The challenging retail environment these days offers a lot of problems for retailers. Inventory loss, particularly because of retail theft, is one concrete example. Every year, small and big retailers lose big parts of the inventory because of theft. Retail theft can happen at any point from consignment to its arrival at your warehouse. Most retailers usually discover theft once they count their inventory. So perhaps the best to minimize this problem is to frequently count your inventory. This way, any discrepancies in the book and actual inventory can be identified quickly.
- Count your inventory. Stocks should not move in or out during a full inventory count. If this is your first time to do it, it might help to shut down the operations for a day or two so you can fully count your inventory. You can count portions of the warehouse one at a time. Focus on counting stocks that move more often, and less often for those that do not move as much.
- Adopt an inventory management software. Stock reconciliation can keep your inventory accurate, but complementing it with an inventory management software ensures utmost accuracy. After inputting your initial stock values, there is zero human error. Regular and frequent counting by batch can help consolidate the book and values and identify theft during its initial stages.
- Install security signs and mirrors. Install signs at appropriate points in the store, particularly in areas where you think a shoplifter would go. Signs explicitly mentioning legal implications for shoplifters can also help should there be any legal trouble. Security mirrors are a great addition in secluded parts of the store, giving you visibility of any shady activity. Plus, they are inexpensive to install.
- Set up security cameras and software. If you have a small budget, fake security cameras should do the trick. These are enough to give customers and employees the impression that they are being watched. But if you can, invest in actual surveillance cameras in your store so you can constantly monitor store activity and view recordings to check for theft if there is a need to. Video analytics software is an expensive but worthwhile investment.
- Use RFID tags. RFID (radio frequency identification) tags are pin-tags or stickers that are attached to products. Affixing them on an item right after manufacturing allows you to track the item’s position at all stages of the supply chain. These tags also help with theft and misplacement. A customer who leaves the store with an item that still has the RFID tag triggers an alarm near the door, alerting your staff.
- Hire a security agency. Employ a well-established security company to get a security guard for your store. These agencies have done the necessary background checks prior to hiring people in their company. Depending on your specific need, you can hire a full-time or an on-demand security guard.
- Set up user permissions. POS systems come with user permission options that allow you to control access to confidential tasks and information. This is an effective way to prevent employees from accessing functions that can lead to stock theft. Also, be extra careful with granting permission to void sales; doing so to the wrong people makes it easy to steal stock.
- Manage your inventory properly. Having good control over your inventory helps avoid unchecked discrepancies and prevent stock items from going missing. Quality inventory management software can help you keep track your stocks in real time, and fix discrepancies as soon as possible.
Theft is an unfortunate part of the retail industry that can cause your business to incur big losses when not taken care of. With the tips above, you can take steps to prevent it in your business. Whether you intend to rely on your attentive staff or use high-tech solutions, you can work to prevent and hopefully stop it.