Every retail business faces inventory loss. As business owners, how we handle inventory loss (or retail shrinkage) is important. For most, loss prevention is a top priority. While it’s true that today’s surveillance technology can help with inventory loss, it’s not foolproof. Improved security monitoring may begin with security cameras, but it doesn’t end there. To establish a robust security plan and combat retail shrinkage, we should consider a cross-disciplinary approach that includes both electronic security and uniformed security officers.

Uniformed officers are considered by many business owners to be indispensable when it comes to combating theft and maximizing loss prevention. Let’s look at the reasons.

Primary Causes of Retail Shrinkage:

There are three primary causes of inventory loss:

  • Shoplifting

  • Return Fraud

  • Employee Theft


Shoplifting is one of the biggest contributors to inventory loss, and the cost of merchandise stolen can vary widely with some items being quite expensive. Retail establishments with poor security are easy targets for experienced shoplifters.

Return Fraud

Return fraud can include things like fake receipts being used to return items, stolen merchandise being returned, and returning merchandise that was purchased with counterfeit money.

Employee Theft

No business likes to think about employee theft, but the truth is it happens. Employee theft happens in a variety of ways including:

  • Front end employees not scanning items purchased by friends or family

  • Taking small unnoticeable amounts of money cash drawers

  • Direct merchandise theft

  • Knowingly accepting fake returns and issuing store credit

Combat Retail Shrinkage With Uniformed Security Officers

It may seem old-school, but the presence of security officers in your retail store is an effective way to monitor your business. They are highly trained and will keep an eye on both potential shoplifters and employee fraud.

How can security officers help your business?

There are two types of security officers available — uniformed and undercover. Let’s take a look at how each can help secure your business:

  • Uniformed security officers send a clear message to would-be criminals: “We’re watching you.” Potential shoplifters or employees considering fraud will fear being easily identifiable and think twice about committing illegal acts.

  • Undercover — or plainclothes — security officers can assist in preventing theft by experienced shoplifters or employees. By not wearing a uniform, these officers blend in with other shoppers. This puts would-be thieves at ease until it is too late making it easier to catch them in the act.

Don’t let security officers go it alone

Security officers will greatly enhance your business’ security. They are most effective when they are part of a cross-disciplinary plan that includes surveillance cameras, warning signs, fraud-proof return policies, and secure POS (Point of Sale) systems. At National Protective Services, Inc., we can help balance your approach to security and reduce inventory loss. Call us today at 800-382-2703 for help implementing your loss prevention plan, or visit NPSVA.com to schedule a free security consultation. Our security solutions will eliminate your security worries!