Loss Prevention: Keeping Your Business Secured
Most major retailers hire loss prevention specialists to prevent theft and to provide security for the stores. Retailers employ loss prevention to apprehend potential shoppers or dishonest employees. Prevention loss is a vital part of successful retail establishments to lessen the harmful impact of retail theft. Employee theft and dishonest shoppers account for nearly $7 billion in losses from retail robbery every year.
Loss prevention officers fight against external theft and internal theft. Internal theft is also referred to as employee theft stealing employees from their employers through embezzlement, where the employee takes money or property entrusted to their care. While external theft is when customers intentionally steal, commit fraud, or vandalism.
The presence of the officers keeps the public place free from unusual behavior from the shoppers and the employees. The officers’ role may vary depending on the employer’s policy. Sometimes they are allowed to apprehend a suspected thief, and they can be armed.
The Role Of Loss Prevention
People who work in loss of prevention utilize a few tactics to reduce theft in retail stores. Although specific job descriptions for loss prevention personnel can vary depending on the location, their typical duties involve the following:
- Monitor public areas for possible threats.
- Monitor displays or changing rooms, areas susceptible to stealing opportunities.
- Identify potential thieves or vandals among shoppers or staff.
- Physical security in uniforms can discourage potential shoplifters or troublemakers.
- Review stock and inventory, and investigate suspected customers and employees involving external theft and internal theft respectively.
- Go after and confront suspected shoplifters.
- Record theft and other retail violations.
- Work with law enforcers to apprehend and prosecute suspected pilferage and cheating employees.
- Work or cooperate with retail security teams when employed in a mall or retail center.
- A more experienced loss prevention officer may help the company develop safety policies.
Some customers may get violent or attempt to run away when confronted by the loss prevention officer or personnel. So some loss prevention specialists seek help from police to make sure there is no serious harm will happen and to protect themselves at the same time.
Is Loss Prevention A security?
Jobs in organized retail loss prevention involves working with both the store management and law enforcement. If a customer is caught shoplifting, the person in charge of loss prevention will have to make a supplemental report or a statement from the witness for the police. It focuses on retail location in identifying suspicious actions and apprehending anyone who is trying to steal.
However, unlike the physical security guards, loss prevention officers covertly monitor suspicious individuals by pretending as shoppers and blend with the customers as they don’t wear uniforms. They must be clear thinkers with the ability to settle issues with good judgment. Having good customer service skills and professional demeanor would also fit into an excellent job loss prevention.
Most retail loss prevention jobs require a high school diploma or a GED. Newly hired officers will receive on-the-job training and a more complex kind of training for those who carry a firearm. In 2017, according to the United States Department of Labor, the median income for retail loss prevention specialists was $30,240 every year. This means that 50% of loss prevention specialists earn more than this amount, and the other half earn less.
Retail loss prevention officers work in retail environments that are well lit, temperature-controlled, and comfortable. Retail stores are open in late hours to expect that officers must work in the evening or overnight. Although it is not considered a high-risk profession, a loss prevention officer should pay close attention to his environment and to the customers.
Good judgment is another requirement when it comes to working with the public. While most customers are not criminals or dangerous, there may be injuries during confrontations. Confronting or apprehending the suspected individual carries a risk, not only upsetting the person but could result in liability for the officer and the store if the accused customer will be later found out innocent. Hence, an officer must know when is the appropriate time to take action, and what will be the necessary action to take.
Loss Prevention Specialist Salary
The entry-level salary for jobs in loss prevention often starts at above minimum wage.
Median Annual Salary: $35,680 (17.15/hour)
Top 10% Annual Salary: $56,500 or more ($27.16/hour)
Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $23,500 or less ($11.30/hour)
Advancement in this field has significant value, so that you may expect an increase in your salary with training and experience.
Years of Experience
Job experience can help increase the earning of a loss prevention officer. New training and experience can help them advance positions to supervision, higher-level posts, or law enforcement.
- 0-5 years: $26,000
- 5-10 years: $28,000
- 10-20 years: $31,000
- 20+ years: $31,000
The projected employment increase for loss prevention specialist is about 5% between 2016 to 2026.
