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article / May 23, 2023

Loss prevention services: 5 essential features to consider

Find the best partner to protect your business from theft, fraud and other margin-eroding losses

Lost items. Employee theft. Shoplifting. Each of these problems is worrisome, and their combined impact has become even more keenly felt as organized retail crime has grown into a $100 billion threat to the industry. Unfortunately, the methods, resources and technology retailers have built up for selling products and making customers happy doesn’t necessarily translate to combating those issues. The easiest and most effective way to bridge that gap is with loss prevention services.

When you’re contending with a field as multifaceted as loss prevention risk management, there are many different approaches to consider. This article will introduce you to the concepts behind loss prevention systems and how to find the perfect fit for protecting your business based on your particular needs.

What are loss prevention services?

Loss prevention services are enterprises that help retail businesses manage their exposure to risks from inventory loss, whether that loss comes from employee theft, shoplifting, misplaced inventory or other means of shrinkage. This may be achieved through detailed inventory tracking, employee training, camera surveillance systems, employment of dedicated security guards, or a number of other means that span technique, technology and human resources.

If this sounds like the sort of solution only massive chains or luxury stores need to consider, that’s sadly not the case. According to our January 2023 survey of active retail industry employees, 64% of in-store sales, service and support workers have experienced theft firsthand. The highest reported incidents of theft occurred at hardware stores, while incidents were most likely to lead to violence at discount stores. The threat to both the health of your stores and your bottom line is real across any category.

If you’d like to take a proactive approach to protecting your workers, your inventory, and your business as a whole, the best starting place is a well-informed one. Read our report on The State of Organized Retail Crime & In-Store Worker Safety for more statistics and insights from the people who contend with these threats every day.

5 essential loss prevention risk management features to protect your retail business

Retail companies have many potential partners to consider when taking a proactive approach to loss prevention risk management. Here are five features to put on the top of your list when searching for the right loss prevention service.

Theft prevention and practical surveillance

People behave better when they know they’re on camera, but perfectly monitoring an entire storefront with stationary surveillance cameras is an expensive proposition – and needing to monitor all those individual camera feeds from a centralized location means inevitably diminishing returns. Fortunately, the perfect complement to your existing security camera solution already exists: body-worn cameras. Equipping loss prevention staff with BWC amplifies their passive role as theft deterrents and helps ensure minimal liability for your business in the event of intervention by a loss-prevention specialist.

De-escalation techniques and equipment

While loss prevention services are not the same as more generalized security, giving employees effective de-escalation techniques and equipment means they’ll feel empowered to protect both customers and themselves when intervening in shoplifting or other problematic behaviors. Organized retail criminals thrive on a deep understanding of each store they target, and when they come to understand the tools at your employees’ disposal, they’ll be more likely to keep searching for an easier target.

Efficient and automated data management

Investigating intentionally obfuscated parts of businesses such as shrinkage, internal theft and shoplifting used to be like shining light into a dark room. However, modern monitoring solutions provide such abundant information that it can feel more like staring into the sun. Businesses need an effective data management platform to automatically ingest reports, intelligently process them and surface the kinds of broader trends that could otherwise lie hidden in piles of information, allowing organizations to act on them before they become a major problem.

Effective training and resources

All of these resources mean little if your ground-level employees don’t know how to use them and if managers and executives alike don’t know how to incorporate them into effective store-level tactics and business-level strategies. An effective loss prevention system should come with all of the training and educational resources you need to effectively use them the moment they go into effect, as well as all the support you need to ensure their effective operation years into the future.

A solid reputation

Entrusting such a sensitive yet essential part of your business’ operations to another company is not something that should be done lightly. Operating on a false sense of security from a loss prevention risk management partner that can’t do everything it promises may be worse for your business than going it alone. That’s why it’s essential to prioritize working with a business that has a proven track record of helping businesses such as yours manage and improve their loss prevention services. Ask for references, evaluate how each potential partner can address your known problems and surface unknown ones, and make the best choice for your business.

Find the right loss prevention system for your business

Retail executives who want to learn more about the best possible approach to loss prevention should prioritize solutions that give their businesses the ideal mix of on-the-ground visibility, automated reporting and tools to ensure employee and customer safety.

Axon provides loss prevention and assault prevention solutions for enterprises seeking to force multiply their existing approach to security. A comprehensive package of products and services helps retailers prevent and monitor theft, protect their customers and staff and efficiently manage data to simplify and empower both internal reviews and sharing information with law enforcement where necessary.

Axon Body 3 body-worn cameras encourage better behavior in security interactions on both sides of the camera, while TASER 7 de-escalation tools help security staff in high-crime areas protect employees and business assets without taking a life. Meanwhile, the Axon platform eliminates manual recordkeeping processes to keep every member of your staff focused on providing excellent service instead of filling out lengthy reports, and an extensive training program ensures your company is ready to use each tool and tactic effectively.

If you’d like to learn more about how Axon’s loss prevention services can fit with your business’ goals, speak with an Axon professional today.