7.15.20 – Forbes –
While almost no store owner can prevent theft, break-ins happen often. It is critical to have a plan in place so that you know your store’s contents are protected and insured. Make sure you do your research to see what your insurance covers should your business incur losses due to theft or damage.
It’s hard to believe 2020 has been so tumultuous for businesses. Over the past few months, I’ve spent a lot of time considering the impacts of the coronavirus on small businesses, which were already struggling to compete for survival amid larger chain giants. Events of the past month in which some stores and small businesses were looted had me thinking even more about how a sudden loss can be a devastating blow for small-business owners.
Small, independent store owners can take precautions to prevent and avoid potential losses. While almost no store owner can prevent theft, break-ins happen often. It is critical to have a plan in place so that you know your store’s contents are protected and insured. Make sure you do your research to see what your insurance covers should your business incur losses due to theft or damage.
Protect your point-of-sale system. At the center of every store’s business is their point-of-sale system, or POS. My company offers all-in-one POS systems, so I’ve seen firsthand that it can be one of the most important pieces of equipment because it’s used for checking customers out as well as managing the business’s inventory and other important reporting.
The POS’ data should be regularly backed up in the cloud, and the hardware should be protected by insurance. Some POS companies offer theft replacement when the claim is accompanied by a police report.
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According to the NASP, over $13 billion of goods are stolen from retailers each year. Burglars breaking into a convenience store will likely try to take items of value and the cash drawer. They will be less likely to take the entire POS system if it’s large and robust. However, sometimes stores use a tablet as a POS. These can be very easy to steal, and they’re also a recognizably expensive, coveted device.
For these reasons, a sizable unit might be a better choice for some businesses. It can house stronger and faster software, larger, eye-catching screens and additional features, such as a loyalty program and payment processing. (A number of companies, my own included, offer these types of POS systems.)
That said, there are a few ways you can protect your tablet-style POS system. Store owners can consult their insurance company for information on adding their tablet POS to their policy or contact their POS provider to inquire for details on their theft and damage policy. It’s good practice to lock up the tablet POS in a safe or other secure location when the store is unattended. Some POS have an anti-theft lock feature on them so that if stolen, they cannot be used.
Manage cash wisely. It’s no secret that thieves go after cash. A great way to protect your cash from being stolen is to make sure to empty your cash drawer frequently. Some businesses use multiple cash drawers. A retailer can keep the minimum amount needed in the main drawer and deposit the excess cash into a second hidden drawer. The main drawer can act as a decoy for possible theft, while the hidden drawer remains safe.
Security cameras and an alarm system can also be effective theft deterrents. In research published in 2012 from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte found that 60% percent of burglars said that they would pick a different target if they knew that the location had an alarm, and if unknown ahead of time, 50% admitted that a surveillance camera discovery would cause them to abort the burglary.Footage of theft might able be helpful catching a burglar and can be admissible in court.
Along with video surveillance, having an alarm system can help deter crime and, in some cases, reduce insurance rates. Having the ability to contact authorities with the push of a button allows for a quick and subtle emergency response. A button under the counter or a panic button on the POS also lets the store owner contact authorities swiftly.
With prudent planning and safety precautions, a business will be less likely to sustain damage and losses and more likely to thrive.