Building a Culture of Security in Retail

There are some important reasons why every retail business should consider improving their security posture. Retail establishments face huge security challenges today in ensuring the safety of their employees and customers, as well as in preventing loss and fraud. Retail environments are complex and include variables which make it difficult to protect their interests without building a business wide culture of security.

Security is much more than having video surveillance and cctv, access control and perimeter alarms. Here are some practical approaches to promoting a culture of security.

Develop Clear Processes and Procedures

Every job includes various processes and procedures. With in these procedures are opportunities to enforce security or cause lapses in security. Develop clear procedures for everything from when doors should be opened and who has access to certain areas, to POI procedures and make these guidelines available and enforced.

Implement Commercial Security Systems

Every commercial and retail business needs some form of electronic security. The needs may include such solutions as video surveillance, asset protection, or access control. Electronic security helps build and enforce the culture of security, as well as helps employees and customers feel secure.

Educate Employees on Safe Practices

Employees may indirectly or unintentionally create risk when they are either uninformed or misinformed about safety practices. Create a uniformed code of conduct so every member of the team has a ready reference of safety expectations.

Provide Safety Training for New Hires, Too

The vast majority of employees want to do the right thing so knowing what is right from the beginning sets the stage for success. Training that encompasses every aspect of daily operations helps to contribute to an organization’s safety culture.

Champion the Cause

Build a safety program which involves everyone from the top down and includes every aspect of your business from protecting customer information to preventing loss. When rules apply to and are abided by everyone at every level of management and throughout the organization, safety practices become part of the fabric of the business.

Conduct Regular Reviews

Once you have a blueprint for your security plan, conduct regular reviews of compliance and effectiveness. Conduct collaborative meetings with department heads to identify any problems and find solutions.

S-Tron  is a national security system integrator and specializes in retail loss prevention and commercial security systems. Contact us today for a complimentary evalaution of your retail security system.

The Essential Guide to Security for C-Store Franchises

Convenience stores have unique security needs because they’re open 24/7 and are largely cash-based businesses. One of the most significant security threats they face is robbery. Other crimes include shoplifting, internal theft, and fraud. These businesses are also different than other stores because they’re for quick shopping, and essentially one person can operate the whole store. One employee is convenient for shoppers but makes them an excellent target for criminals.

Traditional Convenience Stores vs Contemporary Convenience Store Operations

Convenience stores became more sophisticated in the 1970s. Previous stores were small, located in residential neighborhoods with a lot of people, and didn’t sell gas.

Security wasn’t a priority because the store hadn’t evolved into what it is today. It consisted of a floor safe, convex mirrors placed throughout the store, a hiding place under the counter for change such as a cigar box, and a manual cash register.

Today, most convenience stores sell gasoline, replaced food staples with high-profit snack food, have ATMs, sell large amounts of lottery tickets and phones cards, and have an enormous cash flow. They require a large fund for change to make it through one day. These changes have greatly increased security risks.

Over time security experts helped create programs that identified robbers and worked with law enforcement to get them arrested and off the street. A major study by the Western Behavioral Institute illustrated that robbers case stores and use a process to select stores to hit. Thieves looked at the money available, number of clerks working, escape routes, and witnesses to make their decisions. Making stores less attractive to criminals was a key solution.

Security Solutions for Today’s Convenience Stores

Managed video solutions address the many security threats that the modern convenience store faces. Video surveillance lets you watch all aspects of your business 24 hours a day. These solutions combine video and audio surveillance with vital POS data to create a fully integrated system that meets all of your security needs.

These systems provide real-time, actionable data that allows you to get a handle on internal crime as well as employee versus customer disputes. Video surveillance and panic alarms help protect employees and cover areas in the store, vulnerable to threats. They also provide valuable information to law enforcement to help identify suspects and investigate serious incidents.

The modern convenience store has evolved significantly from the mom and pop stores of the past. Advanced technology helps protect today’s convenience store’s assets and guards against a variety of crime in ways we never could before.

ABOUT S-TRON

S-TRON is an electronic security integrator for national and regional retailers with thousands of installation locations and headquarters in Melville, New York. S-TRON provides outstanding customer service for national retail, grocery stores, restaurants, and C-stores.

Taking Stock of Retail Security: A Quick Checklist

Developing security plans for retail businesses is challenging for retail loss prevention. Every business is unique. There are no one-size-fits all methods for securing multiple buildings, thousands of people, remote parking lots, open space, and more. Here’s a quick list to help you create a comprehensive security plan.

Common Retail Security Challenges

As retail complexes adopt multi-layered approaches to patrol and protection and implement the use of more equipment, loss prevention managers need help adjusting to new security methods. It’s also crucial to consider protective factors for people and environmental risks. Failure to can lead to catastrophic acts of violence with heavy human loss.

