Shoplifting cuts into your profits, which can force you to raise prices and potentially lose customers. These thefts also throw off your inventory records, making it harder to find items for customers, and in some cases, shoplifting can even reduce employee morale.
Luckily, there are multiple measures you can take to reduce shoplifting in your retail establishment.
1. Focus on Employee Visibility
As a small business owner, you can’t be everywhere at the same time, and your employees should be your eyes and ears in your absence. Set up your shop to increase employee visibility. For instance, put your checkout counter next to the door so employees can see shoppers (and thieves) coming and going.
Consider placing mirrors in corners or using security cameras so employees can monitor parts of the store they aren’t in. Also, remember to have employees walk around the store on a regular basis. Thieves will be less likely to steal if they are worried that an employee might walk by.
2. Train Employees to Deal With Shoplifters
If your employees see a shoplifter, they may not know what to do, and if you want to reduce shoplifting, you need to train your employees to deal with these situations. To be on the safe side, create a comprehensive protocol about what you expect from employees in various situations, and train employees accordingly.
For instance, if an employee sees a shopper putting an item in their purse, you may want the employee to just ask the shopper something like, “Would you like a basket for that item?” If the individual is stealing, that alerts him or her that your employee knows what’s happening. In the rare chance that the individual was truly planning on buying the item, this approach avoids accusing him or her of stealing.
3. Consider Using Radio-Frequency Tags
You may want to consider using radio-frequency tags as well. You can stick these tags on or in valuable merchandise, and if someone tries to leave without paying for the merchandise, the radio frequency in the tag will cause the sensors at your door to go off. If someone buys something with a radio tag, your employee can remove the tag or disable it at the cash register.
4. Communicate With Other Retailers in the Area
Crime often happens in waves, and in some cases, a thief may hit multiple stores in the same area. To keep abreast of what’s going on, it can help to know the business owners around you.
If you don’t know your fellow entrepreneurs, go in and introduce yourself. Consider setting up a monthly breakfast for local business owners, where you can chat about issues, including everything from shoplifters to local marketing tactics. Alternatively, make sure everyone has everyone else’s phone numbers or emails so you can get in touch quickly in the event of a theft.
5. Consider Hiring a Guard
To deter shoplifting, you may also want to consider hiring a guard. A guard lends credibility to your establishment, and beyond that, a guard can help make shoppers feel safe and thieves feel uncomfortable.
Based on social research on compliance, people are more likely to comply with rules when there are a large number of people present. By adding a security guard, you increase the number of people on your team, and indirectly, on a psychological level, that alone can help reduce theft and shoplifting.
At Veteran Security, we are committed to helping our clients avoid shoplifting, internal theft, vandalism, and other common issues. We offer both armed and unarmed security guards. For more information, contact us directly over the phone or through our website.