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Retail Security: How To Prevent Shoplifting

For stocklifting, we usually expect about 1.33% on turnover. A rule of thumb is that a higher cost of living, will drive this up but how much we do not know yet. Also the increased idle time many in our community have, the reduced staff in shops and the wearing of masks have created a boom in shoplifting.

The reason it is now in the minds of retailers is that after a stocktake; they know they can determine their shoplifting figures.

Once done, our POS System will give them three figures: quantity, cost and totals. All tell a story.

Tips for what can be done?

Here are some thoughts for a webinar that I attended on this subject recently:

1) Quantity will give you a hint of how many such incidents occurred.

Cost is how much it costs you.

Totals will tell you how valuable this is to the thief.

So reviewing these figures will highlight departments and goods that are most at risk.

It will also give you an idea of what is being taken.

2) What I do suggest you do is map your shoplifting figures see here. It does not take long and will graphically show the current danger points in the shop.

3) Consider mirrors and cameras. An old mirror placed in a blind spot was shown to reduce theft dramatically there. That cost the retailer nothing. Shoplifters are looking for these details.

4) Greet people that come to the shop. As well as being good customer service, it shows that you are watching.

It is hard to identify people in advance. In a survey, 75% of shoplifters said they had no intention of committing it before entering the shop. Very few fit any profile.

Yet here this is an interesting idea from the webinar. Have grandmother greet everyone that comes into the shop. Besides showing that you care, it has been known to do wonders. Grandmother has been proven to be very effective in identifying dubious people, such as people who often come without buying. She is also excellent for shaming people thinking of stealing. She is also a great witness if things go legal.

5) Have enough staff. Much of the current problem with shoplifting is that many retailers have reduced staff. No one is monitoring the stock yet there is a lot of money there. Having a staff member go to a suspicious customer and ask, “How can I help you?” can do wonders. 

6) Show a security monitor in the front of the shop where customers can see it before entering. This shows that you are monitoring.

7) Good signage. This issue I will discuss in a future post after I go to the next webinar.

8) Review the shoplifting figures this will give you an idea of the size of the problem and allow you to make a shoplifting budget. in the future.

9) Do not display highly desirable and/or expensive items close to the shop's exit.  

It is too big a temptation for someone to grab and run and it is very hard to stop such actions particularly if you pile high-value items together.

Shoplifting prevention and detection security prevention retail loss shoplifting are all important in order to keep your business safe and protected from losses.

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POS SOFTWARE

We need to be ready to hit the ground running as preparing a business for the End Of the Financial Year (EOFY) can be daunting.

As a minimum, you need to do the tax stuff, but while doing this, you can do the management reporting too. This can be time-consuming, but luckily much of the information required is built into your POS Software. Before you go to the accountant, it is worthwhile to go to this webinar to review what reports our Point of Sale Software can produce. This will give you a feel of what you can supply to the accountant.

Here's a checklist of reports that you will need.

Sales reports
Stock Valuation (you will need to do this after your stocktake)
Customers Outstanding
Creditors Outstanding (if you are running creditors)
Subagents Outstanding (use only if applicable)

Click here for a webinar on the End of the Financial year reporting. It discusses in detail what reports our system can produce. 

Although not required from our software, I do recommend that you do make a special End of Year Backup to store in case you need to refer to it. The 30/of June this year is Thursday.

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POS SOFTWARE

Expiry dates gift vouchers/credit notes

Today, gift cards are commonly used by all forms of enterprise, from small businesses to large corporate entities.

The expiry dates caused some confusion yesterday with one of our clients. After talking to several of his customers, he decided to scrap card expiry dates. I have my doubts about whether this is wise. Removing expiry dates implies that this liability will remain till when? It raises questions of whose responsible for that debt if the business is closed or sold? It will increase the administrative costs indefinitely.

You sold $20,000 worth of gift cards over the past year. About 10% to 19% of gift cards are unredeemed at any given time. So somewhere $2,000 to $3,000 is outstanding. If you sell the business, you must pay the new owner the liability owing on those cards. What hurts is that much of that liability will never be redeemed by your customers. If you close the business down, the situation is unclear. 

If you do this for many years, the problem gets worse as about 3% to 6% of gift cards are never redeemed. So every year, this debt grows by $600 to $1,200, do this for ten years, and you have a $6,000 to $12,000 obligation. 

Our understanding of the law and we are not lawyers and not qualified to give legal advice is that you must provide at least an expiry period of three years from the date you sold it. The expiry details must be displayed on the gift card (see red arrow above)

There are some exceptions, and this rule does not apply to some types of gift cards, click here for more details. What caused the initial problem here is that our client issued it out of his customer loyalty program, in which case we believe this does not apply at all. 

However, check first before doing anything about this. If you get a legal opinion please let me know.

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POS SOFTWARE

This COVID pandemic has proven to be a boom for shoplifters. The current big problem is that it's harder to identify shoplifters as they tend to wear a mask.

Once they have the mask, a CCTV camera often can no longer be used to identify people to the authorities. Nor can camera photos in front of the shop or Facebook posts shame people.

Note: A retailer can ask a person to remove your face mask to confirm their identity. Yet, the person does not have to do it.

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POS SOFTWARE

The Australian Retail Association has assembled a list of current state government support packages.

There you will find the link to the relevant state government support packages. 

One objection that I am hearing and seeing is that one state government is extremely hesitant to pay the awards owing. People are going to the state ombudsman. So if you are rejected for a grant, I would suggest that you do make some further enquiries.

Click here for details of the list.

It is worth a quick look to see what you might be qualified to get.

