How can retailers protect profits and minimise loss?

20th May 2019

Findings from the Home Office’s 2017 Commercial Victimisation Survey found that the cost of retail crime in the UK rose by 15% in 2017 to a record £700 million. 

Identifying and preventing lost revenues is a critical challenge for many UK businesses, especially in the retail sector. Forming a successful profit protection and loss prevention strategy is therefore a top priority, but it’s important to identify the different types of criminal loss to ensuring shrinkage is kept to a minimum. 

Retail theft: Who is targeting your business?

Instances of shoplifting nearly doubled to 950,000 last year according to the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), but combatting theft from customers is just one of many challenges for retail businesses. Here in the UK, employee theft costs companies more than £190 million every year, with employee fraud responsible for another £40 million in losses. As a result, organised retail crime is on the rise, meaning businesses are under increasing pressure to prevent loss from:

  • Shoplifting 
  • Money fraud 
  • Checkout fraud 
  • Refund fraud
  • Burglary 
  • Vandalism 
  • Online scams (particularly those who sell online or hold customer data digitally)

Using actionable intelligence to make smarter decisions

Actionable intelligence, also known as actionable insight, can play a pivotal role in reducing levels of internal and external theft, whilst optimising profit protection throughout your business. By utilising an all-encompassing incident reporting, analysis and risk management platform, you’re able to see the complete picture of your store in real time, whilst collecting high quality data to identify and address issues and improve day-to-day operations. 

With Synapse, a sophisticated award winning system, you can engage with the operational teams and direct security teams to areas of significant risk, whilst making it quick and easy for security officers to report valuable information – leading to greater success in investigation, action and closure. By streamlining the process of collecting and recording evidence from victims and witnesses, you can focus on one reporting method to assist police, rather than wasting valuable time creating duplicate reports. 

How else can retail companies protect themselves against theft and fraud?

The total cost of crime to UK retailers is over £2 billion per year (according to the British Retail Consortium: Retail Crime Survey), and it’s important to understand that even with the latest technology, there is no one size-fits-all approach to protect profits and minimise loss. There are many ways to prevent theft, from implementing shoplifting policies and procedures to optimising your store’s layout, introducing security features and completing regular stock checks. 

One of the most effective deterrents is civil recovery, and it’s regularly used for retail crimes including theft, fraud, refund fraud and criminal damage, however, success ultimately depends on the strength of the evidence against the perpetrator. It’s therefore essential to form a plan, applying strategic focus throughout your organisation. You can then decide on the right tactics to keep your retail business safe and make incremental changes to improve performance. 

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