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Theft Prevention: 5 Must-Haves for Any Brick and Mortar Store

Most of us have encountered that moment in our youth when stealing becomes something of a dare, and we must make that moral choice of whether or not to risk our innocence.  Maybe it starts with a piece of gum from the corner store or a bracelet from the jewelry store.  Whatever form takes on, we all know that stealing is wrong and has punishable repercussions, but it does happen more than we think.

It’s been said that theft takes up 37% of retail loss in the United States, in the form of inventory, and/or time and billing. That’s a huge number to account for, especially for a local “ma & pa” shop.  For this reason, I’ve put together a list of 5 must-have to prevent theft in any brick and mortar store:

  1. Trained Employees

Having trustworthy and trained employees is critical to having a successful business.  30% of theft has been said to come from the employees themselves.  It’s very important to be organized enough to track where all your inventory is; coming or going.  Remind your staff that you keep track of everything and will always notice when something is off.  Keep them trained on how to spot a shoplifter, and what do to when they encounter one. It may be worth it for you to hire outside help with this training, but it may be well worth the investment.

  1. Mirrors

Sometimes it’s enough to just have a better view of the whole store.  We don’t have eyes on the back of our heads, (although that would be fun!) so to see better, invest in some good mirrors to be hung in those hard to reach areas of the store.  It’ll be easier for your employees to keep their eyes on your customers, without having to follow them around and create an awkward situation.

  1. Video Cameras

Having video cameras could literally save your company, not just in theft, but in an emergency.  Companies like Mobile Video Guard are easily prepared to set you up with all the equipment and recording devices you could imagine, and answer any questions you may have on the matter.  Setting up recording cameras is preventative and reassurance that you can always lean on that evidence if something were to happen outside of your control.  Rather than spending money on security guards, which can create mistrust between you and the clients (not to mention the payroll for them) security cameras are the most reliable, and cost-effective way to watch your customers (and employees), and keep them accountable for their actions.

  1. Security Systems

You’ll have to narrow down what type of system would work best for you, but I would recommend looking into a security system for your storefront.  Look for something that works with tags and towers; towers that get placed at all exits and the system will flash and make loud sounds if anyone tries to remove a tagged item from your store; allowing staff to alert the appropriate authorities.  Employees should be the only ones that are able to remove the tags once an item is purchased.

  1. Employee Time Tracking Systems

You may be surprised to hear this, but time theft is a real concern when it comes to staff and payroll.  Employees are trusted with your time while on the job, but who’s to say that they aren’t pushing their limits, accounting for more hours than what is being put in.  Payroll is a huge expense within a business and can make or break your monthly budgets.  Just because it’s not an item being stolen; doesn’t mean it isn’t stealing.  Time theft is always a concern but can be managed easily with the proper system in place.  You’ll have to ask around or do some research to find what would work best for your specific company, but I’ve seen time stamps hold many employees accountable for their time.  The investment will be well worth the savings!

It’s a bit of a hard pill to swallow when you must track your employees just as much as your customers, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry in situations like this.  Theft can bring a business to its knees, so it’s worth it to do the research and investments at the beginning.  These assurances will hold everyone accountable, and help you manage your bottom line effectively. 

Knowing you have all these measures in place will not only create a second thought in a thief’s mind but will give you better sleep at night, knowing that if anything does happen, you have many options to fall back on. Prevention is key in circumstances like this; so, it’s always better to get ahead of the problem, instead of wishing you had.

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BDC 305 Jun 2023