Retail crime is on the rise*, with many shop owners every year faced with violence, theft and spurious liability claims. The effects of retail crime can be devastating to both the personal welfare and the livelihood of independent retailers.
At The Retail Mutual we have seen claims for theft and for criminal damage rise in recent years, and with many incidents over in less than five minutes many culprits escape justice. So what steps can you take to minimise the chances of your store being targeted? And what should you do in the event of the unexpected?
Window displays & CCTV
Avoid leaving high-value items in your window displays, and if you deal in stock with a flourishing sell-on market, alarms and locked displays can be useful deterrents. CCTV is also effective, though you may be surprised by how many retailers forget to ensure their cameras are recording, or fail to retain the footage in the event of an incident.
Consider your cash
If you operate in a sector that remains relatively cash-heavy, always empty your till of cash overnight and leave the drawer open to make it clear that it is empty. Avoid storing large quantities of cash on the premises at any time, even in a safe, and try to vary your banking days and times to avoid being followed and targeted. If you do use a safe in your shop, ensure it is fireproof, burglar-resistant and anchored securely.
Use lighting for optimum visibility; your store is less vulnerable to burglary if it is well-lit inside and out, especially around doors and other possible entries. The minimum standard for locks on doors should be BS3621, as recommended by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the police service.
Goods in transit
Stay vigilant when transporting stock outside of your store. Use money pouches if necessary and keep them on your person, try to ensure that at least two people load and unload your vehicle, and try not to leave it unattended even under lock and key.
Health and safety
Minimise the chances of slips and trips in your store, and ensure that your staff are well-versed in health and safety issues. Wet floors, discarded wrapping or boxes on your shop floor or badly affixed doormats not only pose a threat to you, your staff and your customers but they can also make you a target for an opportunist in pursuit of a fraudulent liability claim.
Do make sure you have the right levels of cover to keep your business protected:
- If you employ staff you are required by law to have Employer’s liability cover to protect both them and yourself
- If you own your premises you will need buildings cover
- Whether you own or rent your premises, you may wish to cover your fixtures and fittings in case of loss or damage. This might typically cover items such as display units, refrigeration equipment EPOS systems etc.
- When considering your stock cover, you should be covering yourself for the ‘Maximum Value at Risk’. This means calculating the maximum it would cost to replace a complete loss of all your stock and setting your cover levels accordingly
- If you shop regularly at a cash and carry or other supplier, consider taking out cover for goods in transit to protect your stock from supplier to store
- Check your policy terms when it comes to cash. Make sure you know your safe limits and manage your cash levels accordingly
- With ram raids and other violent store-front attacks on the rise, many retailers are choosing to take out specific cover for your shopfront. At The Retail Mutual we include fixed glass cover as standard with your buildings cover
- Public liability can protect you from claims made, for instance as the result of a slip or trip in your shop
- For small business owners, Business interruption cover can be invaluable for keeping you and your business afloat during the time that your claim is being processed
* British Retail Consortium Annual Report, February 2017