The facts are stark: According to the latest data, 1 in 11 Americans are shoplifters, costing retailers up to $20 billion every year.
As these statistics clearly indicate, this is a major problem requiring significant interventions. Shoplifting is not confined to just any business industry or sector. Nowadays, virtually every retail business is struggling to appropriately identify retail loss prevention solutions. When appropriately implemented, loss prevention technology and loss prevention software can be a godsend when it comes to helping a business retail its invaluable inventory — and, in many cases, continue to operate.
First, let's answer this important question: What does retail loss prevention mean? Retail loss prevention refers to specific practices, policies, and technological deployment that enable a business to stop retail theft, better known as shoplifting. It is important to note that retail loss prevention has a narrow definition. In other words, items lost due to shipping mistakes, damages, or returns are not impacted by retail loss prevention policies. This narrow definition refers solely to theft.
Furthermore, retail loss prevention does not always have to refer to customers. Indeed, in many cases, businesses may think of retail loss prevention as occurring only with customers. However, the truth is that the definition is far more expansive than that. Retail loss prevention can also occur with employees, who are, unfortunately, often involved in retail theft. Complete inventory control systems and appropriate deployment of technological tools can stop this type of preventable loss and help ensure that businesses lose as little as possible to this "shrink."
A fully comprehensive retail loss prevention strategy implements a variety of people- and technology-based solutions. For example, a video surveillance system for loss prevention can be of critical assistance in monitoring hot spots, keeping an eye on goods that are commonly stolen, and identifying what items may need enhanced security measures.
Retail loss prevention stopped by using multiple methods. First, there are a variety of preventative measures that employees and businesses can take to reduce retail theft. This includes:
- Physical changes to stores, like making aisles wider and more visible.
- Appropriate deployment of store associates and security, as well as training employees to keep an eye out for potential theft and help employees understand what to do if they witness such a theft.
- GPS and inventory-based solutions may render items unusable or ensure thieves cannot steal items without setting off alarms.
- A variety of technological solutions, including AI-based camera systems. When appropriately implemented, such systems can ensure that stores preventatively monitor their stores and appropriately steer limited resources toward items most likely to be stolen.
In some cases, retail theft occurs in more daring ways, like with a flash mob or large swath of individuals that simply overwhelm store resources and cause safety issues. In most cases, theft is more subtle and covert. In such instances, stores can enhance their security measures to better protect from such occurrences.
Read how All Star Elite, a growing retailer across the United States, has been able to reduce cash shrink and increase sales with an AI Camera System.
Loss prevention strategies in retail
Of course, loss prevention in retail is nothing new. However, there are a variety of potential ways that businesses can engage in methods of loss prevention. Simply put, different businesses must implement different loss prevention strategies in retail. What solutions your business implements ultimately depends on your specific needs and on what data shows you.
Common loss prevention methods include:
Loss prevention training for retail employees
Staff is always on the front line of any theft-prevention effort. As such, businesses must train their staff to ensure they know what retail theft is, how to recognize it, and how to respond appropriately. Common training topics include:
- Visibly arranging store inventory allows for multiple lines of sight that will discourage retail theft.
- How to build inventory systems that account for and prevent retail theft.
- How to deploy staff in a way that discourages retail theft.
In many instances, relatively common and inexpensive solutions — like having a professional greater at a store — can help prevent retail theft.
A comprehensive inventory system can be a major deterrence for retail theft. These systems are now relatively common and include locking highly valuable items up, adding tags, GPS monitors, or special cases that store associates can remove during purchase. Furthermore, these control methods should integrate with a store's point-of-sale system, thus enabling stores to track inventory and determine where shrinkage occurs. Doing so allows for deploying measures that stop internal and external theft.
In many cases, larger stores will deploy their security forces or contract with third-party entities. The goal of this staff will usually be multi-faceted. On the one hand, they may attempt to be as visible and obvious as possible. Doing so may act as a deterrence. On the other hand, store security sometimes acts undercover. This tactic may allow them to blend in with other customers and catch more thefts in the act.
However, store security can be expensive, and it may be a shotgun approach to a problem that requires more precision. Store-based security will only be effective if staff knows what goods will most likely become theft victims.
Loss prevention cameras
This final solution is often the most effective. When a store deploys cameras properly and integrates these cameras with either live security or other forms of loss prevention software, cameras can ensure that hotspots are properly monitored. If staff monitors cameras live, a security associate can potentially alert store security or law enforcement when a theft occurs. If staff looks at footage after the fact, they can gather data and pass that information along to law enforcement.
Furthermore, staff can deploy smart cameras to monitor specific hotspots. Stores and businesses can use AI-based algorithms to identify when someone is leaving with an object and determine which objects thieves are most likely to steal. Businesses can use this data - as well as generative AI-based searches - to get a better handle on where theft is most likely to occur.
Understanding loss prevention strategies
If you have a retail business, you are almost certainly going to have a retail loss that comes directly from stolen goods. This reality of business life means you must enact comprehensive loss prevention strategies to engage in retail theft prevention. The type of loss prevention policies your business puts into place ultimately depends on various considerations, including location, type of business, size of business, and more.
However, no matter what retail loss prevention system you use, there are a few commonalities. First, you need a customized strategy. That means that you need data that allows you to determine where loss is occurring. You'll have to be able to answer some difficult questions, including:
- What goods are thieves most likely to steal?
- What periods are the goods being stolen?
- Is there any potential strategy that thieves are using?
- Can you use the information to determine more appropriate inventory or staff training strategies?
Getting this data requires hard work, an inventory tracking system, and video surveillance. Simply put, surveillance can give you a better idea of what goods are most likely to be stolen, when they are being stolen, and who is committing these crimes. You can then use this data to better customize your strategies to ensure that you are protecting your limited inventory.
As such, you must invest in the best video surveillance software to inform your loss prevention strategies and reduce retail loss. That's where we come in. At Spot AI, we offer one of the world's premier artificial intelligence camera systems, capable of helping you enact the loss prevention strategies you need.
What are the benefits of our system, and how can you use it to enhance your retail loss prevention system? Consider the following:
Data and insights
If you can't use your system to get insights into where thefts occur, the system won't do you any good. Our system is designed to help you easily search your video footage, find and track incidents as they occur, and use that information to better inform loss prevention strategies. The insights you can generate from this system include presence detection, facial recognition, object recognition, and more. All of this can enable you to monitor retail theft and change your store accordingly.
First-of-its-kind artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is impacting every area, including video security. You can use our constantly updated system to create generative searches, enabling you to get deeper and more actionable insights that enhance the overall usefulness of any footage you generate. The footage generated from these recordings can then be turned into highly useful data you can access locally or in the cloud.
Like your current camera system? Don't worry: We work with it! Our system is brand agnostic, meaning that we will layer on top of any existing camera system. Want to take advantage of our cameras? We can help with that, too! We offer state-of-the-art cameras at no additional cost to you. Our cameras are high-resolution and weatherproof, meaning you can deploy them anywhere and get high-quality video images.
Ready to learn more? Book a demo today.