Small Business Brief

Retail, Safety & Loss Prevention

4 Shoplifter Prevention and Loss Prevention Strategies That Work

Owning a retail store can become incredibly frustrating when you realize your numbers aren’t adding up. After doing an inventory check and reviewing your sales numbers, you confirm your worst fear – you’ve definitely got shoplifters. 

However, before you get too angry, realize a couple of things. First, shoplifters are an unfortunate commonality when it comes to retail. Second, shoplifter prevention isn’t super difficult, or expensive. 

Keep reading on our top tips for cutting down on inventory loss and stealing!

Tips for Shoplifter Prevention

As we suggested above, if you own a retail store, you’re bound to deal with shoplifters. Every day, 35 million dollars worth of goods are stolen from store owners in the US. Implementing some shoplifting prevention methods certainly wouldn’t go amiss. 

1. Install Security Cameras

First, security cameras provide a very inexpensive and permanent solution to shoplifting losses. Determined shoplifters will eventually find blindspots between, behind, or beyond the reach of the camera. However, their mere presence will deter most petty thieves.

Nobody wants to end up in jail or owe heavy fines, and that includes criminals. The last thing any shoplifter wants is to be identified and caught on camera stealing. It also helps if you print pictures of shoplifters and post them by the cash register, showing that you will make a public example of anyone caught stealing.

2. Improve Visibility

Another important tip for shoplifter prevention is removing places where they can duck out of sight. 

Although it may throw off the Feng Shui of your store, take down towering shelves, heavy masses of clothing, or anything else that would provide a convenient nook for a shoplifter to hide behind while they tuck stuff away.

Improving visibility may also mean adding ensuring there are bright lights everywhere throughout the store. 

If hiding places in your store are unavoidable, make sure the products near those places are large, hard-to-hide objects, rather than small trinkets people could easily stow away.

3. Hire a Security Guard

If your store is difficult to manage in terms of shoplifter prevention, you can always hire some help. Reaching out to a security guards company may be a good solution for your shoplifter problem.

The presence of a security guard, armed or not, will deter some of the most determined thieves. We recommend having them roam or placing them in or near places most-often targeted by shoplifters. They can also follow people around if they’re behaving suspiciously.

4. Familiarize Yourself with Shoplifter Tactics

Lastly, one of the best shoplifter prevention methods is to learn the ways of common thieves. What tactic do they employ to steal?

Here are some common tricks shoplifters use:

  • Studying the store – watching staff, looking for cameras, coming frequently but not buying anything.
  • The lookout – two people come in together and one watches the staff while the other makes their move.
  • The fitting room thief – be sure to pay attention to how many items people are going in and out of fitting rooms with.
  • The new mother or father – some people come in with baby strollers and proceed to pursue the “worst parent of the year award” by using their baby’s transport as a hiding place for stolen goods.
  • The team effort – a group comes in and creates a distraction while one or two people nab items.

Pay Attention to Detail

The biggest factor for improving shoplifter prevention is simply staying alert and training your staff to do so as well. Keep an eye out for suspicious individuals, behavior, etc. Shoplifters come in all shapes, sizes, ages, genders, and races. 

For more business advice and information, feel free to check out the rest of our articles!