woman stealing wine at store retail theft

Theft can be one of the most costly problems for specialty retailers. Shoplifters aren’t the only ones you have to look out for because your employees can also be the culprits. Both contribute almost 70% to your inventory shrinkage and that has a direct effect on your profits.

Preventative Measures

To really get a handle on retail theft you need to examine your store layout and how it’s managed. For the best layout, your goal should be to minimize the number of blind spots for you and your employees. If you can’t rearrange your store layout, then you’ll need to train your employees. Having them become more proactive gets them away from the checkout counter and helps them become more engaged with your customers.

Awareness and training coincides with how the store is managed. Implementing strong policies against shoplifting is critical to the success of your efforts. These polices include:

  • Do you approach a suspected shoplifter? And how?
  • When to call the police?
  • What kind of documentation is needed?

These procedures will ensure a safe path through prevention. This also includes your employees and how you will need to handle problems with them, too.

Great Tips on Prevention

The following tips will also help you prevent thieves from stealing your merchandise.

1. Inventory Cycling

If you’re taking physical inventory counts once every year, then you’re probably missing a big opportunity. Cycle counts improve your inventory management by providing early warning detection of missing products.

2. Reduce Clutter

A messy, unorganized store makes it easier for shoplifters to go unnoticed. Keep your shelves full and labels forward facing.

3. Improved Lighting

Shadows and dark areas give shoplifters more opportunity to hide what they are doing. Lighting is also important for your surveillance equipment and employees.

4. Use Mirrors

For stores with layout problems, mirrors are a quick fix. Employees can quickly scan any blind spots for activity.

5. Surveillance Systems

There are a lot of different types of security systems to choose from, so you’ll need to do some research first. These can be expensive, but you should be able to find a system that’s right for you and fits your budget.

6. Signage

Placing a couple small signs that say “Video Surveillance” or “Shoplifters Will Be Prosecuted” throughout your store will deter thieves and make your customers feel more secure. These show everyone that you consider shoplifting to be a serious crime.

7. Coordinated Customer Service

Train your employees to coordinate their actions. Your customers will feel like they are getting the right amount of attention and shoplifters will have fewer opportunities to steal.

8. Control Purchase Orders

This is an area that’s hard to monitor and detect. Make sure that all of your employees in charge of shipping and receiving are some of your most trustworthy.

9. Develop Internal Security Procedures

Policies are important for internal security. This means changing passwords regularly, restrict access to point of sale functions, and ensure that everyone has been trained on security procedures.

Protect Your Investment

Your merchandise is a considerable investment in time and money. That’s why you really need to implement preventative measures against retail theft. Don’t make it easy for them. And, for your employees, you need to have a policy in place for them to come forward if they know something bad is happening. Give them the confidence to come forward and the reassurance of anonymity. With these policies and procedures in place, you’ll quickly reduce inventory shrink and regain those missing profits.

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