We were recently asked to write an article about how retailers can cut theft using good Point of Sale software because of the considerable work we have done in this area helping customers, the police and insurance companies.  We though the atricle may also interest readers of this blog…

Cutting employee theft and customer theft in your retail business starts with commitment from the business owners and managers to this goal.

Too often, retailers accept that a certain level of theft will occur and think that it is not as bad in their store as it is in others.

Here are three steps for cutting the cost of theft in any retail business.

Step one: understand the problem.

The first step to dealing with theft, by employees or customers, is to understand the value of theft.

You can understand the value of most customer theft by undertaking either a full business stock take or spot stock takes. The stock your Point of Sale system thinks should be on hand compared to what is on hand reflects the value of stock theft, usually by customers. Good POS software offers stock take facilities designed to track theft.

Understanding the value of employee theft is more difficult since it can involve cash not even put through the computer system.

Step two: get serious about business processes.

Theft occurs usually because of weak business processes. Strengthen a few of your business processes and you dramatically cut the cost of theft.

Sales. Have every sale tracked by an employee code. This brings discipline to the sales process.

Refunds. Only allow a manager to do these.

Deleting sales. Ensure that only the most senior people in the retail business have permission through the POS software to do this.

Discounting. Setup rules in your POS software on the volume of discounting which is permitted.

Cash balancing. Establish rules for end of shift cash balancing. Make all sales employees accountable to a zero tolerance target.

Use security reporting tools. Good POS software will take you behind the scenes in the business and report on concerning behaviour such as selling items below cost, cancelling sales, deleting sales or adjusting customer account balances. These are all indicators of employee fraud.

Step three: act on evidence.

Thanks to reporting from your Point of sale software you ought to gain a good understanding of the scope of theft in your retail business. Embrace this information for the benefit of the business and all who rely on it, make decisions.

If stock is being stolen off the shop floor, understand which stock is affected and either increase security or move the stock to a better location. The more likely someone stealing feels they could be caught the lower the chance they will actually steal from the business.

If employees are taking even small amounts of cash from the business, act immediately within the law to protect the business. This removes the problem from the business and it sends a message to others in the business that you will act on evidence of theft.

Use your Point of Sale software to its fullest to help cut the cost of theft in your business. Imagine how much better off the business would be with an additional three percentage points of net profit. That is your motivator – a healthier profit for the business and therefore a more sustainable business.

Cutting employee and customer theft can be achieved. Us your Point of Sale system to understand the problem and then help manage it.