Avoid Shoplifting and Theft With These Strategies

Shoplifting and employee theft are nothing new to business. And in the past year, organized retail crime has seen an increase, with nearly 70 percent of retailers reporting the rise due to the pandemic, policing, changes to sentencing guidelines and the growth of online marketplaces. Meanwhile, retail thefts has caused nearly $69 billion worth of products that were reported stolen in 2019, according to a report released by the Retail Industry Leaders Association and Buy Safe America Coalition.

Although the numbers are alarming, there are things you can do to minimize losses on both fronts – and keep more of your profits where they rightfully belong.

Tips to Prevent Shoplifting

While there is no typical shoplifter, there are some typical shoplifter behaviors. They’ll avoid eye contact, wander without buying (while they’re really planning their theft) and linger in areas that are difficult to monitor. Shoplifters succeed by being stealthy and inconspicuous. Bring them to light and deter theft with these practices:

• Greet everyone who enters your store

• Be alert and keep tabs on customers by “scanning the room”

• Approach lingering customers with offers to help or answer questions

• Display signs saying you prosecute shoplifters to the fullest extent of the law

• Hire a security presence or install a system, if possible

If you suspect a customer is stealing, do not accuse the person. Give them an opportunity to pay for the item by asking if they’re ready to be rung up. Do not detain them – doing so can put you at risk. Instead, make note of what they look like, call the police or security as soon as you can, and give a detailed description.

Tips to Prevent Employee Theft

Employee theft can happen anywhere from the cash drawer to the warehouse. Deterring it takes a comprehensive approach that covers all the conceivable ways money or merchandise could walk.

Create an illusion of constant vigilance

  • Let employees know you’ll be stopping in to check on business and make good on the promise. Do this often and randomly so that employees feel you could show up at any time.

Check cash drawers and inventory

  • When you drop in, do spot checks on cash drawers and inventory. If you notice any discrepancies, inquire about them immediately.

Train and empower employees

  • Provide training on theft prevention to all employees. In addition, provide them with an anonymous number they can call to report any suspicious activities.

Watch for odd behavior

  • If an employee is behaving differently or suspiciously, keep an eye on him or her. According to many retailers, one sure sign of potential problems is an employee who insists on using his or her own calculator or receipt book.

You can’t be everywhere to prevent shoplifting and employee theft, however, you can do everything in your power to create a vigilant workplace. And that’s the next best deterrent.

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