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Retail theft: assessing the threat and proactive steps for safeguarding your store

Blog
Date: Jan 23 2024
Read Time: 4 minutes

Most of 2023 was fraught with news about how there’s been a dramatic uptick in shoplifting. Major retailers like Walmart reported plans to add a police station inside of an Atlanta location, while Target announced it will be closing nearly 10 stores due to theft. As the year wound down and the data became clearer, some major reporting agencies like Forbes and CNN are challenging the idea that thieves have been running rampant. There’s truth in numbers, but are you getting the entire picture? Should you be worried about your business? Here’s a closer look so you can gain more insight and ultimately decide which security measures work for you.  

So, is theft really on the rise? Well, it’s not that simple. 

Retail theft is indeed up roughly 19% – the NRF estimates $112.1 billion in shrink in 2022 compared to $93.9 billion in 2021. It’s widely reported that all the loss was attributed to external theft, some retailers claiming that organized retail crime is out of control, but “retail theft” is a large umbrella that can encompass many things including, internal theft due to a lack of access control and more.  

Retail theft doesn’t just impact business owners, it affects the most important asset of all – the consumer. To combat theft, many retailers are implementing security measures that restrict popular items behind lock and key. When customers enter a store where many of the products are safeguarded, they often feel unsafe shopping or become frustrated by extended wait times to unlock merchandise.  

How do you keep your merchandise available to customers and safe from sticky fingers?  

The best defense is a great offense. Loss prevention starts with solid anti-theft strategies. Thankfully, security devices are advancing just like the products they’re meant to protect. Here are some security measures you can employ to quell theft and keep customers shopping in the process.  

Here’s what you can do.
Control access. 

Considering employee or internal theft accounts for nearly 1/3 of retail shrink, asset protection should start from the inside out with access control. Whether you have small, everyday items that are easy to conceal, or expensive electronics behind lock and key, it pays to have a single-key system where you can track what your employees are unlocking and when.   

With our OneKEY system you can unlock all your displays and merchandise with a single key—powered by IR technology—that employees can access with a unique PIN for their shift. Mechanical keys are often lost, and they don’t leave a trail of what’s happening within your store. Even better, if a key is lost it will time out automatically so it can’t be used by an unauthorized person. It’s not just protection for you, but also for your staff. It limits human error and means customers receive faster service.  

Determine the level of security you need. 

When determining the right level of security that best suits your needs, here are a few questions to be mindful of; What industry are you in? What items do you sell? Are you located in a high-crime area? Do you want analytics of how your customers shop? How many employees do you have? With the answers to these questions, our team can help walk you through the best solutions regardless of budget or scale.  

Tailor the customer’s shopping experience. 

Different businesses require different levels of security, but one vital component remains constant and is often overlooked – product displays should always be inviting to customers and enhance the shopping experience. If security measures make it more difficult for customers to interact and evaluate your products, customers will look elsewhere with over 20% of shoppers either abandoning a purchase altogether or opting for an alternative.  

Versatile solutions like our Zips line of products for secure display allow you to secure and alarm nearly anything you can think of from power tools to Bluetooth speakers, all while keeping a clean aesthetic. Customers can interact with products, and as you change the store layout, sell products, remerchandise, or expand, Zips’ simple click-to-connect design scales with you to deter and prevent theft. 

Retail security trends are leaning towards incorporating AI and other software into your security. Because a selection of our products can give you actionable insights right from your phone or computer, you get to see how customers shop and use it to create better store layouts that put top-sellers front and center and promote better inventory management right from the start.  

Unfortunately, theft has been around since the beginning of time and isn’t going to go away – it’s just evolving.  Let us help you find the perfect solutions that strike the balance between security and customer experience so you can focus more on your customers and bottom line and worry less about theft.  

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