Australian retailers need to re-think their approach to shrinkage and develop a holistic “detect and deter” philosophy to store security.
While many retailers have embraced a combination of electronic surveillance and loss prevention strategies, new research from the United States suggests businesses underestimate the value of interior design.
Retail businesses that take a one-or-two-dimensional view of security are failing to effectively combat shrinkage in Australia, according to the General Manager for ADT Security, Mark Norton.
“Undoubtedly the biggest security issue all retailers have in common is preventing shrinkage, but many retail businesses aren’t making best use of their existing systems to detect and deter thieves,” said Norton.
“It isn’t enough to just monitor your store, such as with electronic surveillance and loss prevention personnel. Your security systems should interact with the store environment itself, and vice-versa.
“For example, making sure your CCTV cameras are prominently mounted with a wide, un-obstructed view of the area they monitor means they’ll be more effective – both in detecting shoplifters and deterring them,” said Norton.
Alarmingly for retailers, Australian research from Charles Sturt University suggests that employee theft is a significant part of the overall shrinkage losses of a retail store and may be as high as 41% of total loss.
“Preventing shrinkage doesn’t stop on the shop floor. It’s a mindset that the whole business must reflect, and this is best achieved by removing opportunity for thieves,” said Norton.
“Think about your existing security measures and the kinds of things thieves look for, specifically blind spots or areas where they’re least likely to be caught.
“All cameras and all personnel have blind spots. Talk to a security expert about minimising these, then look at the layout of your store and see if that helps or hinders the effectiveness of your security measures. This could include limiting point-of-sale materials to certain sizes or locations to ensure your CCTV system has a clear field of view.
“Apply the same principles to security in staff-only areas as you would to the rest of the store. Keep stock under surveillance and consider whether source tagging such as RFID is appropriate for your products.
“Last-line solutions such as electronic article surveillance are invaluable, but again will work best if retailers limit the opportunities for thieves overall,” said Norton.