Anti-shoplifting strategies are devised for retailers and aimed towards reducing retail shrinkage. Across Australia, millions of dollars’ worth of merchandise is targeted by shoplifters. Rightly so, anti-shoplifting products are increasing and in demand, as all stores, no matter what they sell, are susceptible to shop theft – an ever-growing concern among small and large retailers alike. If your store suffers from shop theft, a few easy anti-shoplifting tips could help you identify shoplifters and their techniques and shared with all store staff.
Identify a shoplifterA typical shoplifter is difficult to describe unfortunately, as they are across all demographics. There are ways, however, to practice identifying abnormal consumer behavior signs. Be alert with shoppers who might:
- watch store staff more than a normal customer
- come in a group while some distract store staff
- wear baggy clothes or carry old empty bags
- enter the dressing room with a large amount of merchandise and leave with fewer
- fiddle with stock with little or no interest in buying
- have entered the store frequently without making a purchase to plan the best way to steal
A simple gesture such as asking them if they require assistance is an effective anti-theft technique used by staff that discourages the shoplifter.
Store DesignGood store design and management, teamed with consistent security practices shared with all store staff, is imperative to any anti-shoplifting strategy. Store layout and product placement work synergistically to deter stock loss. In the past, high-shrink stock was either put behind the counter or glass cabinets or in the case of leather jackets, chained to the rack. However, innovative technology has freed this expensive merchandise with high-technology electronic security tags and handheld display systems.
- Position the checkout in a place that has a good view central-to-rear of the store for better visibility
- Keep stock neat and not overstocked – this will make it easier to notice if something’s been stolen
- As much as possible, keep shelves and racks as low as possible – this allows a better view across the store
- Display signage that an anti-shoplifting system is in place
- Training Staff
First of all the loss-prevention staff must become very familiar with their store, from the loading dock to the front exits. Also, staff should be aware of the shop floor at all times. A simple acknowledgement or greeting by staff will deter shoplifters by making them aware they are noticed.
Anti-shoplifting EAS systemPreventative measures should be teamed with the technology of an Electronic Article Surveillance security system in your store for maximum anti-theft protection for retailers of all sizes.
- Apply security tags to all high-shrink merchandise. The tag will alarm on exit if it has not been removed by the sales assistant
- Security tags are the perfect anti-shoplifting device as they are a clear and visible deterrent for shoplifters, while unobtrusive to customers
- All types of merchandise can be “tagged” and is therefore a viable option for any retailer
- A system can be suited for all budgets, locations and store fit-out
Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)
CCTV is also a significant deterrent to external and internal shoplifting or embezzlement. The shop owner or manager can gain a better view of potential suspects and record incidents while identifying stock theft patterns in their particular environment. Modern technology allows managers to view live CCTV footage remotely - from another office, home or other portable device such as an iPad or smart phone.
Stopping a shoplifterUtmost caution must be taken by staff when approaching a shoplifter, as wrongly accusing a customer of stealing is not only unlawful, but embarrassing. All store staff should consistently adhere to your store’s guidelines. Here are some quick tips:
- Ensure you’ve seen the person approach the article and take it
- Keep an eye on the shoplifter to ensure he/she is going to leave the store without paying first
- Only when they have left the store – or the anti-theft EAS shop security system has alarmed – should you approach them