Retail businesses range in size from simple sole trader corner shops to small and medium sized supermarkets with 5-10 staff all the way to Mega Supermarkets and Plazas with large numbers of staff.
They all have a single focus, to make profit through the sale of fast moving consumer goods FCMGs, these business form a very important niche in the economy and community at large.
Therefore the security of this type of business should be a cornerstone priority of any current or potential business owner in this space. This is particularly important as such businesses have narrow profit margins per item and preventing loss is achieved mainly by securing the goods appropriately.
Top 5 Security Challenges of Retail Goods Businesses
We have through extensive research come up with this list of the most commonly encountered security challenges in the retail sales business, the list is however not exhaustive.
Shoplifting is the criminal act of knowingly taking goods from an establishment where they are displayed for sale without paying for them. This is usually achieved through concealment of the goods on oneself or on a 3rd party that raises minimum suspicion such as a baby, child or an elderly person.
Such individuals are usually repeat offenders with past experience and in-depth knowledge on how to survey for vulnerabilities, identify dark spots, cause distraction, mislead through complaints, questions or arguments. They know how to dress conservatively to attract attention but can easily hide goods in trousers, under large garments, in hidden pockets etc
This also involves taking goods from and establishment where they are sold or utilised without the intention to pay for them. However pilferage is exclusively perpetrated by internal players in the establishment who have backend access to valuable items.
Any member and level of staff has the potential to pilfer items and as such stringent measures must be put in place to prevent it. Such measures are centred around strict access control, real time/ regular stock taking, routine search and frisk policies and strict deterrent measures.
This involves break-in and entry into the establishment by individual(s) with the criminal intent to cart away valuable items and cash.
Burglars usually have sufficient knowledge of their target either through detailed surveys or insider information and cost burglaries are planned attacks.
All potential points of access must be sufficiently barricaded effective measures include electric fencing, concertina wires, fortified doors, burglary proofed windows and even ceilings, manned guarding.
Every goods retail service exists to service of the public and their continued patronage is essential if the business is to succeed. However satisfying all members of the public is always a challenge.
This can be resolved by a clearly visible resolution policy on issues that commonly bring discord such as damaged goods, failed payments, goods return or NO-RETURN policy.
It is also important that all staff especially the cashiers, floor supervisors and managers be adequately trained and guided on conflict and dispute resolution strategies. THE CUSTOMER IS KING.
However is some cases some individuals resort to violence which is unacceptable for personal safety of staff and other customers and must be swiftly dealt with. The presence of adequate proportional security measures are therefore compulsory.
Arson and Fire outbreak
Fire is possibly the single most destructive force any single business premises can encounter as it leads to damage and loss of property and possibly lives. The damage done maybe irrecoverable if adequate measures were not put in place to prevent the fire in the first place.
The source of the fire is usually detectable upon investigation by trained fire experts. It is not unheard of that the fire is deliberately started, possibly by a mischievous customer or even staff, in this case it is considered a criminal offence and is termed ARSON.
Whatever the source of the fire maybe, adequate fire fighting measures on ground go a long way in preventing a fire from spreading and causing damage, some of which include, fire fighting equipment such as fire alarms, water sprinklers, smoke detectors, sufficient quantities of fire extinguishers etc. It is also very important that staff be trained on hazardous and flammable materials, basic firefighting, and evacuation procedures amongst others.
It goes without saying that any such establishment must have an extensive insurance policy that covers arson and fire outbreak.
This list is not exhaustive of the challenges supermarkets face in their businesses, however the good news is that there are some general measures which have proven universally effective in reducing exposure to these challenges. They include:
- Installation of CCTV cameras in all areas of the premises.
- Ensuring efficient access control in all areas of the facility.
- Clear protocols on carrying of bags and personal items into the workplace as well as routine search and frisk.
- Burglary proofing of the premises from the gates to the windows, doors, storage areas and saferooms (The supermarket is never a good place for storing cash after sales).
- Ensure all relevant insurance covers are gotten to protect your interest.
- Regular training of staff.
- Engaging the service of an experienced security company like Sheriff Deputies will go a long way in mitigating your risk. They can provide an initial assessment of any vulnerabilities and make recommendations of measures ideal for the security of your business. Furthermore having security guards is a single solution that can provide all the above measures on demand.