Retail managers work to reduce shrink, which refers to losses of merchandise or revenue due to theft or undercharging. According to IBM's National Retail Services Center, shrink accounts for 1 to 3 percent of a store's total sales. Retail cashiers handle money and process transactions, placing them at the center of a store's operations and making cashier security an important area in which to reduce shrink.
One policy retailers can implement to enhance cashier security is to require identification for anyone who uses a register or processes a point of sale transaction. This identification can take the form of an ID card that the cashier swipes to access the system or a personal identification number that the cashier must input to log in. This creates a record of each transaction -- including which cashier was involved -- for future reference. It also prevents other members of a retail sales staff from sharing devices without identifying themselves, which can make it difficult to assign blame for errors.
Retail stores typically include some sort of surveillance, which can be useful for securing cashiers as well as merchandise throughout the store. Cameras record transactions and monitor cashiers at the point of sale as well as throughout the store, including in break rooms or outdoor areas. Employers can choose to install surveillance cameras that are synchronized to point of sale transactions -- meaning that only the moments when a cashier processes a payment are recorded -- which reduces concerns about privacy while still providing security for the cashier and employer.
Using a Safe
An in-store safe can help secure cash and documents, but only when a business has a workable policy for cashiers to use it. Access to a safe must be controlled, with only trusted managers or supervisors carrying keys or knowing the combination. This type of security policy should also include provisions for emptying the safe on a regular basis and making bank deposits. A safe policy may also limit the amount of cash that a cashier may hold in a register at any time.
To keep cashiers and the money they handle safe, retail employers should enforce an accountability policy that applies to every member of the retail workforce. This type of security policy should involve counting cashiers' drawers at the end of each shift and recording sales data for cross-checking and future reference. The policy should also address handling secure credit card information to prevent fraudulent charges. Cashiers who routinely allow shrink to occur or mishandle credit cards may then face discipline -- including written reprimands, probation periods and even termination -- to demonstrate the employer's commitment to security to other cashiers.