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The latest study from the National Retail Federation (NRF) puts retail security solutions in the spotlight. According to the NRF’s 2022 Retail Security Survey, the average shrink rate in 2021 was 1.4 percent – a seemingly small percentage that actually represents $94.5 billion in losses. 

The survey also reported that retailers are facing increases in other security-related challenges, including fraudulent claims and violence by customers against staff. Furthermore, a report in Loss Prevention Magazine found that employee internal theft had also increased significantly in 2022.

In response, the NFR survey indicated many retail operators planned increased budgets for loss prevention and technology, with 52.4 percent increasing expenditure on capital equipment for retail store security systems. 

To meet these security challenges, it’s essential for management teams and security professionals to select the right security system for retail stores that will provide the optimal level of protection of security in stores against internal and external threats. 

This guide includes five benefits and best practices for planning and implementing retail security systems to minimize risk while maintaining the best possible customer experience in-store.

Improve situational awareness and response for retail security

Robust and reliable security in stores is imperative. Security professionals need 24×7 awareness of activity in and around the store so they can prevent theft, prioritize employee safety and detect and respond rapidly to incidents.

A security system for retail stores, or for security at malls, incorporates commercial security cameras, retail store alarm systems and automated alerts. These features enable security experts in the retail industry to monitor vulnerable areas inside and outside the store and identify incidents that require response or further investigation. 

Security professionals can analyze video feeds using video analytics software and artificial intelligence technology, which makes it easier to identify risks or patterns of behavior that represent a threat to the store. 

Leveraging store alarm systems for loss prevention 

A retail store alarm system provides essential notifications and alerts in the event of a break-in or other incident. Similarly, an EAS security system (electronic article surveillance system) works with detection antennas installed at the store exit and hard retail security tags for retail stores or labels attached to store merchandise to also prevent theft. Retail store anti-theft devices, or anti shoplifting devices, can reduce the risk of loss through shoplifting. Anti-theft devices for retail stores also work alongside readers and alarm gates in retail stores, which all act as part of a greater retail security system to protect your business’ ROI.

Retail alarm systems and solutions mean that retail business owners don’t have to rely solely on security guards to maintain in-store or shopping mall security. While break-ins are most likely to occur outside business hours, retailers don’t have to maintain guards or monitoring teams on-site all the time. IP security cameras (vs. analog cameras), networked retail alarm systems and EAS systems can transmit their digital feeds and alerts via the Internet so that remote monitoring is possible on any Internet-connected device.

Implement comprehensive retail security solutions 

The best form of retail store security provides comprehensive general coverage of the interior and exterior of the store, together with any associated car parks or delivery areas. 

The right security system should also offer more detailed coverage of the most vulnerable areas such as entrances, external doors and windows, stock rooms, checkouts, loading areas or areas of the shop floor where high-value products are on display.

In addition to security video cameras — whether your store utilizes dome vs bullet security cameras—alarms and EAS systems, it’s essential to protect restricted areas within the store, such as stock rooms. Access control systems allow authorized staff to enter by using PIN codes or presenting valid credentials, such as key cards or mobile credentials. These advanced access systems help overcome the risk of lost or stolen keys, too. 

Entrances to restricted areas should be fitted with security doors designed for retail applications. These doors have the strength and durability to resist threats and stand up to high traffic volumes and continuous use with minimal maintenance. The best locks for retail security doors will use electronic or electromagnetic technology to maximize security. Electric strikes or magnetic strike locks are more secure than traditional locks, and can also offer greater opportunity to integrate with a larger retail store security system. 

To plan the optimal retail security system, it’s essential to carry out an assessment of vulnerabilities and any gaps in current security. Design a comprehensive security solution that will minimize risk in those areas. When it comes to security, retail stores will all differ in size, layout and specific security system requirements, so it’s essential to develop an individual security system for each store – there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Professional installers can provide an assessment and design service that will ensure the highest level of store security and loss prevention solutions.

Pelco’s superior retail video security

Improve visibility in retail environments with: 

  • Produces detailed images, even after hours when there’s low lighting or total darkness

  • Detects and alerts you of potential threats so you can respond proactively

  • Reduces bandwidth and storage needs by up to 70% to help keep internet connectivity costs down

Retain store security data for evidence and customer insights

Retail store security systems generate large volumes of data, which can provide essential evidence on incidents as well as valuable insights into consumer trends and behavior. 

For example, security teams can provide proof of a suspected shoplifter, shed light on what happened surrounding a slip-and-fall incident, and help retail store security teams spot internal theft incidents. Images from retail outlets’ security solutions or devices can also help law enforcement identify criminals breaking into a store. 

This important security data can be stored on-site or in the cloud, depending on the needs of the store and location. On-premises video storage devices allow retail store security teams to maintain full control over their systems, but requires additional physical security to keep that data safe. Using cloud storage for retail security systems provides scalable capacity for the high volume of data, and allows authorized personnel to access video footage on fixed or mobile devices from any location via secure Internet connections.

While the data from cameras is used primarily for security analysis and records, it can also provide insights for planning other store operations. The latest CCTV camera technology can highlight changing patterns of foot traffic that may not be obvious from anecdotal evidence. Footage can also be analyzed to measure customer interest in certain products or types of merchandise display. This can influence future product or merchandising decisions. 

Although there is no fixed term for data retention, it should only be stored for the maximum period necessary in compliance with any relevant data protection or privacy legislation. 

Integrate retail store alarm, devices, and security systems for total store security

Security cameras, alarms, electronic article surveillance system, security gates, access control systems, and network security form a comprehensive store security system. Together with fire or smoke alarms and environmental controls, retail security solutions and systems can help ensure a safe environment for the store and prevent damage to the property or business.

However, if these retail store security devices operate as standalone, siloed security systems, that can prevent safety and security teams from having a holistic view of store activity, increase the rate of false alarms and slow down incident response times. By selecting security devices and systems built to open standards, security professionals or retail store business owners can work with systems integrators to create a single, integrated smart solution that supports increased situational awareness, faster response to incidents and more efficient management based on shared security information. 

If you have any in-store security system components installed, ensure they support easy integration with any new systems you plan to implement. 

Balance mall and retail store security with customer experience 

Comprehensive security for stores is essential, but it should not impact customer experience. When planning security solutions for your retail store, aim to make any retail in-store security devices discrete by blending them where possible with the store’s architecture or fittings.

While concealing security devices in-store may be important, exterior security cameras, together with security lighting and surveillance notices, should be visible to act as a deterrent to criminals. 

How to plan a retail security system and alarm solution for your store or shopping mall 

Security for retail stores is a top priority. A comprehensive retail security solution should be based on accurate assessment of vulnerabilities inside and outside the store. Factors to consider when choosing retail store security systems include: 

  • The size and layout of the store

  • How many locations or sites need security

  • Whether the store is a standalone location or inside a mall

  • If there are existing retail security systems in place

  • Employee turnover and needs for staff access

  • How delivery and loading docks will be secured and monitored

  • Whether retail security system data will be stored on-site or in the cloud

No matter what the size or location of your retail store, the security systems you choose should maximize safety, prevent loss, damage or other issues, protect employees and maintain an in-store environment that ensures the best customer experience. 

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Our video security experts can help you implement the right security system for your business.