We know from the news that retail theft has increased. Shoplifting, stealing, retail theft, call it what o=you like, has a financial cost as well as an emotional cost. It can debilitate business owners, managers and team members, multiplying the total cost to the business.
Employee theft is easier to uncover, track and address than shopper theft.
Good POS software will offer proven tools for indicating potential employee theft and do this in a way that empowers business owners to act before the cost to the business is out of control.
The challenge is that many small business retail owners and managers do not use theft discovery and mitigation tools in POS software. We know because our Tower Systems POS software is well resourced in theft detection and mitigation and too often in talking with customers it is discovered later rather than earlier.
Our advice for retailers on employee theft is to use your software, check regularly, act on the indicators to see if there is something concerning there. In our case here at Tower systems – call or email – one of our senior theft mitigation specialists will help. These are people who have worked with the police and insurance companies on such situations. They will Bring that experience to the table for you.
Shopper theft, shoplifting, stealing of products is best discovered by a regular process of what we call spot stock takes. Choose several high interest product categories and every week check stock on hand. This will indicate if there is an issue. If there is not, choose another.
Having a consistent approach to spot stock takes if key to the discovery point of shoplifting.
The best deterrent is your action. Here is our advice to be known as a shop not worth stealing from:
- Greet people when they enter the shop. Them seeing you see them, eye to eye, will deter some people planning to steal.
- Have systems to collect evidence: CCTV and, when appropriate, matching POS software data.
- Always report people caught to the police.
- Write about reporting it to the police on social media.
- If you have camera evidence of theft but no knowledge of the name, use the photo to try and figure out the identity.
If the problem in your shop is serious and at a point where it is distressing you, consider bringing in a uniformed security guard for a week or two. While there is a cost with that, it makes a physical statement about your approach to the security of your space.
Complaining about theft is not action.
Catching someone and getting your goods back is inadequate action.
Not acting on a hunch because of a fear for what you might discover is not action.
Theft requires action. Typically in local small business retail it is costing the business somewhere between 3% and 5% of turnover. In our experience, retailers trend to not act because they are not sure where to start.
Here at Tower Systems we offer guidance to retail business owners on what to do, actions to take, processes to establish to at least get a handle on what might be happening. That is the best place to start if the business has not been acting consistently up to that point.