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Three ways to improve retail loss prevention during COVID-19

Filed under: Loss Prevention, Retail

Retailers are facing many challenges due to COVID-19, and unfortunately, one of those challenges has been an increase in theft.  According to Forbes, small businesses have reported that shoplifting incidents have increased by 40% since the pandemic began.

Now more than ever, it is imperative that retailers strengthen their security and loss prevention efforts.

One way to do this is to ensure you’re investing in the right technology. Video surveillance is obviously a core component of any good loss prevention plan, but there are some specific cameras and video surveillance functionalities you should consider if you’re looking to better target shoplifting and theft.

We’ve outlined three of these technologies below:

A covert camera

Unlike a regular security camera, which is mounted in plain sight, a covert camera is positioned discreetly inside a wall or ceiling.  It’s a great solution for capturing clear, eye-level images of faces and other relevant identification details. By mounting a covert camera inside a height strip housing next to an exit door, the camera will be positioned directly at eye level with a person’s face for a more reliable identification, even when a person is wearing a mask or hat.

Video snapshot from a covert camera of a person wearing a mask from eye-level view in a retail environment.

In this video snapshot from a covert camera placed at eye-level, you can still see the person’s identifiable features even while wearing a mask.

A low-profile height strip housing not only keeps the camera out of sight, but when paired with a ceiling mounted camera, allows you to identify how tall a person walking through the door is. These are important features that will help you identify someone who has potentially committed a crime.

By adding covert cameras to your existing surveillance system, you can also reduce or eliminate blind spots that your current cameras may not be capturing. Cameras with a modular design and a separate encoder, like our SE4 Covert Camera, allow for concealment inside a sign, wall or ceiling, which gives more options for placement, covering areas that your current cameras may not be capturing.

Integrating video with POS transactions and other data

When it comes to shoplifting and internal theft, rapid detection is a business’s best defense against damaging losses. Video surveillance systems that integrate with point-of-sale (POS) transaction data can help reduce shrink by immediately alerting retailers to suspicious transactions and activities that can be a sign of internal theft, such as an unusual number of returns, voids, discounts, or under-rings. For instance, if a video alert was configured for merchandise voids, a retailer can investigate every time a void transaction is conducted by an employee at the POS. If an unusual void occurs, corresponding video can be viewed to investigate what took place with a single click.

You can also track inventory and reduce stock losses when your video system is integrated with other types of data, such as radio frequency identification (RFID) data.  This type of solution “tags” the item movement to video every time an RFID-tagged item passes by an RFID reader. This allows you track movement and to search for missing items using the item’s serial number or Electronic Product Code (EPC), and find video showing its last location.

Real-time visual notices about alarms

An image of a smartphone showing a real-time alert message that motion was detected at an entrance with a video snapshot.

Users can be notified on their smartphone when motion detection occurs outside of business hours, like at a backdoor entrance, as pictured above.

Another great way to stay on top of potential theft is to add real-time visual alerts to your video system so you can be notified about situations remotely.  With this type of technology, you can receive real-time instant messages or email alerts about an alarm or event, along with a video snapshot of what triggered the alarm.

For example, when a motion alarm is triggered after business hours, you can be alerted via instant message or email with a video image of the situation. With this one-touch approach to assess the situation, you can determine whether it’s a valid event, such as an evening cleaning crew, or something suspicious that requires immediate action.

It is clear that COVID-19 has placed additional stress on retail businesses, which is why it’s important to have the proper loss prevention technology in place to help rapidly detect and minimize shoplifting, theft, fraud and other retail crimes. Ultimately, retail shrink results in a loss of profits for your business, so investing in the right solution can save you money in the long run.

To learn about additional ways you can improve your business’s loss prevention, visit our Retail Solutions page.

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