Although the phrase “retail security” may conjure up images of deterring shoplifters, there is often a whole lot more to it than stopping criminals. Vandalism and insurance scams in the form of fake accidents may also be issues to your store. In addition to this, retailers also have to think about the threats posed by technology.
Rather than going into detail about each possible type of threat, this article will look at different groups of people who may be a security threat to your business and how to mitigate that threat with effective security practices.
Your Social-Media Manager
Many retailers, especially small ones, don’t just have social media for the fun of it–they also rely on it for marketing purposes.
The challenge that small retailers face is that they can’t just avoid giving out sensitive details such as their location, opening hours, and merchandise because the whole object of the exercise is to make genuine customers aware of this information.
At the same time, however, you can, should, and must think before you post. Don’t go out of your way to help thieves, for example by posting, “We’ll be a bit short-handed next week, so please be patient if the shop is a bit busy”.
Your Employees in General
Your employees, like the majority of your customers, will probably be honest and may even provide helpful feedback on your security. There is always the possibility, however, that a few employees will not be and will damage your business. The way to manage this situation is to combine access controls with effective general surveillance.
Basically, you want to limit access to cash, and possibly certain items of merchandise, by using proper accounting controls, inventory-management controls, and, if your budget stretches to it, CCTV at strategic points, such as by cash registers and premium merchandise.
Your Genuine Customers
The biggest threat caused by genuine customers is the fact that they can accidentally provide cover/distraction for criminals. This generally happens when shops get busy. Walkways get crowded and merchandise gets disorganized so nobody can keep tabs on it effectively. The way to stop this is, quite simply, having effective organization.
Lay out your shop so that there are clear and logical paths between different areas such as changing rooms and checkout areas. Make these large enough so people can move freely and make sure that there is effective lighting in every area.
Keep the most expensive products furthest away from access points or use display boxes. Make sure staff are replacing items where they should be as soon as they possibly can.
Criminals are the obvious threat and pretty much everything mentioned so far will help protect against them. In addition to these tips, look at the exterior of your building and locate any potential access points and see if anything can be done to make them more secure.
For example, consider investing in security shutters for doors and windows and, if possible, equip them with CCTV. Remember, however, that this will only work if there is enough lighting, especially after hours.