How to choose the right retail security system for your business

Why retail security systems and security for stores are essential

In retail environments, loss prevention is often the main store security concern. According to the National Retail Federation, retail businesses lost $61.7 billion in 2019 due to thefts and burglaries. Without a strong security system for retail stores set in place, a retail space is at risk of violent crimes, increased liability, and loss of profit. Comprehensive retail security systems allow owners to oversee every activity that takes place in their store and launch the appropriate security protocols the moment suspicious activities are observed. 

Security for stores also goes beyond physical security. A retailer’s network should also be protected, as hacks or breaches can result in compromised customer and company data like credit card information, names, addresses, and other confidential information. According to the IBM Cost of Data Breach Report, the average cost of retail data breach in 2022 was $3.28 million. Having a strong retail cybersecurity system can help operators identify potential issues, mitigate damages, and strengthen security in stores.

Secure Openpath access control for retail spaces
  • Easy integration with alarm and video security systems

  • Infinite scalability to secure a single store to multiple locations

  • User-friendly dashboard to easily issue and revoke credentials 

  • Ability to automate access based on set door schedules 

  • Mobile capabilities to manage employee access remotely

  • Keyless and secure PIN-based access with unique codes

  • Convenient access with touchless Wave to Unlock

  • Smart Readers with HD cameras for enhanced visual verification

  • Lockdown plans that work for a range of security scenarios

Retail store security systems for different types of retail spaces

Different stores require different security tools, procedures, and store security devices. Most retail store security devices include door locks, access readers, video cameras and alarms. The square footage of the store, where it’s located, what you sell and how many employees you have all influence which retail store security solution is the best option. Here are the different types of retail security systems that work best for each space:

Standalone retail store security solutions

As standalone buildings are likely to have multiple entry and exit points, it is important to secure all entrances and doors with strategically placed retail security cameras. To capture all activity clearly, choose a camera with a wide viewing angle.

The neighborhood where the retail store is located and crime rates also have a large effect on the retail store’s security needs. Security in retail stores includes physical security measures such as installing lights and putting up signs to let people know that the area is under surveillance.  

Without the infrastructure of a mall, standalone retail stores have more freedom to choose retail store security devices that fit their needs. However, not having security support from an establishment means that a store needs to invest in a custom retail security solution. To save on costs without sacrificing in-store security, choose a cloud-based system with remote management that allows owners and operators to oversee security for retail stores from anywhere and at all times.

In-store security for mall and indoor locations

Retail access control is an integral part of security at malls, as an indoor shopping center sees a large number of customers and staff entering and exiting. Large crowds are more challenging to regulate in bigger shared spaces, and access control offers a way to confirm employee identity, grant access to restricted spaces, and prevent loss. In terms of public access, customers need easy entry and exit during operational hours, both to the general mall space and to individual stores. Having a flexible management system for shopping mall security that allows operators to set door schedules can automatically facilitate frictionless access during mall hours. For employees who may need after-hours access to open and close stores, card access systems can support more secure entries. Look for systems such as mobile credential readers, key card readers, and PIN code and access control keypads that can help verify identity and permit entry to employees-only spaces. 

Retail spaces inside malls typically have one way in and out of the store, and installing a retail alarm system like alarm gates at this entry and exit point can alert staff when a customer attempts to walk out of the store with unpaid items. Other methods to prevent theft include having a strategic store layout that eliminates blind spots for retail security cameras. Having more employees working during congested hours like weekends also deters theft and helps control what happens inside the store. 

Retail store security for jewelry and electronics stores

When it comes to security, high-end or luxury retail stores that carry high-value items like jewelry and electronics should have specific methods of storing merchandise. Jewelry is commonly stored in a locked glass or acrylic case and requires an employee’s personal assistance for customers to touch and inspect the items. After hours, valuable merchandise may be kept in a safe that requires a PIN code to access. Many designer stores also require customers to make appointments in order to enter the store. A cloud-based system that can conveniently issue visitor passes to customers or allows remote unlock is particularly useful in making the process frictionless. 

As items sold in jewelry stores tend to be smaller in size, having merchandise attached to retail store anti-theft devices or retail security tags ensures that no item leaves the store without being paid for. Store owners might also benefit from having a retail store alarm system and security cameras installed that cover all entrances and exits, the register, and restricted areas. Because jewelry is smaller in size, a high-definition camera with a zoom feature can be especially useful in observing when customers and employees handle the jewelry. 

It is also common practice for jewelry stores to have ballistic windows and to install “mantrap” doors to lock burglars in a contained space near the exit as they attempt to leave the store with stolen goods.

Retail store security systems for multilevel and department stores

Large multilevel spaces rely on commercial security systems for retail stores to automate and streamline processes. The lack of contact between employees and customers in large retail spaces calls for stricter surveillance. Having security cameras installed throughout the store gives teams a holistic view of security in retail stores and helps them take action the moment irregular movements are detected. Better surveillance also means setting physical security measures like having security guards move throughout the store and observe activities at entry and exit points. Other physical security measures for large multilevel retail stores include installing alarm gates in retail stores and readers at loading areas to control access for deliveries.

In terms of securing valuable merchandise and preventing loss, chain hypermarkets depend heavily on the use of anti-theft devices. This type of retail space typically has aisles of electronic items that need to be secured with Electronic Article Surveillance or EAS security systems like display stands that can lock high-value items in place. 

A retail space with a large volume of merchandise can benefit from having a smart inventory management tool that allows operators to take regular stock counts and monitor discrepancies. In addition to using inventory management software, setting cybersecurity measures to protect the network is especially important for big retail organizations, as the huge volume of merchandise and a big customer database can make them a target.

10 best practices for retail security systems in stores

Building an effective in-store security plan is an essential step in preventing loss and maintaining the wellbeing of employees. Here are 10 steps you can take to create a retail store security plan that allows you to simplify procedures without sacrificing security:

  1. Choose convenient access control systems that support mobile and keyless entry systems instead of the more cumbersome physical keys that can be costly to issue and replace. 

  2. With high employee turnover, credentials should be easily managed, issued and revoked, such as with cloud-based access software. 

  3. All retail stores should have a store alarm system that alerts operators when break-ins happen. For loss prevention, install alarm gates to alert security teams of potential thefts.

  4. Installing security cameras is an efficient method to prevent theft. When incidents occur, video footage can also provide evidence for insurance claims, audits, and legal purposes.  

  5. For an effective retail security system, integrating enterprise security solutions like access control, video security, alarm systems, and anti-theft devices for retail stores helps operators be more proactive in taking action the moment potential issues arise. 

  6. Keep high-value merchandise like jewelry in a locked display case to prevent theft. After-hours, secure items in a restricted area with PIN-based access. Other expensive items can be secured with security tags for retail stores and anti shoplifting devices like locked display stands and magnetic holders. 

  7. Create an open store layout with no blind spots that helps employees have clear lines of sight of customers and entries. 

  8. Station security guards at a retail store’s entry and exit points. For larger retail spaces, have guards move throughout the store. 

  9. Create emergency plans for unexpected incidents. Lockdown plans can quickly shut all entry and exit points to protect the people inside a retail space, or unlock all doors to allow people to exit safely.

  10. Have cybersecurity measures in place to protect your network from costly data breaches.