Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
Shoplifting is a multi-billion dollar industry that is funded by the retailers and the consumers. Everyone pays for a shoplifter’s theft, no matter how small. Shoplifting will never be completely stopped but it can be slowed down. In this article I will talk about the different ways that retailers can deter shoplifting from their stores and markets.
Signs that state that “Shoplifters Will Be Prosecuted” or anything that may get a shoplifter to think twice. However, if you do post these signs, you have to make sure to follow through. If a store has a reputation for prosecuting thieves, shoplifters will be more apt to stay away from you. If you have a reputation for not prosecuting, then you basically have an “open door policy” for thieves.
Cameras are another good deterrent to shoplifting. In this day and age of electronic surveillance and with all of the realty police shows or “Caught on Camera” shows, thieves will stay away from most stores with cameras, especially if they know the cameras are being monitored. You can even have “dummy camera globes” hanging from the ceilings as well. These do not have cameras, but, they give the impression that cameras are in there.
Be sure aisle ways are clear from clutter and that “end caps” and “rounds” are not very tall to block a view of a camera. Clutter makes it easier for shoplifters to do their work. If shelves and display cases are tall and hide the view of cameras, you are defeating the purpose of cameras being there. A good rule of thumb is: “If you cannot see a camera, chances are that camera cannot see you.”
Teach the employees to be very vigilant and not easily distracted. Distraction is a shoplifter’s greatest ally. A lot of shoplifters will come in as groups. Some of these people in the groups are there for distraction so their cohorts can steal more easily. They will create a distraction by “accidentally” knocking a display over or by keeping employees busy. Watch for people coming in carrying bags from other stores, umbrellas, newspapers and strollers. All of these items can be used to conceal merchandise.
Teach your employees to greet people when they come into the store so potential shoplifters will know they are seen. If you see a shopper who is very nervous or fidgety and may be pacing back and forth around certain items, approach him/her and ask if you can be of assistance to them. Keep them in sight and make sure you are in sight of them as well. If a shoplifter sees an employee near the items they want to steal, they will think twice about stealing.
Of course, there are other ways to deter shoplifting as well. Keep big ticket items away from the entrances, employ RFID tags, ink tags, locking cables and turn every clothes hanger in different directions. This way clothes cannot scooped off of the racks so easily.
Shoplifting will never be stopped completely as some do it for money, some do it because they have a sickness and some do it just for the thrill of not being caught. Shoplifting can be slowed down if even a few of these ideas are employed. The big thing to remember is that a vigilant employee is the best deterrent to shoplifting. Let people know, that you know they are there.