The Top 4 Security Considerations for Retail Small Businesses

The Top 4 Security Considerations for Retail Small Businesses

Running a location-based retail store is not an easy task. Potential theft is one of the risks that make this business operation much more difficult than e-commerce.

In this article, you will see analyzed potential security risks retail entrepreneurs need to tackle and offered several solutions for each one of them.

Potential Security Risks for Small Retail Businesses

There are four main risks for retail businesses:

  1. Shoplifting
  2. Employee theft
  3. Armed robbery
  4. Supplier theft

1. Shoplifting

Shoplifting is the most common security problem for retailers and although it is much less dangerous than armed robbery, it can cause significant losses, especially during busy shopping days.

Big shopping holidays like Black Friday, are the time when most of these mischiefs take place. While store staff is serving honest clients, shoplifters use the fuss to sneak out from store unnoticed.

Shoplifting can be prevented by caution and security training for employees that will explain them how to recognize any type of suspicious behavior. Store’s layout should allow employees to overlook every corner and it should eliminate blind spots.

Most retailers decide to place a cash register near the exit, so each customer needs to pass next to it, on their way out.

2. Employee theft

Statistics say that more than 60% of all thefts is done by employees. Since they have an access to store’s warehouse and cash register, their fraudulent behavior can cause significant problems for shop owners. This type of thefts also causes grief and dismay, and makes retail entrepreneurs distrustful even towards honest employees.

Fortunately, there are many different ways retailer can stop dishonest employees from stealing the money and goods. There are several different types of employee thefts and for each one of them, retailers can prescribe a unique set of prevention measures. These include:

  • Cash thefts from the register - to stop this kind of thefts retailers should carefully count the money, ask for receipts and conduct frequent cash register tests.
  • Employees damaging, drinking or munching products - employees should have frequent breaks and should be required to pay for all products that are missing.
  • Vendor collusion - this is a form of organized theft conducted by one or several employees and someone from the outside. It can be prevented by keeping all back doors locked and secured and by frequent stock checks.
  • Record falsification - all coupons and time cards should be checked on a daily level to prevent employees to misuse expired discounts.

3. Armed robbery

Armed robbery is one of the most dangerous threats to the company’s and employees’ well-being. Most people think that armed robbers usually target banks, post offices or stores that sell expensive merchandise (like jewellery). This misconception can easily turn the retailer into a target, especially if it causes them to neglect security.

By investing in the store’s security, retailers are decreasing chances that their store will get robbed. Retail store can be protected in several different ways. Installing various obstacles between the customer area and the cash register is one of them.

NSW Roads & Traffic Authority employed an Australian company called Genesis that builds in various types of anti-jump barriers, which can be bullet-proof, chemical resistant etc. They can also hire an armed security guard or install a panic button alarm, which automatically contacts law enforcement, while robbery takes place.

4. Supplier theft

Many suppliers overcharge their business partners or deliver them fewer goods. To apprehend this type of behavior retailers need to personally check every shipment and count delivered goods. If they don’t have time for this, a trusted employee should be assigned for this task. When these types of theft happen, retailers should give your supplier a chance to explain, before quitting future cooperation.

Store security is a very important criterion for running a successful retail business. Like with all other business practices it is always ‘better to be safe than sorry’, and the right mix of innovative security measures can prevent theft from happening and save retailers from losses and customers’ and employees’ claims.

Derek Lotts

My wife and I have been working as consultants in several Australian based startups. At one point, I decided to stop putting on a tie as the business world and it's hectic nature did not suit my idealism. Once I quit the corporate world, I started blogging and collaborating with notable entrepreneurs in the blogging world.

Comments (1)
Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

Security is definitely something that always needs to be at the forefront of a business owner's mind. I have heard that most of the theft does come from employees. I think the best way to mitigate that issue is to be careful during the hiring process and recognize and reward employee efforts.