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Retailer’s Guide to Preventing Theft

Every year, shoplifting costs the retailing industry billions of dollars. Employee negligence, crowded stores, and even internal theft can be to blame for huge losses. Even the most secure and attentive retailers are at risk, however, there are key practices that can drastically reduce the rate of shoplifting.

Greet customers as soon as they walk in. This shows that your store is attentive and will notice theft. Potential thieves will immediately be discouraged from stealing.

Watch for suspicious customers. Customers that refuse help, avoid eye contact, are wearing heavy coats in warm weather, and bring loads of clothing into the dressing room should be carefully watched. These are common behaviors of thieves.

Keep your business clean. Showing that you carefully maintain the store shows that you are aware of customer activity and inventory levels. In addition, a clean, open space free from extra boxes and messy displays prevents thieves from hiding merchandise.

Have enough staff. Having enough coverage so that all customers can be taken care of and watched ensures that theft won’t increase during busy hours and seasons.

Install a security system. Protecting your store from overnight break-ins is essential– those tend to result in the largest losses. Your security system should include video surveillance of the entire building, even employee-only areas.

Run a background check on employees. Even the most “nice” interviewees may have a dark past. Running a background check on all your new hires will help to ensure you’re bringing the right people onto your team.

Set up an employee tip line to report suspicious behavior. This will help to establish an environment where employees feel comfortable notifying management about suspicious behavior. Employees will be discouraged from stealing if they think they will be ratted out.

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