What Retailers Need to Know: Shoplifting 101

In 2016, the average inventory shrink rate increased to 1.44 percent. According to the National Retail Security Survey 2017, shoplifting by outside customers accounted for 37% retail inventory loss, followed by 30% in employee theft, 21% in administrative errors and 5% in vendor fraud. Together this loss accounted for $48.9 billion worth of inventory.

There are Many Ways of Controlling Shrink

Detecting and preventing shoplifting is an important part of any retail establishment. Whether caused by internal or external causes, controlling shrink is one of the most significant factors in controlling expenses. To do this, retailers have several options including employee training, auditing, loss prevention personnel, and loss prevention technologies.

Different Approaches to Address the Problem

Different establishments approach loss prevention differently, largely guided by budget and philosophy. The main focus could be deterrence, detection, or apprehension, and depending on the retailer’s philosophy, the loss prevention strategies utilized and policies instituted will reflect that philosophy.

Cost Effective Loss Prevention Technologies

Loss prevention technologies address every aspect of shrink, from deterrence to detection, and ultimately apprehension. Some of the most cost-effective strategies include CCTV and video surveillance, business intelligence software, and ScanCam. ScanCams helps prevent employee-caused shrink such as barcodes not registering, or making up fraudulent returns.

Quick Tips for Shoplifting Prevention

  • Use video surveillance and CCTV. Visible security deters crime.
  • Greet customers as soon as they enter the store to remove anonymity.
  • Watch for customers who avoid eye contact, seem nervous, wander the store, linger, or exhibit suspicious behavior.
  • Encourage employees to walk the store and talk to customers.
  • Keep the store clean and organized to maintain visibility.
  • Keep commonly stolen items in plain view.
  • Do not under-staff.
  • Eliminate employee distractions.
  • Post warnings in dressing rooms or bathrooms.

Stopping a Patron

Shoplifting laws allow retailers to stop and detain a person who has stolen merchandise. To do this properly in a way that can lead to prosecution requires following proper protocol.

  1. The employee must see the customer enter the area where the subject item is displayed.
  2. The employee must see the customer select and pick up the item.
  3. The customer must see the customer conceal, carry, push or pull the item from its location.
  4. The employee must maintain uninterrupted observation of the customer from the original location of the item to the point of detention.
  5. The employee must see that the patron failed to pay for the item.
  6. The shoplifter must be approached outside the store or after the last point of sale.

By properly addressing shoplifting with the right tools and strategies, a retailer can effectively reduce shrink. S-Tron has over 20 years of uncompromising experience in helping retail establishments reach their security goals.

Retail CCTV Business Analytics Matter. Here’s Why.

Over the last decade, the retail industry has experienced a transformation. As consumers spent more dollars shopping over the internet, traditional brick and mortar stores had to reevaluate their strategies and direct their focus on customer experience, store operations, and improved efficiencies in addition to loss prevention. It is a subtle shift with giant implications.
Traditionally, retailers have used CCTV and video surveillance primarily for physical security and loss prevention. Now, with the availability of high-powered computing platforms and advanced analytic algorithms CCTV and video surveillance help retailers make informed decisions that provide a competitive edge.

What Else Can Business Intelligence Do?
Loss prevention is a huge part of retail video surveillance, but retailers can get much more out of their investment—business intelligence. Business intelligence provides the insights retailers need to enhance sales and profit margins that affect the overall bottom-line.

Enhanced Customer Experience

Until recently, retailers had to rely on learning customer shopping trends through loyalty cards and POS transactions. While it did provide information on end-result shopping trends, it did not provide information about demographics, in-store behavior, or customer experience. Business analytics show how long customers spent in the store, what displays made the most impact, how long they waited in line, and whether or not the experience was positive. Knowing these things can help a retailer make better decisions in the moment and adjust strategies in real time.

Better Performance

Leveraging business intelligence provides key performance metrics so retailers can identify trends, or problems. They can also use the data to help compensate and incentivize performance.

Optimize the Workforce

One of the biggest costs in retail is staff. Staffing is also one of the most difficult aspects to manage. Overstaffing increases operational costs and understaffing can mean poor operations, dissatisfied customers, and ultimately- lost sales. By having a full view, and detailed analytics, business owners and managers can monitor shopper traffic and customer behavior to make better operational decisions for scheduling and staffing needs.

More Effective Merchandizing

Whether it is the right product, wrong placement or an altogether flop of a product, video business intelligence gives retailers an immediate understanding of customer behavior. The right information provided in the right time can make a dramatic improvement in sales.

Better Store Layouts

Comprehensive data about in-store movement patterns quickly reveal areas of bottleneck, hot spots, and areas that are infrequently visited. With this information, retailers can modify the store layout to better accommodate the shopper and drive shoppers through the store and to areas they might not have otherwise visited.

Today’s retail environment is competitive and leaves little room for error. Business analytics help retailers meet customer needs by zeroing in on customer experience and convenience—and drive sales. S-TRON specializes in retail loss prevention, CCTV and business intelligence and understands the needs of the retail business.

Why Should a Business Owner Opt in to Professional CCTV Systems vs Big Box DIY?

The integration of security technology into the business landscape has grown so quickly that it has become commonplace. Whereas once business owners debated whether or not to use security cameras and wondered if it could have a negative impact on their business, now CCTV security camera systems have become standard security equipment for businesses of any size in every industry. With the wide availability of DIY security options, the new question becomes, “Why should a business owner choose professionally installed CCTV systems over a DIY option?” There are some important answers.

There is a Difference in Equipment Offerings

Just like with any technology, there is a wide range of prices, quality, features, and operability between any given product type. Those differences are not necessarily apparent at first glance but become so while in practical use. There is a vast difference in security camera CCTV systems made for the professional market from those made for the commercial consumer market. Those differences can be critical when it is time to capture a crime on video and use the images in court.

