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Tips to Help Prevent Shoplifting

Posted by Kate Seat on 4/29/15 4:00 AM
Topics: retail management, loss prevention, merchandising

Have you considered whether your store layout hinders — or helps— shoplifting? Even if you have some kind of security tagging system, determined thieves could still take advantage of darker corners or areas that are out of the line of sight. Evaluate how vulnerable your store may be, then beef up your loss prevention strategy with these tips from Small Business Trends' Rieva Lesonsky:

Know What Items Are at Risk

Products that are easy to conceal and sneak out are popular targets. So are “impulse” buys. Clothing and accessories, cosmetics, CDs, DVDs, and small electronics or electronics accessories (like smartphone cases) are common targets for theft.

Design Your Store to Foil Shoplifters

  • Make sure your store has enough open space to allow you to see all areas of the store. A cluttered space makes it easier to steal (and harder to tell if anything’s gone missing.)
  • If you have high shelves or secluded corners, use convex mirrors that allow you to see these “hidden” areas from the cash register. Merchandise these areas with products that are bulky and hard to steal.
  • Consider putting valuable items in locked cases so that customers need the help of a salesperson to access them.
  • Place your checkout counter near the middle front of the store so it’s centrally located — and so customers have to pass by while leaving.

Send Warning Signals

  • Installing mirrors or security cameras (even fake security cameras) can convince thieves to go elsewhere or scare opportunistic shoplifters out of acting.
  • You can also post signs saying that the store is protected by security cameras. Even if customers can’t see the cameras, they will likely think they are hidden or disguised.

Use Your Employees as Deterrents

  • Train employees to greet shoppers when they enter the store and to keep an eye on shoppers as they browse (unobtrusively, of course.)
  • Have employees watch for suspicious packages, large bags or customers wearing bulky coats (especially in warm weather.) You may want to ask shoppers with large bags or backpacks to check them at the register.
  • Put locks on dressing room doors so customers can’t enter without help from an employee. Have employees count items when customers enter and again when they leave.
  • Hire adequate staff. A common tactic among retail theft rings is for one thief to distract the sales clerk while another thief stuffs a bag with products.

As you take advantage of these ways to prevent shoplifting, remember that you want your store to be a welcoming place to visit. Friendly staff who greet customers, stroll around, chat and offer assistance with a smile can do more to prevent shoplifting than any security system.

About Kate Seat

Kate Seat is a former copywriter at MBS. When away from work, she’s either creating one-of-a-kind art dolls, reading or watching way too much tv with her husband, daughter and an irritable chinchilla named Klaus.

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