How to increase physical security for your retail store

As more of us move our retail efforts online and spend more time and resources investing in cybersecurity, we can often overlook the importance of physical security. In times such as these, when so much is uncertain about the future and businesses are under greater levels of stress than perhaps ever before, having a reliable physical security strategy in place could mark the difference between your store surviving and thriving, or becoming just another statistic.

There are, however, different rules to consider when setting up a security system for your retail store. You are, after all, dealing with members of the general public, not just your own employees. As such, we’ve decided to focus this piece on a few of the ways you could be increasing security and reducing theft in your retail store, without upsetting your customers.

Be transparent

Hidden cameras can be a godsend in certain situations, but a security system will be that much more effective as a preventative measure if potential thieves can actually see it. Don’t hide your cameras away in corners and behind shelving – make them as obvious as possible. because, if they know they’re being watched they will be less likely to even attempt any thievery in the first place.

Make your policy clear to your workers

Be clear with your employees what your policy is on shoplifters, otherwise, it can lead to confusion over how to act when it eventually happens (and it almost certainly will). Have a definitive written policy in place that lets your employees know what is expected of them and what is not expected of them. Also, with a small percentage of retail theft coming from employees themselves, be clear and upfront about the penalties if they should be caught red-handed.

Service with a smile

It might sound counterintuitive to greet potential thieves with such good grace, but if you ensure your staff are attentive then you are less likely to find stock items going missing. There is a perfect middle ground to find between employees being helpful and watchful that might take some figuring out. But generally speaking, by making all customers feel welcome, you reduce that feeling of anonymity that can lead to thievery.

Light it up

Poor quality lighting is a shoplifter’s best friend. Particularly in retail establishments that remain open late, if a particular corner is poorly lit then it can look quietly enticing to a thief. On a similar note, make sure that the exterior of the store doesn’t contain any potential hiding spots such as bushes and trees – these are ready-made hiding spots that could aid a getaway if left as they are.

Stay neat and tidy

If your shelves are disorganised then it can be more difficult to realise when something has gone missing. So, ensure that your merchandise is displayed neatly and that the most high-value items are the most visible. Also, don’t be afraid of keeping particularly high-value items in display cases (with alarms).

Of course, there are countless other little things you could be doing to ramp up security in your retail store – carrying out bag searches when you suspect a thief, for example. However, the best thing you can do, ultimately, is to invest in a surveillance and alarm system that suits your budget and your needs. Everything else is just window dressing!