Retail businesses have a crisis on their hands: shrinkage. While theft, damage, and human error have always been a problem, today they’ve risen to critical levels. Organized retail crime alone costs retailers more than $700,000 per $1 billion dollars in sales.
Shrinkage will mean something slightly different from retailer to retailer. The one constant is the need for actionable insights into how and where shrinkage occurs, who’s responsible, and what can be done to stop it. In this blog post, we'll detail five ways that an integrated retail security system can strengthen retail loss prevention efforts and improve in-store safety.
1. Set Alerts on Repeat Offenders
Many criminals, shoplifters, and thieves are repeat offenders, especially if they’ve learned to effectively conceal their activities. In some cases, customers and even employees will commit theft, fraud, or error in plain sight—often within view of security and surveillance measures.
This means repeat offenders can be tracked and neutralized.
One Canadian Tire franchise dealer was seeing a $100,000-$150,000 annual rate of shrinkage from product theft. Using Verkada security cameras in every aisle, the dealer pinpointed who was taking the missing products, when, and where in their 10,000 square foot facility. They even took pictures with their 4K Verkada cameras.
With this information in hand, the franchise dealer used People Analytics and Person of Interest Alerts to see how many times a person of interest was in a given building during a given month, then received alerts when that person came back. Each store manager had the Verkada app on their phones, so they could take action any time they received an alert.
Thanks to their integrated security solution, this retailer reduced product shrinkage by more than 50%.
2. Quickly Find and Share Evidence for Investigations
Identifying incidents of shrinkage is one thing. Involving the authorities to prosecute offenders, or take action against offending employees, is another story. In these situations, retailers need detailed, reliable, and compliant evidence to support their claims (and to avoid liability).
It’s not uncommon to meet retail operations and compliance professionals who spend far too much time sifting through footage for this purpose. When you extrapolate that task across multiple locations, the time cost can be prohibitive. What these team members really need is a fast way to search for and provide objective video evidence.
An integrated retail security solution shortens response time significantly. For one thing, the system can immediately send an SMS or email to site managers and security personnel with a link to review footage and take action. At any time, internal teams can send footage to authorities for review. Some retailers will even share live feeds with the police so they can follow along and respond in real-time.
3. Enhance Security and Eliminate False Alarms with Professional Monitoring
If an incident occurs, store managers and security teams want to know immediately, not after the fact. There are times, however, when responding to a threat in the moment is simply not possible. Adding 24/7 professional monitoring onto a video security solution is a great way to make sure that someone is able to verify and respond to an incident any time of day or night.
An added benefit of professional monitoring with video verification is that it eliminates false alarms, a common problem for retailers. Without visual context, it’s hard to tell if a motion detector was triggered by a thief or a passing animal. With more police departments starting to impose fines for too many false alarms, video verification to determine the legitimacy of an event can be a huge time and money saver. One family-owned retail chain saved $150,000 across 43 locations in one year by using video verification to eliminate false alarms.
Verkada’s professional monitoring solution includes unlimited video verification at no extra cost, so retailers know that their sites will be watched around the clock and any threat will be verified by a real person.
4. Simplify Retail Store Management at Scale
Most retailers operate multiple locations or one large facility. Both environments will ask a lot of security staff, site managers, and IT teams, especially when it comes to security systems. In an ideal world, these team members have a central platform—accessible from any device—where they can more easily manage a large number of devices and users.
One retailer used Verkada to simplify security management across 16 locations. Each camera took less than 10 minutes to get up and running, and group-level permissions allowed admins to grant varying access levels to employees with just a few clicks. Remote access to devices also means that the IT Director is able to see and respond to incidents in any store, even when he isn’t there in person.
5. Allow Employees to Call for Help Anytime, Anywhere
Whether it’s a smash-and-grab or simply a belligerent customer, retailers should always provide a way for employees to immediately and discreetly call for help should they feel threatened. Panic buttons are a simple way to ensure that employees are able to request assistance when they need it.
An integrated security system makes panic buttons even more powerful. Specific cameras can be associated with panic buttons, allowing administrators or on-site security to immediately pull up a live video feed of the area in which the panic button was pressed. Panic buttons can trigger a lockdown sequence via a store’s access control system, or turn on warning devices such as lights or sirens. A customizable panic button can also be configured to alert a specific person, on-site security, or emergency services, based on that specific store’s needs.
Bonus: Inform Product Placement and Drive Retail Sales
While many retailers place security cameras in areas with high shrinkage rates, there’s yet another application for retail security systems. People-based activity can tell retailers a lot about how customers move through their spaces. These insights can help retailers ease bottlenecks, improve the in-store experience, and make the most of high-traffic areas.
One wholesale distributor uses heatmaps inform product placement and drive sales more effectively. These features provide retailers with insights into shopping behavior and movement patterns. In competitive retail environments, this level of analysis can help retailers provide optimized in-store experiences.
Finally, a Word on Integrated Security Systems
Most retailers already invest heavily in reducing shrinkage, improving store management, and optimizing the shopping experience. However, finding a retail security solution that integrates all of these capabilities into a single system is the real challenge.
This is precisely why leading retailers choose Verkada. In the face of soaring retail theft and inflated security costs, retailers need an all-in-one platform capable of retail loss prevention at scale. An integrated solution like Verkada gives teams across the organization a more complete view of what’s happening on the floor, helping improve safety for employees and customers, and strengthening loss prevention efforts.