When you set up a retail business, it’s probably the fulfillment of a long-held dream, or perhaps a bright idea that has suddenly taken off and found a market. Often, there’s an inspirational story behind it.
Underpinning your business is the need to make a profit, and of course that’s the ultimate goal. But as we know, there are darker forces out there that are working against you, shoplifters.
In the most basic sense, the dishonest people who steal your product for their own personal gain are threatening your business and the livelihood of your employees.
This is why every good retailer needs a solid loss prevention strategy.
At Chartercom Security, our generations in the security industry business have given us great insight into how shoplifters think, and developed a sound understanding for ways in which you can defeat them.
We have developed a five-point plan, we call it the 5 B’s, and it can be used as a tool to prevent loss of stock as well as aid understanding of the techniques employed by expert retail thieves.
BE ALERT: Employee awareness is your greatest resource. Staff should acknowledge customers entering and leaving the store with a simple meet and greet. They should offer service, and if the customer says they are fine for the moment, they should respond by saying, “Great, if you need assistance, I’ll just over here”, and indicate an area close by. It is essential that all staff know the layout of the store and are made aware of likely or possible theft areas, ensuring such areas are consistently patrolled.
BE AWARE: Understand the difference between a buyer/browser and a shoplifter. Watch for body language. Stealers get close to items. The last thing a thieve does is look around to confirm no one is looking. Are they nervous, hesitant? What about concealment? Do they have prams, bulky garments, retail sale bags?
BE PROACTIVE: Follow the three Ds:
You can also employ behavioral skills, such as brief staff on effective body language that doesn’t allude to intimidation or hostility when a shoplifter is identified. By opening one’s hands and not folding arms or clenching fists, the scenario is more likely to remain peaceful and the thief does not perceive the employee as a threat but understands they are close by. Use personal body space to direct a stealer on a desired course. Give them a way out, they are likely to dump a product rather than get caught.
BE CERTAIN: It’s extremely important you do not breach the law. A customer doesn’t have to show the contents of a bag. A manager can explain the legal rights, and if the customer still refuses, you can refuse a sale, ask them to leave, or call the police if there are confirmed grounds to believe an offence has been committed. NEVER detain a person or force them physically to stay. If you are assaulted, you have the legal right to reasonably defend yourself in accordance with the law.
BE TOGETHER: Develop a team commitment to prevent loss. For example, if staff are uncertain in a situation, they might say to a colleague, “Security are due in soon, aren’t they?” You may then have an employee walk past a suspected thief or stay near them. All staff must follow company procedure. Discussion surrounding theft prevention at team meetings and training of such are key in protecting your stock, your staff, as well as your business as a whole.
Good customer service is part of the answer to loss prevention. Chartercom Security has the experience to help you, and we can confidentially discuss the other elements to protect your business, such as state-of-the-art CCTV.
Contact our team on 1300 844 844 or visit us at chartercomsecurity.com.au