Customers of retail businesses steal. Not all of them, not even 10% of them. But those who steal can cost the business a lot of money and time.

Customer theft in retail is something to be managed, for the protection and benefit of the business.

Managing customer theft is important for any retail business. Not only does it save cash for the business but it also helps you improve your management of stock.

Knowing what is being stolen and how often is the important first step.

The best way to know the cost of theft is through regular spot stock takes. Good point of sale software can help you do this in a fraction of time that a manual stock take would take.

Other ways smart Point of Sale software can help you cut the cost of customer theft are:

  1. Scanning what you sell. It can be surprising what you discover when you handle items being purchased by customers – some items fall out or you find that barcodes have been moved. Touching stock at the sales counter can provide a valuable check for the business.
  2. Blocking fraudulent refund requests. It is each to check when an item was sold and thereby catch out anyone wanting a refund or a credit for something they did not buy and for which they do not have a receipt.
  3. Stopping unwarranted discounts. Good POS software will block discounts which are outside the rules you establish for the business.
  4. Seeing theft live. If you have items which are regularly returned to suppliers, POS software can let you know what you should have in stock and this allows you to quickly check against your real situation.
  5. Tracking everything that moves. Scanning everything you sell lets you know what you should have in stock at any point in time. This makes checking movements easy and helps your staff become more vigilant against theft.
  6. Spot stock takes. In a few minutes you can could a section of the shop, upload this to your system and get a report of real stock counts versus what should be there. Knowing the areas which are being hit can help a business better focus resources.

The keys to cutting customer theft are to understand what is happening and to have strong processes in place to reduce this. Once you, your employees and your customers understand zero tolerance, theft will fall.

Tower Systems offers small business retailers a range of advice, support and POS software facilities to reduce the cost of theft in retail.