Shoplifting is a very common retail crime. According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, there are 27 million shoplifters in the country today and more than 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the last five years.
There is no typical shoplifter and many shoplifters both buy and steal merchandise in the same visit. On average, shoplifters are only caught once out of every 48 times they steal. Habitual shoplifters steal an average of 1.6 times per week.
As you can see from these statistics, shoplifting is a big problem for retailers. It costs retail businesses millions of dollars each year. Therefore, it simply makes sense that store owners would want to do something to cut the risk of shoplifters striking their businesses.
If you want to reduce shoplifting at your retail store, here are four things that you can do.
Organization is important in a retail store for many reasons, and one of these reasons is that it reduces shoplifting. If a store is organized and clean, you can easily tell if someone has removed a product. Have staff walk through the store and keep shelves neat and organized. Make sure all products are at the front edge of the shelf. This way, if something is missing, you’ll notice it right away and might be able to react while the criminal is still inside the store.
Teach your staff to greet every customer who walks into the store. Not only does this make your business a welcoming place, which is good customer service, but it also lets potential shoplifters know that you are aware of them. If you say hello to them when they walk in, they know that you noticed their arrival and that you have your eyes open.
The same strategy holds true when a customer is inside your store, walking the aisles and perusing merchandise. If you see someone acting suspicious, such as taking an unusually long time, seemingly trying to avoid staff, or picking up several random products but showing no real interest in them, have a staff member go over and ask if they can be of assistance. Don’t outright accuse them of stealing if you didn’t actually see them steal anything. Just ask if you can help. This lets them know that you’re watching them.
Watch Your Layout
Shoplifters like to hide in areas where they can’t easily be seen, such as behind high shelves or around corners. They can use these areas of a store to quickly slip items into pockets or bags. Design your store so that staff can easily see every area. Use low shelves, mirrors, and lighting to achieve this.
Use Physical Security
When most people think of physical security, they think of bars and gates that are designed to prevent smash and grab robberies. And this is true. Gates are an incredibly effective physical security tool in these situations. However, physical security can also prevent shoplifting.
Small yet valuable items (like electronics, medication, alcohol, etc.) can be stored behind locked gates or inside secure cabinets. Doing so makes it nearly impossible for a criminal to access these items without the assistance of store staff.
Want some more helpful tips to improving the security of your business? Download our helpful guide to Improving Your Security Mindset.