The National Retail Federation’s 2022 Security Survey found 37% of retail shrink was due to external theft and amounts to a $100 billion dollar problem. For most small brick-and-mortar businesses, shrinkage due to shoplifting can feel incredibly frustrating and violating. Nothing is worse than losing big chunks of money to petty theft. Luckily, a lot of this is preventable!
This article will give you ten steps you can take to reduce and prevent shoplifting in your store TODAY!
1. Know what to look for!
It is crucial to learn and understand the most common shoplifting tactics and methods. This will enable you and your employees to know what to look out for. Some of these include tag teaming, using strollers or umbrellas, layering clothing in fitting rooms, and of course large bags or backpacks. By knowing how people might steal, you can better identify suspicious behavior in your store.
It is also a good idea to enforce that shoppers leave backpacks and umbrellas in a secured area at the front of your store. Ensure them that their bags will be untouched and safe from any theft as well.
2. Optimize your store’s layout.
It is best to make shoppers feel as if they are in plain sight. An open layout with wider aisles, lower shelves and displays, and bright lighting makes your store look sleek and safe. If your checkout section is in the back of your store, it’s a good idea to rethink that placement and move it to the exit/entrance. Give your staff a fair chance to notice shoplifters before they leave the store. Eliminate any blindspots and maintain clear sightlines to further deter the thieves. Prevention is key!
3. Keep it clean!
If your store is crowded and untidy, how will you even notice if something has gone missing? Unfortunately, having items left in the wrong sections, overstocking shelves, and failing to properly inventory merchandise make shoplifting easy. Make it a habit to be tidying and organizing on a regular basis.
4. Improve customer service.
Use high-quality customer service as prevention. Greet all customers as they enter your store, acknowledge that you are aware of their presence and alert them to yours. Make sure you are not understaffing your store. Staff your store adequately to avoid the tag team theft tactic, and frequently offer assistance to customers as they browse your shop.
Adding signage to your store is super low-cost and effective at preventing shoplifting! Show that your store has taken measures to detect theft and that any shoplifters will be prosecuted. There is nothing quite like a “smile, you’re on camera” sign to deter shoplifting! If shoppers know there is a higher likelihood they will be caught they likely will not take that chance.
6. Invest in a security camera in your store.
An obviously placed security camera will deter shoplifting, allow your staff to monitor shoppers, and compile evidence against shoplifters in the case of future legal action!
7. Erase blindspots with convex mirrors!
Erase blind spots and increase visibility in those awkward spaces in your store. Domed mirrors are a low-tech alternative to cameras.
8. Identify the at-risk items.
At-risk items are typically small, swipeable items that are easy to hide. Put them in a highly visible and highly staffed area in your store. Some businesses have found success with putting them behind locked cabinets as well! Erase any and all blindspots around these high-ticket items.
9. Use security tags.
Tag your higher-ticket items with security tags, such as the ones we offer in our online store. Security tags act as a line of defense and a deterrent to shoplifters. Not only are they nearly impossible to remove without the right technology, if someone knows that removing an item from the store illegally would result in a loud alarm alerting the staff, they might double-think swiping that item.
10. Invest in an Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) gate.
The last and most effective way to prevent a shoplifter is to install high-quality EAS gates. These are positioned at the entrance/exit of the store and alarm whenever a tagged item passes through. This visually deters shoplifters and alerts, staff members, when there has been a theft. They can come in a variety of styles to suit your store. The gate we offer is called “Clarity by INEO” and it comes in a sleek, clear acrylic that gives every store a modern and sophisticated appearance. These systems essentially pay for themselves.
Shoplifting is a problem that hurts every retailer, but it can be prevented and reduced. If you know what shoplifting behaviors to look for, have a clear and tidy store layout, have high-quality customer service, decorate your store with signs, cameras, and mirrors, protect high-ticket items, arm your merchandise with security tags, and have an EAS gate at the doors you will be one step ahead in the fight against shoplifting. Now you are ready to protect your store from shoplifters and stop preventable shrinkage before it starts. Problem solved!
For more information on security products such as tags and gates, visit our online store or call one of our Retail Security Advisors.