How To Prevent Shoplifting In Your Place Of Business

Preventing shoplifting at your small business



Shoplifting is the act of stealing goods and/or merchandize from a merchant or shop. It is one of the most common types of theft today. Security guards, bag checks at the exit and security cameras go a long way in helping to prevent shoplifting. According to the National Retail Federation, Retailers estimate shoplifting, incidents of fraud cost $44 billion in 2014.

One of the most important steps business owners can take to prevent shoplifting is to install a video surveillance system. Proper placement of security cameras, whether hidden or in plain view, is a necessity when protecting your merchandise from shoplifters. Larger stores may require an entire network of cameras and video recorders along with uniformed security personnel. Choosing the surveillance system that fits your needs could require professional assistance.

Installing security cameras is just one of the effective measures you can take to prevent shoplifting. In addition, the key points below will help you on how to go about protecting your store and save you money as well as aggravation.

Train Your Staff

The best way to prevent shoplifting is to train your staff on how to observe and detect common shoplifting behavior patterns. Some of these include; wearing unusually heavy and oversized clothing during the summer season, those who seem nervous or are fidgety and people who take a large number of garments to the fitting room. Have your staff greet each and every customer that walks into your store, this ensures that they know you are aware of them. Consider hiring an expert in loss prevention to help, as these well trained professionals will know more about detecting theft than just using the old common stereotypes.

Clean Your Store And Keep It Well Organized

In the mornings and evenings, walk around your store and pick up all the discarded packets and price tags so you can track what is being stolen as well as learn where the dead spots are in your place of business. Keep all products well organized so as to make it easy to spot any missing items.

Identify Your Store's "Dead Spots"

Dead spots are the parts of your store that very few customers typically go to and are areas that are hidden from staff view. This is where most of the theft can potentially occur. Once you have identified these dead spots, use loss prevention strategies like mirrors, lighting or staff to watch these areas more closely and frequently.

Move Hot Items

Small and expensive items that are most in demand such as jewelry, for example, are usually at higher risk of being stolen. Such items should be moved to where staff can see them very easily. Watch these items closely because they are resalable and easy to steal, prime candidates for shoplifters. Move small, valuable items behind the counter where only staff has access to them.

Some of the most shoplifted items in America are:

  • Razors
  • Wines and spirits
  • Makeup
  • Fashion accessories
  • Sunglasses
  • Mobile phone accessories
  • Lingerie
  • Power tools

Price Tags

Price tags should be firmly attached to the products such that it makes them difficult to be removed or peeled off. With this, you can at least see when theft has been attempted as well as when it has occured. True loss prevention is about measuring all the theft activities in your store so you can manage it better. If possible, try to install electronic tags which can only be removed with special shears.

Don't Jump Into Action Too Early

A product is considered stolen only when it has been intentionally taken out of the shop without being payed for, and it is at this point that legal actions can be taken. If you approach a customer or would-be thief inside the store and accuse them of theft, all they will do is put the item down and walk away. If you are ok with this, then train your staff on how to approach and ask for the items back without detaining them or making a false arrest. A false arrest can lead to counter-charges against you. Check the laws in your state, as each is different.

Fitting Rooms Are Hard To Monitor

There is really not much you can do when a customer takes items into a fitting room to try on. However, try to limit the number of items to 3 and have tags or hangers for all the items so that staff can easily keep track of them and recheck the items back into the displays. Every so often, check your fitting rooms for discarded tags and price stickers. This at least enables you to know what is being stolen and you can put loss prevention strategies to reduce any future theft of those items.