One of the most frustrating and most difficult to solve issues retailers face, is the occurrence of shop lifting or pilferage.

With statistics showing an increase in the rate of occurrence. Thieves are also becoming increasing tactical in their methods, requiring retailers to utilise modern technology along with traditional methods to reduce and combat.

Adding to the challenge, due to the limited value of goods stolen, business insurance policies, do not provide coverage for shop lifting.

Whilst Installing security camera’s is a must, and helps identify individuals following a theft.

Following are top ten recommended strategies for retailers to assist toward deterring, reducing or even preventing shop lifting in their store(s). (sourced from American Alarm & Communications)

  • Greet Customers upon arrival to your store. Addressing Customers removes their anonymity. Shoplifters are known to avoid stores with attentive salespeople.
  • Watch for customers that avoid eye contact, seem nervous, wander the store, linger, constantly look at store employees or exhibit other suspicious behaviour. Always approach customers exhibiting such activities seeking to assist them. This often is enough to deter potential shoplifters.
  • Encourage employees to walk around the store, down various aisles, particularly along walls not just down the centre.
  • Maintain a clean and organised store, including racks, shelves and dressing rooms. A disorganised store tells a shoplifter that employees are not paying attention.
  • Keep commonly stolen items and highly attractive items in plain view to discourage shoplifters. Place such items in the front of the store, near the cash registers or another highly visible area.
  • Compare notes with your neighbours. Talk with other shop owners about any suspicious behaviours they might have witnessed. Ask employees to maintain a log of suspicious behaviours and share with each other, along with other shop owners.
  • Hire an adequate number of employees, enough to give customers personal attention. Stagger lunch and break times amount employees.
  • Create a shoplifting policy and enforce it. Post the policy so employees and customers are aware of it. Offer ongoing training to employees so they understand how to prevent shoplifting or how to handle a situation if it occurs.
  • Install anti-theft devices, including security towers at entrances. Install security cameras throughout the store, convex mirrors in corners and anti-theft tags on merchandise.
  • Restrict the use of fitting rooms. Lock dressing rooms and require customers to see a salesperson before using the rooms. Post signs within fitting rooms warning against shoplifting.

Remember – if you do suspect an individual of shoplifting. Do not accuse the person, rather ask them if you could assist or run the items through the register.

Keep the person in your sight at all times and contact security or a manager immediately. Never try to stop the shoplifter. If the shoplifter leaves the store, provide security with a detailed description of the person, including any vehicle if possible.