Hardware Retailing

SEP 2016

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | September 2016 58 Loss Prevention You know it's important to keep an eye on security at your store, whether you're protecting against shrinkage or false customer claims. But smart store technologies can help you streamline your security. You can put in a full-store system, or you can get started quickly and inexpensively with one or two old smartphones. Chris Miller, president of Parker's Building Supply, which has 24 locations in Texas and California, uses his security cameras to do more than prevent shrinkage. "We can also use them to keep an eye on what's going on in the store and to counter false claims customers may raise." He says most of his business locations have camera systems, and he has an app on his phone that allows him to check any of the cameras. "Ten years ago, I don't think we had a single camera. The initial purchase of our current system was expensive, but what we've been able to see in the store and how we've been able to use them has made them worth the investment," Miller says. And the cameras do more than help prevent shrinkage. He says they've helped if a customer makes a claim about something that may or may not have happened at the store. "Unfortunately, there have been times when customers falsely accuse us of something. Now, we can go back and verify what happened. Those false claims would have cost us a lot of money had we not been able to prove otherwise. Our cameras have paid for themselves 10 times over." Security cameras are becoming less costly and more effective, as prices drop and camera quality and storage capacity increases. "It's a big win for everyone," says Sam Kirkland, strategic relationship manager for Epicor Software Corporation. Wireless systems are easier to install, and the ability to check the camera feed from a smartphone or tablet means you can quickly check what's going on in the store. That could be particularly convenient if, for example, the alarm system goes off and you need to check if the alarm is false or valid. If you don't want to buy a camera, there is a way to modify an old smartphone so it becomes a security camera. Just download a security camera app—there are a variety available for both Apple and Android devices—and then mount the camera wherever you choose. When it comes to monitoring your store, also consider linking your POS system to your camera security system. This setup is useful in catching any potential employee fraud at the register. "A lot of retailers have a POS that can feed into the security system, so you can overlay what is happening visually at the cash station with the transaction that is being rung up at the POS," Kirkland says. "You can watch the video and connect the POS transaction to the video. This helps catch employee fraud and helps resolve a lot of issues. "With the higher storage capacity, you can capture and save a lot more footage than before," he says. "So where before you could only hold three or four days of security footage, now you can hold a month's worth." Security monitors mounted in Parker's Building Supply make it easy to see what's going on and reminds customers that the cameras are rolling. " You can watch the video and connect the POS transaction to the video. This helps catch employee fraud and helps resolve a lot of issues. " —Sam Kirkland, Epicor Software Corporation

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