Shoplifting cuts into jobs and wages for retail workers, ties up police and court resources, and drives prices up for consumers. Far from being a victimless crime, shoplifting hurts just about everyone.
According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, about 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the past five years. The number of shoplifters who have evaded capture could be even higher. Fortune Magazine says shops lost $32 billion to shoplifting and worker theft in 2014.
Smart retailers can deter shoplifting without having to spend lots of money. Small investments in equipment and training can greatly curtail losses associated with shoplifting.
The following are suggestions by retail experts concerning how to reduce your store’s exposure to petty criminals:
- Use good customer service to your advantage – If your associates greet customers and regularly ask them if they need assistance while they are visiting your store, the opportunity for shoplifting greatly decreases.
- Keep your store organized – Cluttered areas where visibility is poor makes it very easy for shoplifters to ply their trade unseen and unnoticed. Make sure your aisles are clear and that your displays don’t create areas where shoplifters can easily grab merchandise and hide it. Carefully positioned mirrors can also help your employees monitor the store and will deter theft.
- Implement policies for busy periods – During the holidays, you may want to implement bag and dressing room policies that will minimize your store’s exposure to shoplifting.
- Invest in walkie-talkies – Walkie-talkies provide your sales associates a quick way to relay information about possible shoplifters to store security and management. These radios also come in handy for quick communication in emergencies, such as medical events, lost child situations, and structure or equipment failures.
- Train your employees to notice suspicious behavior – There are a number of telltale signs of shoplifting, such as: spending more time watching the clerk than shopping, taking several items into the dressing room but leaving with just one, and acting nervous. Train your employees to be on the lookout for these behaviors.