Habitual shoplifting occur an average of 1.6 times per week. With 1 in 11 Americans shoplifting every day, it averages out to about 550,000 incidents daily. Stores lose billions of dollars each year to customer and employee theft. In recent years, employee theft has become a growing trend, according to the Wall Street Journal. Nearly half of retail employees have admitted to stealing from their employers, contributing to the billions of dollars in profit that are lost each year.
No matter what size a retailer is, they are at risk of shoplifting. First, it's important to understand the methods shoplifters use to steal and the items that are most commonly stolen. Then, with the proper anti-theft systems and practices set in place, retailers can reduce their loss of goods and profits. Discover the methods you can take as a retailer to prevent shoplifting.
- Keep a well lit store. Dark areas can provide an easy hide out for shoplifters to stow away items in their clothing or bags.
- Advertise your policies against theft. Posting the rules and consequences your store follows may be enough to deter someone from stealing.
- Lock expensive items in cabinet displays. Stores should see that these items are kept away from the entryways to a store, making them more difficult to steal.
- Use up-to-date tagging methods. Smart Tagging allows a store to utilize tags with computer chips in them, making it easy to track when and where an item was stolen. A tagging option for clothing retailers is Source Tagging, where a tag is sewn directly and unobtrusively into an article of clothing. Apple has even stepped into the theft prevention game, equipping iPhones with an Accelerometer System that has the ability to recognize when theft is occurring.
- Maintain an up-to-date inventory. By keeping track of what comes and goes within your store, you’ll notice a stolen item more easily.
- Encourage your employees to be active with customers. The more a customer feels as if they are being watched, the less likely they will attempt to steal. This is also especially important if you’re running a small operation and lack a security staff.
- Clean up. Maintaining a clean and organized store will attract the right customers. Shoplifters see an unkempt store and know instantly that employees are not paying attention.
- Restrict access to dressing rooms. If you’re store sells clothing, customers may wish to try things on. Have an employee grant customer’s access to the dressing rooms upon request. Employees should keep track of how many items a customer goes into the dressing room with, and ensure they come out with the same amount of items.
- Utilize the right security tools. Equip your store with these security tools, which range from electronics to security personnel.
- Closed Circuit Televisions: A shop owner or manager cannot be throughout the entire store all at once, but that’s where closed circuit televisions come in. These can act as the eyes around the entirety of a store, during and after hours. The cameras are set to record the comings and goings of a store, and can help identify a thief in the event of a shoplifting incident.
- Electronic Article Surveillance: This type of theft prevention comes in the form of tags. The tags contain a technological censor that will cause an alarm to go off if removed from the store premise. When an item is checked out, the tags are deactivated and will not trigger an alarm when a patron leaves the store. Electronic article surveillance often acts a deterrent to shoplifters. If they see the tags, they are less likely to attempt stealing. If they do not see the tags and attempt to remove the item from a store, the sound of the alarm could be enough for the shoplifter to leave the item behind in a panic.
- Security Personnel: Perhaps one of the best methods of preventing shoplifting is to employ a security staff. Security personnel are trained to monitor customers and are equipped to handle a shoplifting situation, should it arise. The size of your store will determine how many officers you’ll need on hand.
Protect your store, your stock, and your livelihood. Lessen theft and theft attempts with these theft prevention methods.