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How To Reduce Product Thefts From Your Small Business

If you were to take a look at a large business’s business plan, you would see that they had set aside time and money to invest in the reduction of stock loss.

Something that everyone business selling products needs to look at, unfortunately there aren’t many small businesses who have the available finances to invest in this part of their business, when they are in fact the businesses that often most need the assistance.

To help give you a basis for which you can build your own strategy for reducing stock loss, the following information should be of use to any small business selling products in an offline environment.

1.  Never leave your store empty

As a small business owner, you’re likely to be responsible for everything from purchasing to cleaning, not having anyone else to rely upon.

Whenever you need to leave your store, whether that’s the store completely or just the shop floor, it’s imperative that you don’t leave it empty.  Bring a friend in to cover for a while, ask a nearby shop owner that you trust or shut up shop temporarily, but never think leaving your store open and empty – even for a few seconds – will be OK.

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2.  Don’t make it easy for thieves to get out of your store

Most large businesses invest heavily in store design and one of the main focuses is the entrance / exit, particularly around how easy it is for a thief to get out of the store.

While you want to make the entrance as appealing as possible, don’t make it easy for someone to enter your store, pick up any item they want and run straight out again, as opportunist thieves will soon realise that they can be in and out with a handful of goods in a matter of seconds.

3.  Become part of the local retail crime partnership

Most major towns and cities around the world will have a retail crime partnership in place that you can become part of if you’re operating a business within their area.

It’s likely to cost money to join, but you’ll be able to benefit from various things, such as the knowledge of other members and the ability to call on security via a radio should you need assistance.

4.  Have a floor plan that benefits you

As most small businesses don’t often have the available finances to pay for a professional store designer to tell them where to put certain pieces of furniture, they often design their store solely for their customers.

While this is OK in theory, you need to be certain that the store’s floor plan benefits you, too, such as giving you the ability to see right across the store from the pay point or into the changing area from certain locations.

5.  Invest in CCTV

As good as loss prevention is, chances are you’re going to be the victim of theft at some point and so it’s a fantastic idea to have at least one CCTV camera focused on the entrance / exit of your store.

While having more working CCTV cameras is recommended, consider having a selection of fake cameras installed around the store if money is tight – thieves aren’t going to know if any of them are fake and this alone is likely to put many off stealing.

Every business needs to consider the fact that they could lose a substantial amount of money through theft and it’s therefore imperative that small businesses do as much as they possibly can to reduce the risk of people entering their store, picking up an item and leaving without paying.

This post was originally featured on August 23, 2011.

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