Placement is a Science

Camera placement is tough. It takes an understanding of how to capture images in any given space as well as a vast knowledge of the capabilities of many different brands and types of cameras. I a commercial and business environment, it is essential to cover as much space as possible and use the correct cameras to cover critical areas, such as POS.

CCTV Systems are not One-size-Fits-All

Every business facility has a unique layout and orientation with different lighting issues. It is impossible to meet all of the needs and requirements of a business with a general DIY system or without a high level of knowledge and specificity.

They Must be Installed, and Integrated

Every CCTV surveillance system must be installed and should be integrated with the rest of your security and automation system. This means understanding system requirements, compatibility and capability issues—all of which impact the system wide functionality.

DIY Does Not mean Budget Friendly

One of the main reasons businesses consider a DIY system is price, thinking that the initial cost is much lower. In some cases, this can be true—initially. Keeping in mind the difference in equipment quality, DIY systems might have a lower initial cost in equipment, but that’s where it stops. The true cost comes in the time and effort involved in installation, integration, maintenance and all too soon, replacement. Even worse, poor quality images or not having covered an area where a crime occurred can also end up being quite costly in court.
Big box does not mean big savings or quality. When it comes to something as important as commercial security, it saves time and money doing it right the first time. S-TRON is an electronic security integrator for national and regional retail and hospitality companies, serving specialized needs with just as specialized solutions.

Retail Loss Prevention: 5 Ways to Maximize CCTV Systems

Retail theft, whether it is due to shoplifting or employee theft, is one of the biggest factors negatively impacting the profitability of any retail establishment. No matter how secure a store may be, there are always ways to improve security. One of the best ways to do that is to ensure that you are maximizing your video surveillance and CCTV system to its full effectiveness.

A retail video surveillance and CCTV system is an essential part of any loss prevention strategy. Here are a few simple but critical ways you can maximize your system and reduce theft.

Prioritize Your Cameras

Most facilities do not have a surveillance system that covers every inch of the facility. There are many common reasons for this, including unique and challenging store lay out, physical obstructions, and budgetary issues. Take a close and critical look at the business layout and processes and prioritize what needs to be covered, then implement the security camera coverage accordingly.

Position Your Cameras Wisely

Often, a business owner will have an idea of the area that needs to be covered, but fails to consider the conditions under which it would be recording as well as the capabilities of the camera. Video surveillance camera placement is not just about the optimal angle, it is also about optimally using the camera’s features and capabilities within the given environment.

Maximize Your CCTV System with the Right Cameras

Consider the true needs of each area of coverage, and then match the type of camera to the need. In many cases, a facility does not need more cameras. It just needs the right kind for the application, whether you need to cover POS in fine detail or a way to better capture images over a wider space in challenging lighting.

Consider a CCTV System Upgrade

If you have had your CCTV system a while, consider investigating what options are available today. As security technology advances quickly, upgrading can have significant value to the business in many ways, in addition to loss prevention. The cost of upgrades is minimal compared to the added value.

Integrate Business Data with Video Surveillance

One of the most valuable ways to maximize your CCTV system is to integrate it with business intelligence. The insights provide a more in-depth view of the business so that you can stop loss, reduce shrinkage and improve processes. The insights you gain are immediate and actionable and the results are powerful.

Installing, upgrading, or integrating your retail CCTV system can foster profitability and peace of mind. Established in 1995 and headquartered in Melville, NY, S-TRON serves thousands of retail locations with distinction.

If You Use Surveillance Technology Just for Security…

Nobody likes to miss out, miss the mark, or fail to execute well, but in retail it happens- a lot. This is especially true when it comes to retail video surveillance systems. If you own a retail business and utilize security cameras purely for security purposes, you are missing out on using it to help your business reach its full potential.

The good news is, it is easy to turn that around.

Yes, Protecting Assets is Important

Having security cameras deters crimes like shoplifting and employee theft. These crimes account for significant retail loss, more than 1.38 percent of retail sales, so it’s understandable that it is a large focus of retail security. Every retailer should be concerned about protecting their assets. Skimming, employee theft, and shoplifting can all be minimized with loss prevention tools such as video surveillance.

A Key Component of Growth

Your surveillance system not only helps prevent loss, it is a critical tool in business growth. With video analytics, retailers have all they need to deliver more value, increase revenue, and create a better customer experience.

Harnessing the Power of Data Analytics

Retail data analytics provides a large amount of data that translates into a wealth of meaningful insights about things like customer count and behavior, employee interactions and productivity, in-store impressions, heat mapping and more.

Real Information Leads to Real Growth

Video analytics provides actionable insights that can help improve in-store performance. With real-time information, you can optimize product placement, compare product placement, monitor promotions, measure customer traffic and dwell times, and measure impressions for promotions among many other information responses.

Optimize Store Efficiency

One of the highest costs for retailers is staffing. It is a huge balancing act to provide enough staff, at the right times. Both overstaffing and understaffing can have huge consequence on the performance of the store and its revenue.

Having access to on-demand and real-time video delivers a clear picture of what is happening in a store so that you can make changes that make sense for the business. For example, it may not be that you need an increased number of employees during certain times of the day, but need a better system of handling the increased traffic. Insight might reveal a need to provide better training for increased productivity. It might even reveal a secret gem of an employee that would be better in a position of leadership.

Lower Total Cost of Ownership

A video surveillance system is an investment, but it is technology well worth the cost. When a retailer reviews how they use the system, and uses it beyond pure security and for improving overall operations, not only does it justify the modest expense, it lowers total cost of ownership.

S-TRON has over 20 years of uncompromising quality and service—from record response times to industry focus, S-TRON beats the competition.