As anyone who has worked in large retail stores can tell you, those stores have very specific security protocols and plans. Often times, they have binders of procedures, training for employees and even employees whose sole responsibility is to walk the sales floor and watch for suspicious activity.
Many smaller shops do not have this same level of detail when it comes to their security, but they should. Just because you are a small business, doesn’t mean you have to think small when it comes to your security. So if you are a small business owner check out these tips adapting some big store protocols for your small retail shop.
1. Keep time that employees are alone to a minimal.
Try to have more than one employee on duty at all times and if there are times (breaks, lunches, etc.) where an employee is alone, make sure they have an easy way to call for help should they need it. Consider having an easily accessible phone, allowing employees to have their cell phones near them, or installing a panic button.
2. Have protocols for monitoring the sales floor.
Even if your sales floor consists of one small room, create guidelines to help employees keep a watchful eye out for merchandise and customers. Instruct employees to begin interacting with customers as soon as they walk in the door. Employees should do their best to great or acknowledge every person who walks into the store.
Providing great customer service is not only important for ensuring that customers will make purchases in your store, but will be safe while they do it. Instruct your employees to ask customers if they need any help and to maintain frequent eye contact with customers who are shopping. One of the most efficient ways to do this is by dividing your sales floor into “zones” and assigning each employee zones.
3. Have protocols for monitoring the cash register.
The cash register protects the lifeblood of your business, your money. Take some time to develop best practices for keeping an eye on the cash register. Instruct employees who are responsible for running it, not to leave the drawer open and unattended.
Also, try to have someone always within close proximity to the cash register. Instruct employees that if they have to leave their post to help a customer to put away merchandise provide guidelines for how far from they register they can go and how long they can be away (for instance: they can be 10 feet from the register and have to return to it every 10 – 15 minutes.
4. Lay out the space in a way that allows for a clear line of sight.
Think about the positioning of displays, shelves, and signs. Are they set up in a way that allows customers and employees to see each other clearly? If not, do a little redecorating. Making it easy for employees and customers to see each other can prevent theft and keep both parties safe since they are not isolated
5. Train employees to deal with suspicious customers.
Take a page out of the large retail playbook and give employees periodic training for things like:
- How to identify and deal with shoplifters
- How to deal with customers that are threatening or aggressive
- How to answer probing questions about the business
All of your protocols and training should be documented so they can be referenced later.
6. Have protocols for managing back rooms and vendor interactions.
Your security plan should cover all aspects of your business, not just the customer-facing ones. Create protocols for areas that are restricted only to employees, like back rooms and storage areas. One of the ways to make sure these areas (and the merchandise in them) are safe is to do regular inventories so you will notice if any merchandise is missing. Keep back rooms neat and orderly and if you have vendors delivering or picking up supervise them whenever possible.
7. Install a professional monitoring system.
While you might try to keep an eye on your business all day, every day, that’s just not possible. However, with a security system installed and monitored by the professionals, you will have a partner who can keep a watchful eye on your business 24/7/365.
Let EPS Security be your commercial security partner. We can help create the best system for securing your small business. Fill out the form below to get started. Our team will provide a comprehensive security analysis and system quote customized to your business, your needs, and your budget.