Shoplifting is one of the most perpetrated crimes in the nation. Shoplifting cost retailers billions of dollars each year, which causes retailers to pay the cost of the lost merchandise and additional security costs. The additional costs ultimately gets passed along to the paying customers.
Shoplifters come from every part of society, regardless of age, race, gender or socioeconomic status. The two types of shoplifters are professionals and amateurs. Professionals steal items for a living and turn around to sell the items for profit. Amateurs steal for many different reasons, including to fuel a drug habit, for the thrill of stealing, peer pressure or simple opportunity. The majority of shoplifters are amateurs. Prevention and deterrence are the best approaches to deal with shoplifting.
- Greet customers – Greet every customer as you meet, preferably upon their entrance into the business. This makes potential shoplifters know you are aware of their presence.
- Control bags – Control backpacks and parcels brought into your business by customers.
- Keep certain areas always attended – Cash registers, fitting rooms, exits, etc. should never be left unattended.
- Use locked display cases – Expensive merchandise should be locked in a display case and an employee should always be located in the area.
- Control the number of items out of display cases – Allow only one item out of a display case at a time. If the customer tells you they want to by more than one item, have an employee take the items to the register and keep the items at the register until the items are purchased.
- Keep the store neat and orderly – Keep displays fully stocked and in specific patterns that allow you to visually tell if something is missing or out of place.
- Keep registers closed and/or locked – Close register doors before bagging merchandise. Do not allow registers to stay open and when registers are not in use, keep them locked.
- Train your staff – Having a trained and alert sales staff is a major deterrent to shoplifting. Potential shoplifters can be deterred if they see employees watching them and paying attention to what is going on around them. Have staff watch for people hastily leaving the area, who frequent the restrooms, wear clothing which is excessive for the season, etc.
- Use your security systems – If you have an alarm system or security cameras, keep them in good operating condition and use them.