Store security is one of the biggest threats facing retail businesses. A retailer’s ability to a make profit can depend on good store security.
Providing a suitable level of security is essential to minimise the potential risk of loss to the store, its equipment or stock. This risk is not limited to theft there are many potential risk areas to consider when implementing an effective loss prevention strategy. Remember that opportunities for theft occur not just on the shop floor, but also in areas such as storerooms and offices. Customers are not the only potential thieves – vendors and employees can also be thieves.Stand out – retail skills, experience and connections that lift your resume to the top of the pile.
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Good security is mostly a question of understanding and using the systems, as well as the policies and procedures outlined by the organisation. Crucial to achieving a reduction in theft is the application of these routine store security systems and procedures. This means team members must know, understand and implement the policies that relate to theft and security.
Security within a retail workplace can relate to: The security of keys is an issue which all retail stores need to take seriously. Lost keys cost money in terms of multiple copies having to be replaced, and potentially allow easy access to the store, backroom, or cash register. Key security should include: A policy forbidding taking keys off the premises. Using a key safe to store keys in. Restricting key access to a needs-only basis. A policy forbidding the copying of keys by any team member. Signing for keys by the use of a key register. The use of a master key system where one key can open multiple locks. A policy forbidding the lending of keys without written permission.
Thieves don’t just target products; they can also steal the equipment used within the store. Many stores have an equipment or assets register to record all equipment in the store, such as: Cash registers. Computers. Music systems. Display cases. Cleaning equipment. Trolleys. Team member vigilance is important in ensuring that valuable equipment is used and stored safely. This goes a long way towards reducing the chance that these items will be stolen.
A retail store is more likely to be targeted for robbery before being opened each morning and after the doors are closed at the end of the day. This is because the retailer may be alone or carrying cash, and there may be fewer people about. The risks are increased when there is a single employee responsible for opening or closing. To lessen the risk retailers should: Establish safety procedures for opening and closing the workplace.
Train team members to check for anyone loitering or signs of attempted entry.
- Where possible, arrange for more than one team member to open and close the workplace.
- Provide team members with a personal duress alarm to deter an offender.
- Provide additional external lighting, especially around the entrance and car park.
Under WHS legislation employers have a duty of care to provide a safe workplace. This extends to taking reasonable steps to minimise the likelihood of armed robbery and the trauma that results from this. The priority is to survive an armed robbery in the workplace.
Many retail businesses will not refund or exchange product unless it is faulty. For those that do, there are several ways that they can reduce their risks associated with refund/exchange of goods. These methods will decrease the opportunities that offenders have to commit refund fraud and will likely result in increased customer satisfaction by laying out refund/exchange procedures in advance.
For most retailers the stock that the store buys is one of the largest investments they have in their business. The retailer is unable to recover the money paid for the stock until it is sold to customers. Stock that is damaged or stolen represents a direct loss to the business. Consequently, a process is needed to control the movement of stock.
This includes: Following correct procedures for the receipt and dispatch of stock. Ensuring all records and documentation are accurately and promptly completed so that all stock can be accounted for at all times. Conducting random physical checks on prices and price tags, etc. Ensuring stock is securely stored. Completing periodic stock checks/audits. Stocktaking the store at least once a year. Handling all stock with care to avoid damage. The cash register or Point of Sale terminal will be used constantly during trading to process transactions and receive and store cash and non-cash payments.
Due to the volume of money that they hold, cash registers are prime targets for thieves, both team members and customers. Cash register security should include: Never leaving any cash register/terminal unattended. Closing the cash drawer after each transaction. Nominating who is allowed to operate the register/terminal. Clearing excess cash and non-cash regularly.
Team members never turning their back on an open cash drawer. Logging out of the Point of Sale terminal at the end of the transaction. Always locking the cash register/terminal with the key when the register is not in use. Ensuring the key is never left in the register/terminal. Never leaving the cash drawer in a locked register at night.
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ARA Retail Institute is Australia’s leading retail training provider for both accredited and non-accredited learning programs. For more information, please visit: www.retailinstitute.org.au