The United States Census Bureau estimates that consumers spent $485,752,000 in retail establishments during September 2018. Many big retailers expect to lose about 1 percent of their total sales volume annually to theft while natural disasters, fires, and other problems can shrink inventory even more. If you are a business owner, then it is important to take steps to protect your inventory.
Employee theft is a major problem for many companies, and it is often the employee that you least suspect that does the stealing. Doing complete background checks on each new employee and having a zero-tolerance policy helps. Install video security cameras in high theft areas, and assign tasks where someone may be tempted to steal to two or more employees. Separate duties so that one person is not responsible for an entire money-handling procedure. Regularly counting your inventory also may prevent employee theft.
Customer shoplifting can also be a huge problem in many retail establishments. Promptly greeting customers and offering great customer service can help to keep customers moving through your location while making good people happy. Design your retail layout so that customers must pass the checkout area on their way out of the store. Eliminate any blind spots so that most of your store is visible from the checkout location. While high-tech security systems can definitely help, research shows that placing signage throughout the store about shoplifting serves as a deterrent.
Fires can cost you a lot of inventory in a very short time. Practicing good housekeeping is an important way to help keep fires from starting. Keep firefighting equipment where employees can get to it in a hurry, and train them to use it properly. Fire suppression systems can also assist by having an automated or semi-automated process to save as much inventory as you can. Make preventive maintenance of all equipment a top priority.
While you cannot control the weather, there are several steps you can take to prevent your inventory from water damage. Secure your physical product against natural disaster with flood detectors, and more to minimize inventory loss. It is usually best to work with a professional after a flood to save as much inventory as possible while protecting the physical premises of your retail location. If you have insurance, then make sure to contact your insurance agent.
You can experience inventory shrinkage in several different ways. You can take steps to prevent employee and customer theft while helping to stop some fires. While floods may be unpreventable, your actions afterward may be able to save some of your inventory. Prevention is always the best policy, and maintaining a safe, clean, and happy workplace is the absolute first step in securing the safety of your inventory and business.