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
There are just some things that shouldn’t happen. One of them is being robbed by Santa.
As hard as it is to believe, would-be thieves have regularly taken advantage of the season of goodwill to don the distinctive red and white outfit of the jolly fellow and the disguise offered by a white beard and hat.
I remember an incident from last Christmas when a ‘Santa’ wearing sunglasses entered a retail outlet and demanded the staff fill his red sack with cash. At first the staff thought he was going to give them lollies.
There has been a long history of crooks using the Santa disguise, the most infamous was the Santa Claus Robbery of 1929, when three ‘Santas’ held up the First National Bank in Cisco, Texas. The bank tellers were also caught by surprise, greeting the thieves with “Hello Santa!”
‘Tis the season for thieves!
Retailers know that while Christmas is the time for big sales, it is also the season that would-be thieves take advantage of the big crowds that flood our shopping centres as a cover for shop stealing.
I really think it is a shame that some people see Christmas as a season to commit dishonest acts and cheat their fellow man.
But that’s how it is. It is a mistake to think that shoplifting and fraud are spontaneous, opportunistic crimes. Most of the time, they are not.
Just like retailers, thieves plan around annual cycles, with Christmas being the busiest and most profitable time of year for shoplifters, just as it is for retailers.
Everything becomes simpler; more stock in your store means that there are more barriers and blind spots on the shop floor. There is also the issue of stock associated confusion, were there only 10 units stacked there or a dozen? The big crowds also provide the camouflage that allows crooks to hide.
As we know, at peak periods you are more than likely to have younger, inexperienced staff to cope with increased demand. The employment of armature staff presents further security problems as such staff are almost defenseless against experienced con artists.
We’re familiar with the old rouse of a customer giving your new staff member $20 for a small item and when he is being given his change he insists he gave them a fifty. Is an 18-year-old school leaver going challenge a veteran thief?
Then there are new, short-term staff members you might not know as well. You need to be on guard for stock shrinkage and missing cash.
How you can protect your business.
At Chartercom, we know there is a lot of theft prevention measures retailers can implement themselves. With over 20-years of experience in the security industry, I know that there is no magic bullet, retail security is multi-faceted and requires a collaborative approach.
The first guard against theft relates to staff. You need enough staff in your store to properly observe your goods and customers, especially throughout peak periods. It is imperative they are trained in detecting shoplifters and comprehend organisational procedure when dealing with these incidents.
Then there is a first-rate CCTV system. It’s a great deterrent not only for shoplifters but any staff or delivery personnel who may have a fraudulent agenda. CCTV nips that urge in the bud.
I would also caution against do-it-yourself CCTV and security systems. You might think you are protected, but you really need expert advice.
Crooks can be beaten, and at Chartercom, we’re ready to help. We protect some of the nation’s biggest brands, including Nike, Mercedes, Toys R Us, Country Road, iSelect, Transpacific, and Priceline among many.
Call us today on 1300 844 844 or visit us at chartercomsecurity.com.au