losses in the future.

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