How Utilising Software can Help Retail Loss Prevention

Loss prevention is a big deal in the retail industry. In fact, according to the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) Crime Survey 2017, retail crime is now more than £700 million each year.

Whilst other thefts are falling, according to the BRC survey, shoplifting is growing. With increased footfall typically experienced over the Christmas period and December being the biggest month of the year for retailers, fraud prevention is ever-more important at this time of year.

In an attempt to reduce crime and protect profit margins, retailers invest heavily in loss prevention methods. According to the BRC, retailers spent the same amount on crime prevention in 12 weeks of 2017 as they did for the whole of the previous year.

Loss prevention strategies will include:

  • Anti-theft security such as surveillance cameras and tagging devices

  • Store layouts including having expensive goods in locked cases or close to where staff can easily keep an eye on them

  • Staff education to promote a culture of loss prevention 

  • Friendly floor staff, who actively monitor customer activity  

  • Working with local authorities to identify repeat offenders and organised gangs


However, one strategy that is perhaps overlooked is software and its ability to digitalise the data collected by loss prevention teams.

The benefits of implementing software are typically two-fold:
 

1. Efficiencies

With the data collected online, retailers will experience a reduction in time spent collecting the data, removing duplication of effort that is often experienced with paper-based systems.

Gerard Davies, Head of Retail Security at William Hill explains, “previously when theft had taken place at a betting shop, the shop manager would call security, who would report the information on to a system. Security would then visit the shop, fill out a paper-based incident form, which would then be sent to our intelligence team for reporting and they would manually enter it on to an Excel spreadsheet for reporting purposes.

“It meant the information was recorded 3 times and with over 2,000 licensed betting shops within the UK, that is a lot of time and effort!  We now complete all the information online, in real-time, removing the duplicate entry. This gives us confidence in the data, as it is less prone to errors and most importantly, we have all our data in one place with more time for analysis”.

This leads us on to our second and most important benefit…
 

2. Insight

Recording all crime data in one place and in a consistent format provides retailers with a wealth of information that they can easily use to drive insight.

The time saved through the efficiencies the software has delivered enables loss and prevention teams, together with their intelligence teams, to focus on sporting trends, cross-correlating data and provides the ability to build accurate risk profiles that facilitate a proactive approach to crime mitigation. The insight will allow loss and prevention teams to sense check their methods to tackle crime and focus their activity where it is most appropriate.

That insight can also be extended, with many of our retail clients utilising Alcumus Info Exchange for recording both loss prevention and health and safety data. William Hill is a great example of this. Gerard explains, “the inclusion of health & safety and compliance data means we are able to extract meaningful information across multiple disciplines for individual shops, areas and regions. This has been particularly useful to our risk assessment programme, enabling us to analyse serious incidents in a variety of ways and allowing us to sense-check the risk-based approach we adopt”. 
 
To find out more about Alcumus Info Exchange’s loss prevention module get in touch with our team today. Call 0370 218 7722 or email infoexchange@alcumusgroup.com.