Shoplifting is a crime of opportunity, meaning store shoplifters or even casual thieves will only target a retail outlet because they feel they can.
So, as you look ahead to a year where reducing loss will be among your retail aims, here’s a quick series of questions every retailer should ask in a bid to understand how tempting their store really is for shoplifters.
Is my store well laid out?
Stores which have a clear line of sight between staff and customers are far less likely to be targeted by shoplifters, making good layout a key factor in preventing theft. Consider whether you have areas which are out of sight and might make it easier for shoplifters to conceal items.
Is my lighting sufficient?
Good lighting also assists in reducing shoplifting. Ensure all areas of your outlet are well lit, and there are no dark corners where a potential shoplifter or criminal can lurk unseen.
Is my store organised?
In addition to good layout, your store should be neat, tidy and organised. Resist the urge to position large over-laden sales tables near the entry because they can be prone to snatch and grab theft.
Meanwhile, try to keep display tables organised and appealing. This allows staff to see what’s going on or what might be missing.
Are enough staff on duty?
Staff costs can be a major burden for retailers, but sufficient staffing allows employees to monitor the floor for suspicious behaviour while also assisting customers and processing sales.
Are my staff attentive?
A simple greeting and a welcome smile can be enough to deter some potential shoplifters from committing a theft. If customers feel tended to, it reduces the opportunity for theft.
Would staff know what to look for and do in the event of shoplifting?
Staff should be trained on the suspicious behaviour that could indicate a theft is about to take place. They should also be educated on what to do if shoplifting is in progress.
Are my security measures obvious yet subtle?
Security measures like CCTV and Electronic Article Surveillance indicate a store is being monitored. In fact, organised shoplifters often case an outlet prior to making a theft. They’re looking for security loopholes they can exploit.
Without detracting from your store’s look and feel, ensure CCTV and EAS is obvious enough that people considering shoplifting can see it.
Are my products protected?
Is my storeroom secure?
All entries to the storeroom should be secure. Security measures to consider include locks, positioning the POS in the vicinity of the storeroom for easy staff access and monitoring, and CCTV.
Is my POS protected?
The Point of Sale can also be an obvious target for theft, particularly when it comes to robbery. Secure the POS with video surveillance, staff access codes, and make sure takings are cleared each day.
Do I have a backup plan?
If the electricity to your store is cut, will your CCTV still work, will your POS still function and will your EAS still be effective? Consider what would and should occur in these circumstances.
Is my store protected outside of hours?
It’s not just business hours when your store could be at risk. How is it protected from break-in overnight? Alarms and video surveillance should be considered.
Do staff have emergency numbers on hand?
If a store is targeted by shoplifters or is robbed, do your staff know who to call and are those phone numbers readily available? Also, do you have height indicators on your door, so staff can easily tell how tall a suspect was and describe them?
Can emergency services personnel find my store?
In the event of an emergency such as a smash and grab or a swarming shoplifting event, will emergency personnel be able to easily find your store.
If your store is entered from the street, ensure it has a clear address. If it’s located in a shopping centre, train your staff so they know how to indicate its position and the nearest entryway.