Safety, security and loss prevention in your store are considered the most important elements of running a successful retail business. Stock loss can severely hamper revenues in a business climate where retail carries more unique struggles than ever before. Here are some tips on how to keep your merchandise safe from would-be shoplifters, while simultaneously maintaining a welcoming environment and satisfying shopping experience for your customers.
Before setting up cameras, stanchions or door alarms, walk around your store and get a good understanding of layout, and where your most susceptible inventory is. For example, you’re not likely to see much stock loss on large bulky or heavy items, so there’s not as much need for that area to be in a camera's field of view as there for areas with small, concealable stock. Using fewer dome cameras helps to diminish a cold, uninviting environment. And by moving a few shelving units or displays you can usually get away with much fewer cameras while providing the same protection against stock loss. Mirrors are another way to minimize camera usage –-place security mirrors in corners to ensure that would-be shoplifters aren’t taking your merchandise into the corner areas of your store before concealing them.
When customers visit your store, they require direction–without it, your store can very quickly become overcrowded. With no direction, customers tend to walk slower, walk to the same sections more than once, and take over twice as long to make a purchase. While this affects sales, during the holidays or peak season this ‘ambling’ of in-store visitors can create an ample opportunity for theft or fraud, as well as contribute to a diminished and frustrating customer experience. All of these factors can significantly decrease store revenues, and the average lifetime value of your customer.
Solution: Map out your store, and learn your customers shopping behavior. Your store layout should already be set up for merchandising which will help in understanding foot traffic flow in your store. Understanding flow (with flow analysis), make sure all important areas of your business are clearly marked with signage or banners, including exits, bathrooms, store sections, sale areas and checkout / cash counters.
Stanchions can be an excellent way of managing customer flow. They help customers understand where to line up for checkout, and by stanchioning this line a store can make sure that, even in peak times, customer shopping / browsing is not affected. But stanchions play another role – you can use stanchions to ensure that you or your staff have clear views to areas of issue with shoplifting. Use a floor decal or stanchion post sign to have your customers wait a respectable distance from your checkout.
If you’ve set up cameras, ensure that you have signage reminding would-be thieves. Putting signs or decals on key areas (front door, in problem areas, bathroom doors, etc.) can have a significant impact on loss prevention. Research shows that when returning shoplifters see a security camera sign, over 75% look for the camera, and less than 20% re-offend in that retail outlet.
You can’t prevent all stock loss due to shoplifting, but utilizing the techniques above can help you drastically minimize your losses and protect your bottom line. Remember, for peak seasons or holidays, your store may require a reshuffle. Make this a part of your holiday decorating and merchandising, and remember to draw out, or take an image (from your new security cameras perhaps) of the layout so that you can easily reuse the layout in the years to come.
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