Shrinkage in business is predominantly made up from theft and it is this aspect of shrink which causes the most issues for small businesses. Other types of shrinkage such as damage and human error when it comes to booking in deliveries or counting stock only counts for a small part of overall shrinkage and small businesses who are focussed on the bottom line should be tackling theft head on.
Last week I was working with some stores inside a shopping centre in Charlotte who were worried about exposure of their products, I was with my colleague John Bradberry news got around pretty quickly that we were about and before we knew it we had many store owners asking us for help, highlighting the size of the problem. If you are worried about this kind of retail theft and want to reduce it, here are some tips which I offered the store owners.
Before you focus on reducing theft it is important that you first work out what is being stolen and when. In order to understand this you need to carry out regular stock counts on your goods, especially your high value products. Thieves will more often than not target particular items to steal rather than randomly taking what they can and in understanding what is being stolen, you can help to reduce it.
Managing High Risk Products
Once you understand what is being stolen you can start taking action and move the items that are high risk into more secure areas, inside cabinets or even add alarms and security stickers to help reduce the risk of theft. Keeping high value products in a plain view can also help to ward off shoplifters as they are less likely to steal or smuggle something when it in such an open area.
Your employees need to be fully on board with you in terms of tackling theft and it is your responsibility to train them for what to watch out for during their shift. In fact one of your best defences against theft is excellent customer service, generally speaking thieves want to go about their business without any interruptions and the last thing that they want is someone speaking to them and asking what it was that they were looking for. Great customer service can not only impress your customers, it can also help to reduce theft.
It is also vital that you actually have enough employees to man the store, if there is an influx of customers and you only have one person on the shop floor, you are simply asking for thieves to come in and take advantage. Make sure that you staff your store properly in order to give the best service, and deter theft.
Investing in items such as cameras and alarm systems is absolutely worth it as a small business and whilst this may cost you a lot of money in terms of initial outlay, it will save you a great amount of money in the long term.