Shoplifting is a continuing challenge for shop owners. From international commercial premises to small independent shops, it’s necessary to put stringent solutions in place to reduce such losses which, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation, amount to over $50 billion per year in the US.
With the average cost of a shoplifting incident amounting to a huge $798.48 (according to the same survey), all stores need to focus attention on reducing this loss of revenue as much as possible.
What Businesses Are At The Most Risk?
- National retail stores
- Small businesses
National Retail Stores
Large concerns are known to have the infrastructure (and funds) in place to deter would-be shoplifters. Surveillance methods, such as CCTV, security guards, alarms, and security tags, are effective methods that help reduce theft.
Small businesses, on the other hand, often don’t have the fund to put such stringent measures in place. Thieves are well aware of this and will deliberately target such locations.
How To Stop Shoplifting: A preventative strategy
- Dealing with theft
It’s really important to understand the statistics behind shoplifting. For instance, theft is more likely to occur at certain times. According to a study by Arizona State University, these are:
– Wednesday through Saturday
In addition, it’s important not to assume that certain types of people are more likely to steal than others. Race, gender, and age are often cited as a way to profile a typical shoplifter. In reality, all shoppers represent an equal risk. Much as you might think that unemployed, hoody-wearing youths are more predisposed to carry out such crimes, it’s just as likely to be carried out by middle-aged men in regular employment.
There are many steps shopkeepers can take to prevent shoplifting occurring.
- Keep your store organized and clean: A tidy store allows you to easily notice if something’s gone missing
- Build relationships: Both with your employees and customers. Internal theft (from staff) is as much of a risk as that carried out by members of the public. Engagement with employees and your clientele goes a long way to preventing malicious behaviors.
- Use anti-theft tools: CCTV and cameras are an obvious choice, but if your budget doesn’t run to this then there are low-cost options, such as anti-theft signs. The strategic placement of mirrors to reduce blind spots is also an inexpensive method of tracking customers.
- Consider your store layout: Try to think like a thief and determine how to make things as difficult as possible to steal. This might include keeping smaller, easy to pocket items in hard to reach (yet clearly visible) locations, and placing the payment point at the front of the store, rather than at the back.
- Train staff to recognize suspicious behaviors: These include large groups entering the store, people who avoid eye contact, looking at the staff instead of the products, multiple entries without buying anything, and wearing unsuitable clothing (such as bulky coats when the weather is hot) in which stolen items can be hidden.
Even the smallest of stores can benefit from a professional overview as to how to best stop shoplifting happening in the first place. The expense of this will very quickly be recouped by the related reduction in product losses.
Dealing With Theft
Of course, there will inevitably be some incidences, no matter how good your preventative measures. Knowing how to deal with these should also be an element of your shoplifting strategy.
- Know the law: Every state has individual laws regarding theft and shoplifting. Speak to local police to understand the intricacies in your areas, and what you can and can’t do regarding suspected thieves.
- Decide on shoplifting procedures: Are you going to prosecute every shoplifter? Will you involve the police or deal with it in-house? Set up a game plan and make sure all members of staff understand what the procedures are.
- Determine whether or not to confront them: Safety should always be the primary concern. The provision of on-site security guards may be a wise move, especially in stores where shoplifting is rife.
- Escort the person back into the store: If confronted, bring the shoplifter back into the store and follow your pre-determined shoplifting properties.
Speak to Fast Guard Service for the Ultimate Shoplifting Prevention Plan
Security experts, Fast Guard Service, are one of the country’s leading providers of security services. Their professional solutions include bespoke assessments of shop premises and the provision of loss prevention security options that address how to stop shoplifting and the means to deal with any incidents that do occur.
Visit //fastguardservice.com to find out more and schedule a call to discuss your needs.