Good day and thank you for reading. In a previous article, we discussed a few important benefits a smart safe can provide a specialty retailer, which we classified as organizations that handle lower volumes of cash – up to $1,500 in cash per day – on average. In that article, we discussed improved cash tracking and accountability, note validation and automation, and improved reporting and reconciliation as key benefits that contribute to a strong ROI needed to justify a smart safe purchase.
This article will continue this discussion and will address additional benefits a specialty retailer may derive from adopting a smart safe. To set the same scene as in the last article, the below benefits assume the retailer is not utilizing a cash-in-transit (CIT) service, and instead walks their deposits to their local bank branch.
Greater Cash Security
In any retail environment, it is imperative to mitigate risks of cash exposure, both to internal and external threats. One way to accomplish this is to limit the amount of cash allowed in a till at any given time. By placing a smart safe under the store counter near the register, depositing funds into the safe throughout the business day is a quick and secure process, and will help keep the till amount at or below the approved threshold.
Since the funds are being directly deposited into the safe, it is easy to program the safe in such a way that only certain personnel (perhaps only the store manager) can have access to the deposited funds. This ensures an appropriate and auditable chain of custody in the event any discrepancies need to be investigated.
As mentioned in the prior article, the safe records each transaction to the individual store employee. Since the store’s POS system records all cash sales, having both systems connected to each other provides a strong deterrent to internal employee theft, which is a measurable problem in retail.
Improved Employee Productivity
Even for stores that handle $1,500 per day in cash transactions, using manual processes to account for each employee’s till, reconciling against POS data, investigating discrepancies, and preparing deposits consumes a significant amount of store manager time. This takes them away from more productive activities, including employee training, merchandising, vendor management, customer service, and more.
By leveraging a smart safe, manual processes are now automated, thereby freeing up a significant amount of store manager time that can be re-allocated to more productive activities.
Improved Employee Safety
Implementing a smart safe in a retail environment improves the safety of employees and customers, simply because it reduces the store’s exposure to robbery. By keeping a minimum amount cash in the till at any given time, those inclined to rob a store will likely seek an alternate place to commit their crime.
In addition, simply knowing that large bills and extra funds are secured in the safe enables peace of mind among store employees. Without having access to the funds, employees are only responsible to the funds in their till, which should be kept to a minimum if the right store policies are implemented.
In addition, having the notes counted electronically by the safe to be reconciled against the store’s point-of-sale system also discourages internal theft, and improves cash accountability.
A secure store environment not only affects employees, it also transcends to customers. Customers are more comfortable shopping in a secure environment. They tend to stay longer and spend more, particularly when the store manager has more time to attend to selling, customer service, and merchandising activities.
Faster Deposit Preparation
In a previous article we addressed the costs of cash management, using traditional methods, across different retail functions. Preparing deposits at the end of the day consumes a significant amount of manager time – up to an hour or more in some cases. If discrepancies occur, which is often the case, this timeframe can easily be extended. All of this time takes the manager away from the store, as discussed previously.
With a smart safe, since all deposits are recorded per employee, the deposit preparation process is greatly streamlined. Reports from the smart safe are easily generated, and these can be used to identify the sum of cash deposits made throughout the shift for each employee and compared with their POS totals. Any discrepancies can be easily and quickly identified.
The smart safe can also be used to prepare the deposit, as it can automatically identify the amount of cash in the safe to be deposited, and it can quickly print a deposit report for the bank. This type of automation eliminates the need for manual counting and drives expediency in the deposit preparation process.
For the specialty retailer, smart safes provide numerous benefits even if the retailer isn’t handling a large amount of cash. These include greater security for the store’s cash and employees, improved employee and manager productivity, and faster deposit preparation. Additional benefits were addressed in Part 1 of this series.
So if a retailer were to read this Series and decide that the benefits addressed are important to them and their store environment, they might want to then consider what they need to look for in a smart safe that can deliver these benefits.
We’ll discuss those factors in the next article. Thank you for reading.