Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers face the threat of shoplifting every day, requiring reliable theft prevention that prepares employees and protects inventory.
Without taking anti-theft measures, companies may experience increased stock discrepancies, diminishing the bottom line. By learning how to stop shoplifting, retailers can protect their assets to reduce shrinkage and profit loss.
10 Ways to Stop Shoplifting
Studies show that more than $13 billion worth of inventory is stolen from retailers each year. Shoplifting is a primary cause of inventory shrinkage that can significantly limit the bottom line.
By preventing theft, retailers can secure their inventory and preserve profits.
1. Keep the Store Organized
By keeping the store organized at all times, employees know exactly where items should be, making it easy to detect when products go missing. On the other hand, chaotic shelves make it difficult to recognize if goods were stolen.
It is easy for shoplifters to swipe a product from a shelf that is in disarray. Therefore, products should always be pulled forward to the edge of the shelf so employees can quickly notice when items are missing.
However, this does not mean stores should stock their shelves to capacity, as overstocking items can make it challenging to discern the appropriate stock level.
In order to maintain organization, retailers should set a schedule for employees to return products to their correct aisles, especially during busy seasons, such as Christmas.
2. Learn Common Shoplifting Tactics
Thieves are always innovating ways to shoplift to avoid getting caught. It is the retailer's responsibility to understand the most common shoplifting tactics to adequately protect their inventory.
- Shoplifters will often work in pairs - one will distract workers while the other grabs the products.
- Most thieves hide items in their clothing or other products they've purchased that can hold materials, such as purses, strollers, boxes, and shopping bags.
- Some shoplifters swap the price tags of their expensive product with a cheaper item.
- While seen less often, some thieves wait for the most opportune time to grab an item and run out of the store. This typically occurs during busy hours, when employees are distracted performing duties or helping customers.
3. Optimize the Store Layout
By optimizing the store layout, businesses can strategically place roadblocks and security checks, making it harder to shoplift.
Most retailers place their checkout counter near the entrance and exit, so all shoppers must pass by employees before leaving the establishment. This gives workers the opportunity to continuously check consumers, deterring thieves.
Companies should also be careful to eliminate blind spots throughout the store so employees can monitor each corner. This means expensive items should always be kept under lock and key, each aisleway should have bright lighting, and product displays should remain below eye level.
4. Install Security Cameras
Rather than having a reactive approach to shoplifting, security cameras give stores the chance to detect browsers that are acting suspiciously before they steal. In some cases, security cameras also reduce retailers' insurance premiums.
5. Add Mirrors
Mirrors are an excellent, cost-effective alternative to security cameras, as they reduce blinds spots within the store. By placing mirrors in awkward corners, employees can increase their visibility to keep an eye on shoppers.
6. Use Customer Service as Prevention
Companies should consider working theft prevention into their customer service training. Retailers can significantly reduce shoplifting by implementing simple measures.
- Greeters are great for welcoming new and returning customers, as well as acknowledging shoplifters.
- By maintaining adequate staff levels on the sales floor, thieves are more likely to get caught.
- Employees should go around asking customers if they need any assistance to address concerns and show shoplifters that the staff is attentive.
7. Use Signage to Deter Thieves
Retailers often use signs that state their anti-theft measures to inform shoplifters that they are being monitored. These signs typically have a camera logo as well as the legal repercussions of theft, making shoplifters second guess themselves before stealing.
8. Train Employees
Employees should be able to recognize the common shoplifting schemes, such as price switching and false returns, as well as recall the company's anti-theft protocols. Staff must understand how to appropriately deal with thieves to avoid aggression.
In some cases, employees should alert one another and address the shoplifter, while in other cases, they should call the police or their security guards. It is vital to assess the situation carefully before taking action.
9. Utilize Inventory Management Tools
Proper inventory management practices minimize shoplifting, as it allows employees to track products throughout the supply chain. This makes it easy to detect shrinkage and discrepancies.
With a point-of-sale (POS) system, retailers can record updated product locations, quantities, returns, and orders, showing managers exactly how many items should be at each store. Therefore, if physical stock counts do not match, they can determine if it is due to shoplifting.
10. Identify At-Risk Items
Most thieves do not go directly for expensive items, such as electronics or jewelry. Instead, they often target small products that are easy to take and hide.
Therefore, stores should define their most expensive and stolen products and determine the safest storing location. Retailers can place these goods in highly visible aisles or under lock and key.