Loss Prevention: Skills & Competencies
Being on a loss prevention job, you have to possess skills and attributes to thrive in your work.
- Communication skills: The supervisors and the store managers must know your activities. At the same time, you have to interact with other employees to alert them in case of possible problems.
- Calm demeanor: Make sure you can deal with short-tempered people or get angry when confronted and do your best to lessen the tension.
- Observation skills: One of the main components of the job is to watch the customers and identify suspicious behavior and take the right actions.
- Physical witness: If the confronted shoplifter becomes violent or resistant, you must be able to defend yourself.
Loss Prevention Management
Loss prevention jobs are considered essential resources to reduce the risk of merchandise tests and minimize fraudulent returns. When a retail loss accounting has reached 1.47% of revenue, store owners should consider prioritizing how to prevent it. The following are organized retail crime prevention tips from the experts to help keep the inventory and bottom line safe.
1. Stay Alert on the Sales Floor
Associates or employees who are aware of what is going on the sales floor are the best shields from shoplifters. Thieves hate attention, so customer service should be attentive and keen to make eye contact. If you suspect someone is going to do something not good, you engage them in a conversation. Customers will love the attention, but those who are up to no good will be hesitant if they can be recognized.
2. Install a Wireless Security System
Although attentive staff can spot or identify a suspicious shoplifter, it would be best to have a tool to prevent theft. Store owners can implement a wireless system for under $300. While professional monitoring with police presence on 24/7 costs $14.99 per month.
3. Include safety and security in your employee training
Training sales and service components that deal with general retail security and safety, such as floor spacing and movement, polite and negotiable greetings, and profit and loss education, are the main foundation. But, with a high turnover rate, new team members should be updated on monthly reviews when it comes to putting high regard on safety and protection protocol.
4. Advertise Your Security Measures
Thieves are likely to think that they can be caught when they try to steal from your store. It is one of the things that matter in “preventing” theft. So if you can’t afford a camera, setting or putting up some fake ones in every corner of your establishment with fake security labels or stickers, it can prevent them from stealing. You can also hang around some signs that tell shoplifters to beware of the cameras and remind them of the consequences. Simultaneously, remind every customer and employee that you emphasize theft prevention, you can exaggerate as much as possible because they will unlikely even try.
5. Monitor Inventory With Your POS System
Another factor of retail loss or inventory shrinkage is human error. To prevent this, you have to keep track of your inventory’s accurate record as soon as it has arrived at your store. But this cannot be easy once the merchandise moves quickly through your sales process. Make use of a tool that counts your inventory without bringing them to the scanner. This enables tracking easier and less exposed to loss by human error.
6. Stop Taking Cash Payments
You cannot run a retail business without entrusting your employees’ access to your cash. Since you cannot keep an eye to your cash drawer 24 hours a day, you may consider cashless payments. Taking away cash will also take away the problem. Online payments like Apple pay and EMV can make cash-free possible and easy.
7. Use Technology to Minimize Loss
One of the significant contributors for loss is returns, more particularly unnecessary or dishonest returns, which can usually be due to incorrect sizing. Consumers have a hard time understanding what they search for, the size they are looking to purchase and often return items that don’t fit. To prevent this, retailers should find technologies that allow their customers to have more personalized shopping experiences. There are various technologies available such as mobile smart size apps, 3D body sizing, and more. Through it, customers can make the correct purchase, allowing retailers to save a lot of dollars.
Loss prevention specialists mainly work indoors in stores or malls. They often wear civilian clothes and tend to blend in with other shoppers. Although others wear uniforms and carry some form of identification or badge to identify them as store security. Their role is to watch over the isle or the closed-circuit camera.
The demand for loss prevention will remain as retail theft continues to be a significant reason for lost revenue for stores. The growth of employment in this field is tied to the growth of the retail industry. Although employing loss prevention is a cost to a business, as it involves time, money, and energy, it will help the business run smoothly. Reduction in the merchandise losses will mean an increase in productivity, personnel reduction, and sales, which will also mean more profit to the store owner.
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