Top 5 Security Challenges for Convenience Stores

Written by:


Convenience stores are a vital part of the local and national economy. However, they are more closely tied to the local community, as they help the public quickly access the items they need and offer employment opportunities. Just like other businesses, they face their fair share of security challenges. In this post, we will look at the top security risks facing convenience stores, gas stations, and liquor stores.

Merchandise Theft Incidents

Shoplifters and other criminals cause major headaches not only to major retailers but also convenience stores. According to the National Retail Federation, shoplifting and other theft incidences cost U.S. retailers more than $61.7 billion in 2019, up from $50.6 in 2018. Thieves seem to favor targeting corner shops since there are fewer eyes on the lookout, and security systems aren't so sophisticated.

One of the easiest shoplifting deterrents is to make sure that every customer feels that they have been noticed when entering the store. This can be done through eye contact and greetings when a customer enters. In case a potential shoplifter comes in, they are less likely to perpetrate a crime when they know they can be easily identified. Unfortunately, this tactic doesn't always work when the thief is bold enough and experienced. That's why you need to take more measures. Consider the following:

  • Invest in a surveillance system
  • Place video monitoring equipment where they are visible to deter criminals
  • Train employees to acknowledge everyone who enters
  • Train employees on the various techniques used by shoplifters
  • Use lockable display cases for items that can be easily taken
  • Adopt a better inventory control system to detect shoplifting losses early
  • Invest in sensor-based product tags and labels
  • Install alerts that sound when someone enters or leaves the store
  • Create a visible sign warning shoplifters
  • Post a security officer at the entrance

Robbery Incidents

Thanks to high volumes of cash transactions and lack of security personnel in the store, most convenience stores get targeted by robbers. If there is too much cash available in the register, the business could suffer huge losses. Even worse, after getting a windfall, the robbers may attempt to rob you again. If they fail to get the same amount, they may think the cashier is lying, increasing the risk of violence and injury. To minimize robbery incidences, follow these steps:

  • Install proper lighting in the interior and exterior of the store
  • Install bullet-resistant enclosures
  • Invest in a good video camera system
  • Implement cash control systems, such as installing a drop safe to minimize losses
  • Make regular but unpredictable bank trips using different routes
  • Follow a regular training schedule to make sure everyone knows what to do during a robbery situation
  • Create effective lines of visibility around a store to ensure employees can see anything suspicious happening outside and react early, and allow passers-by to see robberies taking place from outside, thus contacting the police
  • Put up a poster indicating that you have a bullet-resistant barrier and a secure safe system to discourage potential robbers 
  • Work with a private security company with mobile patrol guards who will visit the store frequently but randomly

Employee Embezzlement

Sometimes, the major threat to your business occurs from the inside. In fact, most cash and inventory losses are caused by employees. Without the right tools, you can't even tell that the problem stems from your staff. It's also difficult to pinpoint who is responsible, and fellow employees may be uncomfortable reporting a co-worker due to lack of confidentiality.

To prevent this, create anti-theft policies and educate all staff about them, and provide employees with a secure method for them to report co-workers who are stealing. You should also integrate your point of sale (POS) system with video technology to help you effectively analyze transaction data and detect fraud. Security guards are also effective in preventing employees from stealing physical items in the store.

Data Breaches and Digital Theft

Today, convenience stores are increasingly being targeted by cybercriminals. Digital thieves know that small outlets have implemented fewer data security measures, thus making them a prime target. They mostly try to steal payment card data used on POS devices in the store or skimmers on card readers at the pump. They attempt to get the information through malware or accessing employee emails to infect the network. The best way to stay safe from digital attackers is by complying with PCI regulations and adopting the latest cybersecurity measures.

Customer and Employee Injuries

Workplace hazards are a real threat that can endanger customers and staff. The risks can range from slips, trips, and falls, workplace violence, and injuries inflicted by criminals. Slip, trip, and fall hazards can be reduced by inspecting the store regularly and performing safety audits. To avoid workplace violence, run a background check on every person you hire and have a confidential platform where a victim of harassment or assault can report the incident. Injuries caused by criminals can be reduced by training employees on what to do when a crime is occurring in order to minimize risks of confrontation and injury.

Final Thoughts

Although some security risks need a multi-pronged approach, a lot of them can be handled by professional security services. The presence of security officers can deter robbers and shoplifters, dissuade employees from stealing inventory, and prevent and stop violence in the workplace. During the COVID-19 pandemic, security personnel also work as door staff, screening every visitor's temperature and helping your customers maintain social distancing rules in your business premises.

To guarantee the safety, security, and peace of mind of your staff and customers, partner with professional security services. Request a free, no-obligation security assessment and estimate from Signal today!

Schedule a Free Security Assessment

More Articles