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POS SOFTWARE

Thinking that you need such a policy to combat majors in your area? 

Consider what price and price match policies you are thinking of matching? 

A person goes to one of my clients, shows an advertisement and asks for a price match on a product. Looking at the advertisement, my client notices, it is in a different state. He then remarked how much is the delivery going to cost from Queensland?

Now should he price match?

After this came up for discussion, I decided to investigate these pricing guarantees. What I found was interesting. It is something that every business person needs to consider for their policy.

As a rule, they only apply:

* To products that their competitors have in stock today. 

* To a specific region

* It often only applies to selected competitors.

 

Have a chew and let me know what you think your policy should be?

 
 

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POS SOFTWARE

The Australian government ruled out a "no jab, no job" policy, so leaving the decision to employers on whether they required employees to get vaccinated. Few employees were keen to get into this mess.

Now the Victorian government stepped in. Melbourne, Victoria, has earned a dubious distinction of being the most locked-down city under COVID in the world. Compared to the rest of Australia, we have low vaccination rates (49.9% vs 53.8% Australia-wide) and low testing rates with many blaming bad public policy choices e.g. a history of mucked up quarantines, weather or bad luck.

That motivated the Victorian Government in a surprise move. It announced mandatory vaccination for workers who are not working from home with few exceptions. They must have their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by Friday, 15 October. From 26 November 2021, this will increase to having the two doses or a medical exception. Currently, all Victorian businesses will need the employees to show proof of vaccinations by these dates.

Putting aside the legality of this, which will be decided here in the Supreme Court, I really don't know how everyone will be completely vaccinated by the 26 November target, even for those who want to get vaccinated. We are doing 70% more vaccinations than NSW now so the vaccination hubs often need a month before people can get their spot. Between the shots, many will want the recommended six-week gap between shots.

So how can the Victorian government make its deadline? 

Where does it leave us when the deadline comes up? 

I would make plans now, even if I was *NOT* in Victoria!

The big problem is that many are refusing to get vaccinated. What happens if they demand to come to work? Few employees want to be involved in a test case. There are plenty of demonstrations about this in Victoria. Although they all claim they will be non-violent demonstrations at the start, they all get violent. 

So it should be an exciting couple of months on how this goes down, this will keep us busy during the boredom of lock-down here.

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Vaccination rates are hitting 70%. Soon they should get close to 80%, which is the least that the politicians in Australia are demanding to open up the country. What is the situation for retailers now? 

Does anyone know?

The fact is that employers are required and responsible for making a safe environment for people to work, shop in and enter! 

So some employers are now publicly starting to demand that people applying must have proof of COVID Vaccination for jobs in their job advertisements. As you can see, these jobs listed here have nothing to do with medical, old age or childminding services which has been the case of so many legal arguments now.

 

 

I am not sure that this is legal. My understanding is that it's okay to ask, but someone does not have to tell you whether they have had the jab. Now it's clear that many employers are demanding proof.

What is the situation soon with existing employees?

Also, what is going to happen with customers entering the shop is unclear. 

An official in a shopping centre told me that he expects that everyone entering the shopping centre will soon need to be cleared first. If so, then unvaccinated people without a decent excuse will not be allowed into the centre. So your employee may not be able to come into your shop to work. If so you may be in your rights to dismiss them as they cannot work. That is going to cause a problem guaranteed. 

These issues need to be cleared up.
 

 

 

 

 

 

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If your store has a Facebook page, please consider the recent High Court ruling

Now, if you post or share content on this Facebook page and allow comments, you may be responsible for the statements made even if you do not know of these comments.

One solution is that you can disable comments, but this is not what any of us want to do, so we are introducing on our Facebook page more surveillance in case.

Under the new defamation laws in some states, you must get a "concerns notice", and only then do they have 15 days before they can file a lawsuit. So you get some time to plead your case. You may want to check on this in your state. However, even if this is true in your state, I am unsure what happens if the affected person is in Western Australia and you are in NSW. In which case, you may not be given a grace period. I am not a lawyer, so I cannot answer these questions.

But, if you receive one of these notices, I firmly recommend that you take action.

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When anything happens, many so-called experts are arguing on the different sides to any issue. Most will be wrong. Much of this is because these experts have an agenda.

Today, while I was looking at the Powerball figures for today, see above Lotto, it seems pretty good.

Lotto is a product that our system can let the retailer directly scan into. So I then decided to see what people were saying a few years ago about the state-controlled Lotto. This became an excellent example of bad decision making.

The big fear to my clients then, was that Lottoland, if not stopped, it would replace Lotto. However, these experts would help prevent this. But really, why stop it? Then Lottoland and Lotto were fighting it, and politicians claimed that they were concerned for my clients. A better strategy would be for my clients to investigate this as a possible opportunity. Lottoland was making some nice promises to my clients. Lotto also made some much vaguer promises. As it turned out, Lottoland was not stopped. The experts failed. Soon, my clients, I think, were seen as irrelevant, so got nothing. 

Google Trends gave a tremendous and highly accurate tool for doing that free. So looking at Google Trends, was Lottoland the significant threat to my clients? *NO* it was the move to Lotto online that was the threat. Now looking at the data, the answer is still *No*. Interest in Lottoland has gone backwards in five years. 

 

Nice example. 

I urge you to use the Google Trend tool to see what the public thinks and make better decisions. Using it, you can see what the public wants, use data to base your retail strategy. It lets small businesses get free consumer information instantly. What is invaluable is its ability to search for competing brands. You can then compare products. Then use this information to improve your offerings and so generate more sales.

This all deserves serious consideration.

For a youtube on how to use Google Trend, please click here.

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