Five Strategies to Stop Shoplifting in Your Business

You walk around the endcap and the “customer” standing in front of your DVD display stands up quickly.  “What was he doing?” you ask yourself.  It looked like he might be trying to put that movie down his pants.  You can’t be everywhere.  Just how are you supposed to stop shoplifting?  It is costing you a fortune by all accounts and retail theft prevention is becoming even more discussed as organized retail crime comes to the forefront with law enforcement and retailers.  Retail theft prevention is every retailer’s business and there are five anti-shoplifting strategies one can employ:  (1) awareness; (2) merchandising; (3) customer service excellence; (4) zero tolerance; and (5) technological countermeasures.

            Awareness is the least expensive solution that the retailer has available to them to stop shoplifting.  People …your staff … are the key to retail theft prevention.  Ensuring that your staff understand pricing, store policies and are trained in what to look for in potential shoplifting behavior as well as what to do and what NOT TO DO when they see a shoplifter is important in anti-shoplifting strategy.  It is important that staff be reminded they are not to be heroes and never are to risk their safety or the safety of your customers for your merchandise.

            Merchandising – everything in its place – is important as well in making it difficult for that shoplifter to make off with your merchandise.  Is your high dollar merchandise too close to the exits?  Are your small, easily concealable trinkets located away from main isles and stacked together on displays so a would-be shoplifter can grab a handful and conceal them?   Are your displays so high that your staff can not see over them or around them?  Are you exits so open without displays moving traffic away from the exits that a shoplifter or a group of shoplifter can push a shopping cart load of merchandise right out the door into a waiting van or car?  If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, you need to take a look at your merchandising plan and consider anti-shoplifting merchandising strategies.

            Customer service excellence pays you dividends in many ways other than ensuring you a happy returning customer.  It also plays a strong role in retail theft prevention.  No shoplifter likes to be noticed and when your staff is asking that shoplifter over and over, “Can I help you?” or “Let me show you our newest line of products that can save you money” they are making that potential shoplifter very nervous indeed – so nervous that he or she is likely to give up their mission and leave your store.  If your store has an excellence reputation for having staff on the floor and demonstrating excellent customer service, they undoubtedly have a strong reputation to the shoplifter of being the place to avoid.

            Zero tolerance is a key to that reputation.  Your store must have a reputation that if one shoplifts there and gets caught they are going to jail and be prosecuted.  This is a conscious policy decision that needs to be discussed with your management team and agreed up in order to ensure there is no deviation from this zero tolerance for shoplifting and you will stop shoplifting.  Shoplifters are like water:  they flow to the area of least resistance.

            Technological countermeasures is the fifth strategy and is the one that is likely to have you do some return-on-investment analysis.  It is often worth the investment, however, if one really wants to stop shoplifting in his or her store.  Checkpoint Systems, for example, has numerous solutions available at different price points to place labels on merchandise that can be detected by Checkpoint Systems’ devices located at your exits should a shoplifter try to leave with the merchandise without paying.  There are other vendors besides Checkpoint systems that provide such devices as well.  Closed-circuit television is often a strategy one thinks about as a potential strategy.  This much be clearly thought out, however, because if one should not monitor the systems live or have them monitored, they are only good at detecting who stole your merchandise and when.

               When multiple strategies are used together, including awareness, merchandising, excellent customer service, zero tolerance, and technological countermeasures; it is then when you have strong retail theft prevention in place that can actually stop shoplifting in your store.  You actually don’t have to worry about being everywhere at once to prevent that person from walking out of your store with the DVD.  Your strategies will do it for you!

For more information about shoplifting, contact us: 1.770.426.0547 or









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