A security integrator makes an excellent partner when designing and implementing security plans. They approach the process with a fresh outlook and can identify problem areas easily overlooked by loss prevention employees.

Starting Your Plan

Your security integrator will start with a risk assessment of the retail complex to determine its strengths and weaknesses. This process can take several days because it’s very detail-oriented and the integrator evaluates everything. However, a risk assessment is vital to planning and significantly enhances the security of the retail area. Their findings provide a detailed map of current spending on security, and it can save money overall by focusing on the areas that need the most resources.

Retail Loss Prevention Risk Assessment Checklist

  • Lighting, landscaping, and fencing outside- Are there dark areas or places covered with shrubbery or trees that create an ideal environment for criminals to hide?
  • Assessing the surrounding area- Do nearby traffic patterns and businesses affect the retail area in question?
  • Electronic systems- Integration of access control, intrusion solutions, and video surveillance provides the ideal security system. These systems work well together to create a comprehensive security solution.
  • Procedures and policies- Where is the retail location most vulnerable, and what are imminent threats to security?

Use this checklist as a guide to evaluate your current security plan or create a new one so that it’s updated with the latest technological solutions. Be sure it takes into consideration any changes in the threat landscape.

ABOUT S-TRON

S-TRON is an electronic security integrator for national and regional retailers with thousands of installation locations and headquarters in Melville, New York. S-TRON provides outstanding customer service for national retail, grocery stores, restaurants, and C-stores.

Are You Using Security Technologies Just for Loss Prevention?

If you are using security technologies just to protect the business from loss or intrusion, you might want to think again. Asset protection (AP) and loss prevention (LP) are both critical to the retail environment but using security technologies to just address these things can cripple a business that could and should be thriving.

Security Technologies and the Silo Effect

The silo effect, where one application, technology solution, or department sands alone to deliver on their one task or purpose can get a job done; but it never becomes the vehicle of success. The success of today’s business is taking a 360-degree view of the business with no preconceived ideas and addressing those needs across the whole, rather than in segments.
In the retail environment, companies have been struggling to overcome service and data silos for decades. It is recognized as one of the most significant barriers to delivering a consistent end-to-end customer experience. And the problem isn’t going anywhere until businesses get a true outside-in view of the business and understand why customers react the way they do, and where processes need to be improved. Fortunately, there is a powerful solution in retail security and video surveillance solutions.

All of Your Tools for Collaboration

Security, merchandising, operations, management, and marketing are all enhanced with one suite of tools—that of security electronics. By integrating transaction data with other things such as traffic count, loss prevention video, heat mapping, directional analytics, and dwell times—all of your employees and process can work together and leverage common knowledge for collective success.

On the Shoulder of Giants

Every department has expert knowledge of their department, but that knowledge can greatly improve the processes in other departments. Security technologies can gain insights from all departments and help you use that across the entire business.
For example, heat mapping and loss prevention security video can show a department why they have unusually high loss, or unusually low sales. Both could be a simple fix such as moving a display to create a sightline or increased customer visibility. A business could learn that sales are lost because of long lines, or that loss increases when employees are tied up at the register and be able to address both problems with a better queuing system. Real time retail video surveillance footage can reveal problems with processes and productivity which could be addressed with better training and increased management awareness.

Educating Vendors

Having a wealth of definitive data also helps educate vendors. Hot and cold data, for example, is useful in showing vendors where their products perform best within the store—which helps improve vendor relation and increases sales.
The retail market is one in which video surveillance and other security technologies can deliver significant and tangible return on investment. As a national electronic security integrator for national and regional retail and hospitality companies, S-Tron brings together a highly skilled and experienced team with in-depth understanding of security technologies and how to leverage them beyond security.

With over 20 years of uncompromising quality, S-Tron’s singular goal is client satisfaction.

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.

S-TRON Security Earns 10-Year DMP Dealer Award

Digital Monitoring Products (DMP), one of our valuable manufacturing partners with whom we have a dealer direct relationship, has honored us with a 10-year dealer award. Our relationship with this manufacturer goes back to 2001, Becoming a Direct Dealer in 2008, and we love their incredible, American-made electronic security products.

DMP makes commercial-grade Intrusion, Access and Automation systems designed to provide the highest level of protection to properties of all types. This is to the distinct advantage of our customers in the retail, restaurant and grocery industries. We are proud to trust the security of our customers to these outstanding monitoring products, and honored to receive this recognition.

To discuss DMP products or any commercial security solutions, contact S-TRON Security today. We look forward to finding out how we can help you.

About S-TRON Security

Established in 1995 and headquartered in Melville, New York, S-TRON Security has served thousands of retail locations across the country with best in class equipment installations and ongoing service, maintenance and support. Our proven, time-tested process for delivery, installation and support saves our customers time, money and hassle. To discuss commercial security solutions for retail, restaurant or grocery facilities, call us at (877) 208-4039.

