7 ways to avoid becoming a victim of shoplifting

One of the most common stresses retail shop owners are faced with is shoplifting because loss of stock can put a strain on your cash flow. While security cameras can help you identify suspects after a theft, there are also other ways in which you can moderate the opportunity for shoplifting.

  1. Know the signs: Not all shoplifters use the same tactics , however you can use certain behavioural traits to identify possible shoplifters. Inform your staff on a regular basis on what to look out for in order to spot suspects easier and hopefully be able to stop them in their tracks. Potential shoplifters may display the following actions:- Trying to not get noticed;
    – Looking nervous, walking around nervously, sweating or becoming flushed;
    – Picking up and putting back the same items repeatedly;
    – Looking around more at what’s around them rather than the products in front of them;
    – Wearing large coats or clothing items, especially in hot weather; and
    – Carrying oversized bags that seem to grow in carrying size from when they first entered the store.
  2. Put in place shoplifting policies and procedures: It is very important for your staff to know how to handle a shoplifting situation should they find themselves in one. Educate every staff member on the policies and procedures to follow in the case of an incident.
  3. Let customer service be your tool: Greeting your customers as they enter the shop or interacting with them while they are browsing through the aisles lets them know that they are acknowledged and you are aware of their presence. Doing this does not only come in handy for a good customer service rating, but it can also spook potential shoplifters and throw them off their plan – just advise your staff to not become aisle stalkers and chase customers away!
  4. Use your store layout to your advantage: The layout of your store is very important. It can enable lifters to get away with their crime or it can make it hard for them to do what they came to do. Simple things like changing the layout of your store from time to time (if size allows); keeping blind spots to a minimum,  surveillance  in the form of security cameras or staff; or lowering your displays so you can see your customers from different areas of the store could make a difference!
  5. Know your stock: If you don’t know your stock items and don’t have a proper inventory in place, it will be difficult for you to identify when something has gone missing. You won’t always see things as they happen and thus you will need to have an inventory in place to help you identify where losses have occurred and potential patterns (e.g. specific items always go missing at a particular time of the week). This will help you identify the most commonly stolen items and prepareyouto take the necessary precautions.
  6. Gear up with the correct security measures: Your staff members won’t be able to watch each customer that walks in and out of your store while still trying to assist in bringing in the profits through sales. Additional security measure will come in handy to step things up a notch. You can do so by installing security cameras, tagging stock items, adding alarms, hiring security personnel or even putting up warning signs to let them know you are watching them. If you’re lucky enough to operate in an area with local community policing, be sure to partner up with them!
  7. Be vigilant at all times! Being on the ball can help you get ahead of shoplifters as you will be well equipped to identify the crime before it happens. You need tobe able to stop it in its tracks before it leaves you at a loss. If you or your staff suspect someone is orchestrating your stock loss, one way of dealing with it could be through a subtle approach that will distract them – walk up to them and offer your help, or tidy and repack a shelf close enough to keep an eye on their actions. Don’t shy away from making them aware of your presence and guarding your exits.

If it happens that your business suffers a loss resulting from shoplifting, it is important to alert the police. Stock insurance cover is a viable option to consider in such instances – after all, the aim is for your business to grow and not get stifled by shoplifters.

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