Shrinkage is an ongoing concern for every retailer. Using multiple types of theft prevention techniques will do the most to minimize your losses. So, check out these easy tips to limit shrinkage and maintain your profits.
1. Create a loss-preventive layout.
- Keep displays low enough to give you good visibility throughout your store.
- If necessary, use mirrors or extra lighting to eliminate blind spots.
- Use enclosed display cases to protect very small or high-priced merchandise. Add locks to further intimidate thieves.
- Create a dressing room policy regarding the number of allowed items, and monitor the rooms. Experts recommend locking dressing rooms.
- Position your cash wrap so shoppers have to pass it as they exit.
- Do not leave your cash register unlocked or unattended.
2. Get organized.
You can’t know if anything is missing if your shelves and other displays are a mess. Besides, clutter turns off legitimate customers. Experts recommend “facing” items on shelves – creating an even line of merchandise along the front edge – so you can quickly see gaps. Restock or pull items forward to retain the facing.
If you sell products prone to shelf-sweeping (a popular theft practice of grabbing multiple items at once), you can look into specialized dispensing units that deter this behavior.
3. Use technology.
From faux cameras to sophisticated surveillance and tagging systems, there are many tech-driven theft prevention options to meet your needs and budget. Non-electronic technology such as difficult-to-open packaging and Palmer Retail Solutions’ CELLMATE for mobile devices can help, too.
4. Tell them you’re watching.
Posting signs that announce your intention to prosecute shoplifters can be an excellent deterrent. Wording should reflect your type of store – you can be blunt or soften the wording (but not the message) with humor. Signs with an eye motif are twice as effective. Experts suggest placing signs near your entrance and also up high, where thieves would look for cameras.
5. Practice proactive customer service.
Actions that enhance customer experience also put potential shoplifters on guard:
- A friendly greeting, smile, and eye contact when people enter,
- Adequate staffing on the floor.
- Create a secret code word you can use to alert one another if something seems suspicious.
- Train employees how to spot possible thieves and also how to respond appropriately. What’s your shoplifting policy? Protecting your merchandise is important, but human safety is even more important.
6. Know what to look for.
Theft prevention starts with awareness. Although you may experience a random “snatch and run” type theft, most non-employee losses will come at the hands of experienced shoplifters and/or theft gangs. Learn to identify the telltale signs:
- Hiding merchandise is the most common method, so watch for roomy clothing, tote bags (or merchandise bags), and accessories such as umbrellas or strollers. Price tag switching is also popular, so pay close attention to the label when you ring up merchandise.
- Typical suspicious behaviors include lingering without browsing and observing your staff or cash register instead of shopping.
7. Monitor employees.
We hate to think it, but employee theft can be devastating. Tell your people you expect 100% honesty and don’t make it easy for anyone – staff or “shoppers” – to steal.