Successful retail establishments are always seeking out new and creative methods for increasing sales. Less exciting, yet equally important, is reducing losses. According to the 2017 National Retail Security Survey, US retailers lost over $48 billion in inventory in 2016. This doesn’t even account for other kinds of unnecessary expenditures, which could amount to billions more.
There are people out there who are creative pioneers in the field of loss prevention. Then there are the rest of us. But luckily for us, there are plenty of tried-and-true methods that have been shown time and again to cut back on losses, especially losses resulting from fraud and theft. At the very top of this list are security cameras.
Over a third of this loss was due to shoplifting. Properly positioned security cameras focused on hidden or secluded areas as well as critical displays can help you and your employees catch shoplifters in the act. While it’s always best to arrange retail spaces so that employees have direct lines of sight to as many areas as possible, there will always be spaces that no mirror or shifting of displays can adequately manage. It’s in these spaces that security cameras function as an additional non-intrusive member of your security team, an extra set of eyes for the out-of-the-way corners that shoplifters often target.
Additionally, cameras can also help your team and law enforcement to identify shoplifters after a crime has occurred. Entrances and points of sale are key locations for capturing faces, clothing, and build. And of course, the obvious placement of security cameras serves as a deterrent to potential thieves. This requires that security cameras are visibly functional and well-maintained. Nothing says “this is an easy place to steal from” like a security camera that is broken or vandalized.
Even the best, most honest employees need a degree of supervision. When mistakes are made (as they invariably are when dealing with human beings), security cameras can empower managers to go back over footage with the employee in question, pointing out where the error was made and correcting the behavior. They can also reveal those excellent employees who go the extra mile, but who are quieter about it and don’t feel comfortable bragging to superiors about their efforts. Training and retaining good employees not only saves money in the long run but attracts dedicated customers.
And of course, security cameras can also help to find the worst in employees, whether it’s slacking off (leading to unnecessary labor costs and possibly overtime) or outright theft. Unfortunately, employee theft is a major issue not only in retail businesses but in any organization. Security cameras at points of sale are critical in this area. Video showing employees’ cash-handling can reduce that particular temptation, and most cases of employee theft in the US involve direct theft of funds.
Accusations made against your business or employees need to be dealt with swiftly and with the utmost honesty, and nothing helps to uncover the truth like video feed of an incident. Security footage can show whether a customer’s complaint of rude or inadequate service was justified, leading to the most appropriate response. It can also be used as documentation in the event of a workers’ compensation claim.
Knowing that security footage is available can help victims of sexual harassment or assault to find the courage report the incident both to management and to law enforcement, and also to prosecute anyone who has done harm to either employees or customers on site. Needless to say, security cameras also provide protection in the case that a fraudulent report of injury or misbehavior is made.
When you put so much of your time, effort, and money into your business, it’s natural to want to do whatever it takes to protect it from harm. Nobody can be around to keep an eye on their business 24 hours a day. But when you combine responsible and observant staff with a simple solution like security cameras, it’s possible to rest easy, knowing that you don’t have to.
This article was contributed by Streamline Telecom, an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) contractor and integrator based in New York City