According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), shrink accounted for $46 billion worth of losses in 2018. Shrink, of course, covers a wide array of inventory loss – from theft, shoplifting and fraud to simple human error. Yet, we can all agree a large part of that is undoubtedly theft. What's worse, 20% of shoplifters are likely to continue targeting the same retail chain. So implementing a good security policy is vital for the continued profitability of any retail business.
With so many high-tech security options available for modern businesses, you might wonder why your business should consider security guards. However, when you look in detail at the benefits a physical security presence offers, you may find it makes more sense to hire security guards now more than ever before. While it's easy to identify the concrete advantages to adding physical security, let's instead take a look at some of the less tangible advantages security guards offer retail businesses.
The Hidden Benefits of Retail Security Guards
Sometimes there's a right way to do something and a smart way to do it. These aren't always necessarily going to be the same thing. For instance, you might have an “all shoplifters will be prosecuted” policy in place. What is that rule actually there for though? Do you really want to be the long arm of the law in your area? Of course not. Your rules are in place with the single goal of reducing loss – by detecting and deterring shoplifters.
That's where a trained security guard comes into play. Their priority, like yours, isn't to be the police – it's to protect your company's profitability. Consider when that shoplifting rule needs to be applied and the culprit is a minor. Or consider an elderly customer who may very well have accidentally walked off with an unpaid for item. Having a security guard allows for intelligent, human discretion.
You will have a highly trained professional who can not only follow your rules but interpret them in a meaningful, productive manner that puts the success of your company as their central goal. Sometimes calling the police and prosecuting may be in the best interest of your business, but there are plenty of times when it is more hassle than it is worth. So let a professional handle the situation and determine the best way to resolve the issue.
In the age of social media, retail businesses can suffer enormous losses of reputation and sales over single, isolated incidents. Smaller companies have even gone out of business over bad online publicity. Look no further than YouTube to find endless videos of seemingly maligned customers treated with varying degrees of indifference, condescension and outright hostility.
You may think your employees are well-trained and prepared to handle such incidents, but this is not necessarily the case when you are dealing with shoplifters. Firstly, it is hard to predict how even a well-trained and polite employee will deal with the stress of confronting someone committing a crime in your store. Unfortunately, a shopper with a smartphone is likely to capture the incident and post it to their social media accounts, causing a potential outcry from the public.
Furthermore, without a security guard presence, the police are far more likely to be involved in any situation. This can further complicate matters because the police don't work for you. You're not responsible for them and cannot control their words or actions. Sadly - though you understand this fact, potential customers are not always so understanding.
Note anytime a news report comes out involving a police officer mistreating a person at a place of business. See how often it is mentioned that an employee called the police to respond to an incident. The central problem is that, in many customers' minds, the police are an extension of your business.
Having your own security, on the other hand, means they do represent you. By controlling how your security guards respond to shoplifters and other security matters, you are in effect sharing the values you want to impress upon your customers. So while a police response can damage your standing with customers, having your own security guards can actually have a positive effect on your image.
More than meets the eye
You are already aware of the advantages of having security guards walking the floor of your business. They are a visual presence for deterrence, they can respond to a detected theft instantly and they can identify a theft in progress. However, they can also be a front line in protecting your store's image – a factor that can cost your business far more than shrink ever has.
Do you think your retail business would benefit from security guard services? Contact Off Duty Officers, the leader in private security guards throughout the United States. Our security experts can help you assess the security needs of your retail store and help you identify the best solutions for your needs.
When you need security personnel who aim higher
Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.
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