5 Ways to Prevent Shoplifting in Your Small Business

Shoplifting and theft are two of the biggest risks you have when you operate a retail business. While having business insurance, like crime and property insurance, is essential for protecting crimes like shoplifting and vandalism, they don’t help you actually prevent it. Aside from having commercial crime insurance, you should consider ways to prevent or at least reduce shoplifting in your store. Here are the top five ways to do so with ease and no additional investment.


1)  Place Valuable Items Near The Register


Regardless of the type of merchandise you have, you are bound to have some items that are either more valuable or more commonly stolen. Consider what these items are and place them in clear view. Put them in places where the customer couldn’t easily grab them, such as near the cash register or other areas that constantly have supervision from security or other employees. If you have security near the front door, place some of these items near the entrance as they will never be stolen from your store. In addition, consider adding security monitoring tags to high value items.


2)   Train Employees to Recognize Shoplifters


Preventing shoplifting often starts with your employees. Train them on ways to recognize common shoplifting habits, such as being nervous, not having eye contact, wandering around aisles, looking around constantly, leaving the store and returning again, lingering in certain locations and watching employees or looking up at surveillance cameras. This is an important part of loss prevention as it stops a shoplifter from leaving the store with unpaid goods.


3)  Maintain a Clean and Organized Store


Shoplifting tends to be more common in areas where merchandise is disorderly or cluttered. Thieves feel like it is easier to grab items and the store manager may not find out something has gone missing until it’s too late. To prevent this form of shoplifting, keep the aisles nice and tidy, organizing and cleaning often. Have employees walking through the aisles every night or morning to check for goods in the wrong place and tidy up the merchandise. You’lll have less people even attempting to shoplift if your store looks organized.


4)  Monitor Fitting Rooms


Your fitting rooms are where most clothing items are going to be subject to shoplifting, when customers place clothing in their purse or under their clothing. Avoid this by having sales personnel at the fitting room, handing numbers according to how many items the customer brings in. Have a quantity restriction of 5 or 6 items, and require the items to be counted when the customer exits the dressing room. Post signs in the dressing room saying you will prosecute anyone found shoplifting.


5)  Enforce Your Shoplifting Policy


If you have a shoplifting or theft policy but fail to enforce it, previous thieves will get the word out and it is going to increase the risk of shoplifting from them and others. To avoid this, write a clear and concise policy and enforce it. Whether someone steals a pack of gum or a $100 sweater, prosecute them for the theft according to what is written in your policy.


These five tips can help prevent shoplifting, or at the very least, reduce how often it occurs. The cleaner a store is and the more they enforce shoplifting policies, the more deterred a potential shoplifter or thief will be.