3 Critical Tips For Better Grocery Store Security

Grocery store owners want to run a business that is profitable, as well as one that it safe for both customers and employees. By nature, however, the retail grocery environment comes with its own set of unique risks. Grocery and convenience stores generate billions in revenue, employ millions of employees, sees an endless stream of customers and houses billions in products. All of these traits make it a vulnerable environment. Here are some critical tips for better grocery store security.

Understand Your Risks

Security is a huge challenge for most grocery stores. It is fast-moving, public, and filled with visual barriers. Crimes such as robbery, burglary, vandalism, and violence are growing increasingly common. Unfortunately, no store no matter the size or location is vulnerable. Understand your risks. Have a security evaluation of your facility,  and talk to local law enforcement about crimes common in the area. Talk to other businesses and find out what they face as security challenges and gather as much data as possible.

Develop a Security Management Plan

Don’t just call the security company and have them put up security cameras and access control systems and stop there. Have a systematic plan for your security that meets the needs you have discovered by investigating your risks further. Think about various scenarios and develop a security management plan for at least the most common or serious problems such as theft and violence. Once you have the plan and tools in place, make sure each employee knows the plan and can respond in an emergency.

Install the Right Electronic Security Solutions

A proper video surveillance and CCTV system is the most effective weapon in the grocery store owner’s arsenal but how well it serves them depends on getting the right system, and the right components in the right places. It is a complex science with endless variables, and something is best done by a professional. Here are some points to keep in mind as you consider grocery store security technologies.

  • Install wide viewing cameras on the ceiling and in corners to get a sweeping view of the area.
  • Opt into night vision security cameras for parking lots, loading areas, and around the outside of the building.
  • Cover POS and other sensitive areas with video surveillance.
  • Install at least one pan-tilt-zoom camera to have the best possible view and control.
  • Choose a smart security system that provides remote viewing and control.

Owning or operating a grocery or convenience store is challenging but the right security system can address many of those challenges. S-Tron helps retail businesses across the nation with a proven, time-tested for delivery, installation, and support.

ABOUT S-TRON

S-TRON offers an innovative suite of video surveillance products and professional installation for regional and national chains.  S-TRON is an electronic security integrator for national and regional retail and hospitality companies.

Established in 1995 and headquartered in Melville, NY, we have served thousands of retail locations across the country with best in class equipment installations and ongoing service, maintenance, and support. Our brand promise: “Service Excellence”.

8 Ways To Use Data Analytics to Improve Product Placement

Traditionally, the role of video surveillance in retail was primarily, and nearly exclusively in security. Since the rapid maturation of IP, video, and analytic technologies– that has changed dramatically. The increase in functionality and accessibility has proven to be a real boon to the retail industry and retailers are finding a multitude of beneficial uses for video surveillance analytics, one of the most powerful is in product placement and planning.

Use Video Surveillance Analytics and THRIVE

Retail business owners know the importance of proper product placement. In fact, product placement can make or break a business, retain or lose customers, and solidify relationships with product brands who want to see partners move merchandise. Until recently, businesses relied on current trends, historical sales trends, seasonal shopping patterns, and good old instinct to determine inventory levels and product placement. This, of course, could result in anything from a big win to a devastating fail. Today, video surveillance analytics provides retailers with a wealth of information that changes everything.

Small Changes Can Yield Reward

You’ve seen it. Small, seemingly negligible changes in product placement can reap huge gains. A shoe department of a large chain store saw as much when it was performing poorly. Data analytics revealed that the benches were too close to the wall for shoppers to try on shoes. Simply moving the benches allowed the department to perform far better. Without data analytics,  the store could have missed the problem altogether.

8 Ways To Use Data Analytics to Improve Product Placement

Using heat maps and dwell times can provide an enormous amount of information for improving product placement. Here are some examples.

  • Use popular products to shoppers toward lesser popular products.
  • Uncover flow and ease of movement. It is easy to unintentionally funnel traffic in a specific direction.
  • Measure the effectiveness of special promotions and displays.
  • Use flow of traffic and buyer habits to place products more efficiently.
  • Use heat mapping to direct shoppers to promotions.
  • Gather information to improve flow of traffic and make navigation intuitive.
  • Run A/B displays to discover what truly appeals to customers.
  • Analyze customer behavior to increase their  Units Per Transaction (UPT) rates

Once you know what works, it is easy to develop a repeatable plan for success. The ability to see real-time retail analytics also provides the opportunity to make changes immediately if something isn’t working which can save a campaign. Overall, video analytics give retailers the ability to analyze store traffic and product and merchandising success and use that information to make decisions that better fit the customer, and the business.

About S-TRON

Headquartered in Melville, New York, S-Tron is a national security systems integrator with local, professional service and installation. We serve the restaurant, hospitality, grocery, convenience store, and retail industries.

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.