Can Your Shelving Prevent Shoplifting? Oh Yeah!!!

Retail shelving along with store design has a huge impact on shoplifting losses. Typically a shoplifter likes and needs privacy even if only for a moment. So why not keep that in mind when designing or remodeling your store. Your shelving and isles can work for you by simply considering several factors.

Shelving height can be critical. It may be tempting to have shelves go all the way to the ceiling. However, this creates cover for shoplifters. They feel more secure when they cannot be seen. Shelving that allows your staff to see over and keep track of customers make a shoplifter uncomfortable.

Do not create dead sports. Shoplifters will pick up your merchandise and head for “dark areas” of your store. Areas when they can remove packaging, pricing… and have time to conceal it.

Speaking of lighting. Make sure that you align lighting with your isles. Not only will that encourage sales but again, adequate lighting will not allow shoplifters to get comfortable.

You should also put some thought into your end cap displays. Move small or high value merchandise to end caps that are easily seen by your staff. Likewise place merchandise that is larger and lesser value on end caps that face away from staff.

When designing your stores’ layout consider the foot traffic of staff, customers and shoplifters. We want retail staff and even back office personnel to routinely visit all areas of the store. It may be tempting to have a single direct path but that could leave a number of areas rarely visited by staff throughout the day. That is a gold mine for shoplifters. They watch staff traffic and will naturally migrate to areas less traveled.

Likewise you want your good customers to assist you with shoplifting prevention. They can do this in two ways. If your store is laid out in such a way that keeps legitimate customers spread out and in all areas of the store not just focused in one or two places, then they help you with removing privacy from the shoplifter.

Another technique to shut off shoplifters is to make your legitimate customers into your store security, without the customer even knowing it. You can use a PA system or even radios that can be heard by the public (not on a headset) for this.

To do this make a “ghost call”. If you suspect that shoplifters are in the store then on the PA system say “security to section 3…,” then watch what happens! Legitimate customers will not care, they are not in the mindset to steal. They are focused on what they are looking at. At most they may look up and around, then simply go back to what they were doing. Shoplifters on the other hand will react differently. By calling security to an “area” that is not marked or corresponds to anything such as isle number… the shoplifter does not know what is going on. And that legitimate customer that then happens to come into the isle or area they are in now becomes an undercover store detective regardless of age, gender…. You can even assign ghost calls to staff as a responsibility to be made randomly every hour or so.

All of this because of a little forethought on your part and shelving design help.

Bill Bregar is a 30+ year loss prevention expert. Bill was the Director of Loss Prevention for several major retailers and is now the President of Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. LPSI specializes in Checkpoint Systems anti-shoplifting equipment. He has personally apprehended many shoplifters and over 2300 employees stealing from their employers. Bill can be reached at: [email protected] or at 770-426-0547