Theft will always be a part of operational costs for in-store retail. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it. Look at these 10 tips to boost your loss prevention strategy to its highest potential.

1. Be Aware of the Different Types of Loss

Your first thought when it comes to loss is probably shoplifters sneaking items out of their pockets or customers making bogus returns. Those are some of the prime culprits of failure, but remember that you may also come up against employees who shoplift, take from the cash register, or undercharge friends. And vendors may short-change you with low inventory or low-quality products. Being prepared for the different kinds of loss you may face will help you plan to prevent it and recognise the behaviour to stop it if it does occur.

2. Install Visible Security Cameras

Security cameras are an excellent tool for monitoring and preventing illegal activity and seeking justice after a crime has occurred. But the presence of a security camera alone is enough to deter many would-be crimes. Ensure your security cameras are noticeable and include signage warning that the area is under video surveillance in your retail space.

3. Lock Up Items of Value

You may have heard the adage, “locks only keep the honest people out.” Someone determined to steal can indeed find ways around your loss prevention measures. But you can certainly slow criminals down long enough for them to be thwarted, or unmotivated enough to not bother trying in the first place.

4. Pay and Treat Employees Well

Why do people steal in the first place? Unfortunately, people often turn to theft because they have no other means. 1 in 3 mothers has to forgo basics to afford diapers. This accounts for the frequency with which this item gets swiped from stores. While this might be a broader issue than you can solve on your own, you can pitch in by making sure your employees can live comfortably off what you’re paying them. Even if you believe they can get by well on the salary you’re currently paying, consider how your employees feel about their wages. And beyond payment, do your employees feel respected? Do they have a good work/life balance? Employees who feel appreciated show respect and loyalty to their employers and stay with the company longer than employees who resent their treatment at work.

5. Outsource Your Accounting

Many online bookkeeping services are available, and you may want to consider using one as part of your loss prevention strategy. They can provide a second opinion to double-check any inconsistencies with your records. Plus, it’s best to have at least two people handling accounting to deter fraudulent bookkeeping.

6. Check IDs

With employees and security cameras placed strategically throughout your space to help visually identify problematic individuals, consider asking customers for their IDs. This can be a routine part of your return process. This way, employees can note if questionable or overly frequent returns are coming from the same individuals. For high-ticket-price items, you can require that customers provide an ID before trying the thing out, such as with cars or jewellery.

7. Record Losses with Case Management Software

Keeping track of your losses will give you insight into your loss patterns. Loss prevention software can analyse your operation’s weaknesses and provide suggestions for strengthening your loss prevention strategy based on your record.

8. Set Up Your Store’s Layout for Loss Prevention

There’s a reason cash registers are always near the door! Just like the presence of a surveillance camera deters theft, an employee near the exit prevents a lot of potential shoplifting. At a minimum, an employee near the door can recognise who’s running out without paying so that you may bar that person from entering your retail space in the future. Depending on the size of your area, you may want to ensure multiple employees, such as greeters are set up throughout your store to prevent theft.

9. Schedule Shifts Wisely

In addition to having multiple, well-placed employees to prevent shoplifting out on the floor, ensure you have numerous employees working together so they can hold each other accountable. If you recall item number four, employees will not want to see coworkers take advantage of a company they value working for. More than one employee on a shift prevents internal theft, and it’s also of the utmost importance to have at least two employees counting registers at the end of changes.

10. Hire Security Personnel

Many stores hire dedicated or multiple employees to guard their retail spaces, including 24-hour security guards. Even with cashiers and greeters at the front, your store’s foot traffic or the value of your merchandise may require exceptional help from security experts. Security guards are trained and prepared for how to act during thefts. A regular cashier or manager may not know what to do when a high-pressure situation arises, and they might not be mentally prepared for unique scenarios, either. A security guard can make a space safer for everyone present. If you go this route, make sure you hire from a security company with a proven track record in loss prevention expertise.

Loss prevention will always need to be a top consideration for any retail space. But it doesn’t have to ruin your bottom line or become a headache. Implementing any of these 10 strategies can start making your business more profitable.