Retail risk management is identifying areas of risk in your grocery operations, then mitigating or eliminating those risks to protect your customers, business, and bottom line. The risks that face grocers run the gamut from data security, to the health and safety of customers and employees, to inventory loss prevention.
We’ll cover each of these topics in detail in future blogs, but today we’ll focus on the last one—loss prevention. Loss prevention itself covers a number of areas, including employee theft deterrent measures, which we covered last week. But many of these same theft-related issues apply as much or more to customers as to employees.
Unchecked, inventory shrinkage leads to unsustainable grocery profit margins. So today we’ll look at five loss prevention tips to include in your risk management strategy that can boost—instead of bust—your bottom line.
#1 Install a reliable video surveillance system. Period.
Last week we talked about the importance of state-of-the art video surveillance and reporting to deter and solve employee theft. The same is true for inventory loss prevention due to customer theft, not least because customer shoplifting comprises 36 percent of all retail theft. A surveillance system with DVR quality video that can archive, retrieve, and scrub through hours of video at high-speed is the foundation of a solid loss prevention strategy for today’s retail grocers.
#2 Warn would-be thieves to “smile for the camera”
A surveillance system is an excellent tool for solving a theft, but if fully monitored in real time, it can enable you to stop many thefts in progress. However, the power of psychology can make these systems even more powerful, simply by ensuring customers are aware of those systems.
Prominently displaying signs around the store that announce the surveillance—and stressing violators will be prosecuted—can deter a shoplifter trying anything in the first place. With a little extra technology, you can even display monitors showing live video near items with high-risk of theft. Who wants to risk shoplifting when they see themselves on camera?
#3 Look out below—with bottom-of-basket detection and reporting
Most retail grocers today install bottom-of-basket (BOB) cameras to ensure cashiers don’t miss items shoppers place on the bottom rack of their cart. The majority of shoppers use the bottom of basket for convenience, but would-be thieves see it as a way to score items without paying. Even more, customers and employees participating in “sweethearting” use bottom of basket as a means of plausible deniability if they are caught in the act.
A savvy grocer with well-integrated systems knows that cashiers can plainly see BOB items on their displays and thus have no excuse. Further, since bottom of basket cameras can reliably identify items stored below, cashier productivity reports can help identify cashiers who aren’t ringing up those items on a regular basis. Whether these cashiers need additional training or scrutiny, this lets you put an end to dwindling profits due to unpaid-for bottom of basket items.
#4 Leverage visual intelligence for proactive prevention
Video surveillance is one of the best methods of providing evidence for halting or prosecuting a theft, even if an eye witness is available. But you can also integrate technology that allows you to determine the likelihood of a theft at a given time in different areas of the store.
TRUNO’s loss prevention suite, for example, provides powerful visual intelligence features to analyze your stores’ traffic distribution, visitor count, dwell times, and conversion rates. Knowing dwell times and locations enables you to optimize your store layout to reduce opportunities for would-be shoplifters. In the meantime, they can alert you to when and where you might need extra personnel walking the aisles—just in case.
#5 Take advantage of real-time alerts to stop theft as it happens
One of the difficulties with loss prevention is that the chance of recovering merchandise — and any associated profit it might yield—drops dramatically once it leaves the store. That’s mainly because of reaction time (or the lack thereof). Whether you’re talking about your surveillance system, POS and BOB systems, visual intelligence or any other integrated loss prevention application, little matters if you can’t react in time to stop the thief before they’re out the door.
Don’t forget to enable real-time notifications on your loss prevention systems, so you and your staff will know of suspicious activity the moment your systems detect it. Because you can’t stop what you don’t know about.
There are plenty of other loss prevention tips we can share on how to improve your risk management strategy, covering most any facet of your grocery operations. But they all have one goal in common: to reduce the impact of inventory shrinkage on your grocery profit margins.
Ready to learn how the latest loss prevention solutions can help minimize the effect of shrinkage on your bottom line? Find out how TRUNO can get you started right away.