Merchandise is a considerable investment and surrendering pieces without getting paid is painful. Especially for small businesses with limited revenue to cover theft expenses and inventory shrinkage. It goes without saying that shoplifting is a major problem in retail. A study found that shoplifting accounts for 36.5% of shrinkage, and the average cost per shoplifting incident was $798.48. That’s a huge chunk of revenue.
All kinds of businesses face the potential for retail theft, but small businesses are exceptionally vulnerable. Most thieves know national retail stores have the cash to invest in video surveillance, closed-circuit television (CCTV), a security guard, and other anti-theft devices. The thieves also know many mom-and-pop shops can’t afford these resources – making these kinds of properties perfect targets.
Luckily, there are methods you can use to identify employee theft, shoplifters and shoplifting methods to create a less attractive environment for stealing your products. You can also implement shoplifting policies and procedures to protect your store against theft.
1. Keep Engaging with Your Customers
Always greet customers when they walk through the door. Your customers are a big part of your business. When there are customers in the store, make sure that you and your employees are circulating, checking in with customers and asking how you can help them. The better you know them, the less likely they are to steal from you. The ones you know by name are aware that you can pick them out of a lineup, and your more honest shoppers won’t be afraid to report suspicious behavior to you.
2. Keep Your Store Organized
It should be easy to identify whether something has gone "missing" from your store - Empty space on your shelves, which should be enough of a visual cue to signal something has gone wrong. However, if your store is messy, disorganized, especially when you’re not sure what goes where, what’s selling, and what’s not. These make it easier to steal for shoplifters. To increase your oversight and minimize the likelihood of stolen items, keep merchandise clean and organized.
3. Keep eyes on the risk merchandises
Shoplifters will likely target small, valuable, easy-to-pocket products like jewelry, clothing and accessories, cosmetics, CDs, DVDs, and small electronics or electronics accessories (like smartphone cases), so store those close to the register, preferably in a locked case. That way no one will ever have unsupervised access to big-ticket items. Obviously, you can’t lock up everything in your store, but keep track of the more sought-after items and keep them in an area that you and your staff can easily monitor.
4. Employee Training and Mirror Monitor
Train employees to watch for suspicious packages, large bags or customers wearing bulky coats (especially in warm weather.) These are often used to smuggle products out of a store. Meanwhile, Hire adequate staff. A common tactic among retail theft rings is for one thief to distract the sales clerk while another thief stuffs a bag with products. If you don’t have enough employees on the floor, you’re setting the stage for shoplifting.
But if you have a large store and a small staff, it may seem impossible to watch every corner at all times. With mirrors, surveillance becomes a whole lot easier. Many stores, from convenience shops to high-end department stores, utilize rounded mirrors in the corners by the ceiling to prevent theft. This provides a broader view, ensuring you can see every last detail on your floor — even a blind spot.
5. The Visual Warning – Sign
Theft prevention signs are common in stores across the country; they often advertise security methods, fines imposed and maximum criminal shoplifting charge. While these signs may seem like all bark and no bite, research shows that a store that emphasizes punishments for shoplifting is far less likely to be robbed. You can also post signs saying that the store is protected by security cameras. Even if customers can’t see the cameras, they will likely think they are hidden or disguised.
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