Tips for Retail Stores to Thwart Shoplifting This Holiday Season

Posted By Kalamata Capital LLC || 11-Nov-2015

Businesses often get a major boost around the holidays thanks to increased customer traffic. However, in addition to an increase in profits, businesses also face another kind of increase: employee theft and consumer shoplifting. This “shrink” is not only costly for you as a business owner, but it is also expensive for the consumer, who bear part of the overall cost when the goods they purchase become more expensive with time.

Overcrowded stores, long hours, and stressed-out employees can spell problems for your business if you are not prepared. Keep the following tips in mind to help minimize your losses and maximize your profits this holiday season:

  • Curtail employee theft. Did you know that, statistically, employees are responsible for six times as much theft as shoplifters? Employee theft can be a few isolated incidents or an organized, sophisticated network of repeated crime. You can reduce employee theft by taking the following steps:
    • Keep an eye on your business and check in with your employees periodically
    • Train your employees in employee theft and shoplifting detection and prevention
    • Ensure that your standards are high when hiring and training seasonal employees
    • Check that your deposits match your sales figures
    • Keep track of your inventory levels and perform random spot-checks
    • Review your register tape for suspicious “no sale” activity
    • Encourage employees to report any suspected theft anonymously
  • Know the signs of a potential shoplifter. Do you know how to spot a potential shoplifter? Here are some common behaviors among shoplifters:
    • Seeming nervous
    • Picking up random items without showing interest
    • Avoiding eye contact
    • Wearing bulky clothing in warm weather
    • Walking with unnatural steps (may indicate a concealed item)
    • Lingering in areas that employees are not monitoring
    • Entering the store in large groups to cause a distraction
    • Entering and exiting the store frequently without making a purchase
  • Minimize potential for theft. You can reduce the chances for theft in your store by implementing some of the following strategies:
    • Greet customers as they enter the store
    • Ensure your sales staff provides attentive customer service
    • Hire enough employees to provide attention to customers
    • Train employees to watch for signs of shoplifting and how to handle suspects
    • Maintain an organized, clean, and well-lit store
    • Keep fitting rooms locked
    • Keep commonly shoplifted items in a highly visible area
    • Encourage employees to walk the store
    • Install convex mirrors, security cameras, or anti-theft tags on merchandise to discourage shoplifting

By implementing these strategies, you can help keep your profits from walking out the door this holiday season.

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Categories: Small Business, Tips