Loss prevention is a serious problem for retailers. Statistics from the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention reveal that shoplifters commonly steal items ranging from $2 to $200. But these and other forms of loss can easily be mitigated using video observation and analytics. These problems can include employee theft and embezzlement, unnecessary spoilage of products, vandalism, abuse, waste and misconduct. Losses can also be caused by poor training and a lack of communication. Here are some employee training techniques that can ensure the best performance by your team.

Data mining can be a key tool in loss prevention.

Video surveillance is a powerful tool for managers in assessing and preventing loss. By using video analytics, managers can track exceptions and take a closer look at every point of sale. By implementing a comprehensive analytics system, leadership staff can even track merchandise from the moment it is delivered to the moment it is sold, providing a comprehensive picture of the movement of product through your retail operation.

Train employees to look for unusual situations.

Outright theft is generally uncommon. It’s a lazy, stupid way to steal from a retail operation and most people get caught. But it’s important to train employees to keep their eyes open for unusual situations or transactions. Employee theft often includes collusion with friends or other store employees, so monitoring how often an employee interacts with a regular customer can offer clues to potential loss. Other fraudulent schemes use bogus refunds and voided transactions, while odd-looking point-of-sale transactions can reveal “double-dip” plots that can cost the store not only money but also inventory as well.

Use Customer Service to Foster Loss Prevention

Good retail operation management is the most effective safeguard against loss prevention but customer service can also be a key technique in stopping money and product from heading out your doors. Staffing should be regulated so an appropriate number of employees are on staff at any time, with no single employee left alone. Employees should also greet every customer as they enter your retail establishment—this lets potential shoplifters know that your employees are aware of their presence. Sales staff members also need to stay focused; it’s easy to be distracted by other customers while a potential shoplifter is going about their business. It’s also important to train staff to look for hidden items—shoe boxes, handbags, items with lids should be inspected by staff to ensure that no extra items are being spirited away from your store. Retailers should also use adequate inventory controls, strategic store design and smart security practices to combat shoplifting.

Train Employees to Know When Loss is Occurring

Loss Prevention

The most common way that retailers learn they are experiencing loss is simply to be losing profit on a regular basis. But in fact, there are many indicators that may show you or your employees that loss is happening. If your cost of goods is increasing but your sales are staying the same or decreasing, you may have a problem. Employees reporting shoplifting issues or concerns can be another red flag. If your retail operation has been victimized by a robbery within the past year, it may time to look at your security protocols—robbers often look for easy targets. You can also use video analytics to examine the behavior and performance of individual employees. This can reveal a single employee who is reporting shoplifting events that no one else witnesses, a dramatic drop in sales during their shifts, or a specific employee that has a high number of refunds, voids or non-sales.