theft (12)I don’t care about solving social problems. I don’t care about saving the world (okay maybe I really do). But I cannot fix many of these things myself. I cannot make shoplifters change their evil trade for real work. But I can make shoplifters go somewhere else and leave my customers alone. 

I have been doing this all throughout my career starting as a Store Investigator through District and Regional Loss Prevention Manager positions. This culminated with being the successful Director of LP for several large Retailers including one international company.  Add to that all these years with my own company. I know how to stop shoplifters and what to look for.

If you want to attack shoplifting and fix it once and for all you need to understand who the shoplifter is and how they shoplift. There is not enough space in this article to teach you all that needs to be said. However, there are several important points you must understand to fight off the shoplifters.

First, you must understand that you are not going to “stop” shoplifters from doing what they do. They are going to steal regardless of what you do. What you can do is send them elsewhere. Down the street to someone else who is not prepared. Don’t be THAT guy!

To do this you need to do two things: know your enemy and have the equipment (Checkpoint & Alpha) in place to make your store a hostile environment for them but a delight for your good customers.  I am not going to talk about Checkpoint and Alpha here. You know how to reach us for that.

I want to discuss knowing your enemy, the shoplifter.  There are three types of shoplifters:

  • Impulsive shoplifters who steal because the opportunity exists.
  • Amateurs who steal consistently. They usually keep the merchandise.
  • Professional thieves who steal to resell the merchandise.

Shoplifters can look like anyone! In fact, if you think you know what they look like, you are fooling yourself. Because you have a stereotype in your mind, then you are missing most of them. Shoplifters will most likely try to blend in and look like your normal customer traffic. That is their stealth: hide in plain sight.

When do they tend to steal? The simplest and best answer is any time you or your staff is not paying attention. I can give you a list but not all of it will apply to your individual store. So do this. Observe your operations, I mean take a hard look. Ask yourself, “When would I steal, if I were a low life scum of the earth shoplifter?” Even better, since you are probably too close to the forest to see the trees, ask someone you trust to look at this. Not a Police Officer, employee….. someone that will give you a real, sometimes hard to swallow answer.  Then make adjustments to what and how you operate.

How do they conceal and steal your merchandise?  Well, the list is almost endless and you should ask me to conduct my live webinar for you and your staff (my commercial). By the way my webinars are free of charge and can be as frequent as necessary for our customers. 

Now that the commercial is over, some of the most common ways they conceal is with pockets and purses. Simple is usually the answer.  You also want to watch for shopping bags and baby strollers (also known as shoplifting buggies). 

There are other issues you need to understand such as distraction, refunding, tag or package switching and more. But for that I guess you will just need to become a customer or if you already are a customer, simply pick up the phone, call us and schedule the free training. 

Have a SUPER February!