4 Ways to Deter Shoplifters

Shoplifters can be a great burden on your business’ bottom line. Utilizing certain customer service techniques and security technologies can go a long way in the battle to deter shoplifters. Here are four ways to prevent loss.

1. Train Employees in Suspicious Behavior

The best way to stop shoplifting is to employ dedicated and observant employees. Train workers so that they can identify suspicious behavior. While there is no standard profile (as criminals can be any age or skill level), shoplifters are likely to:

  • Look around multiple times.
  • Avoid eye contact.
  • Exude nervous mannerisms.
  • Wear excessively bagging clothing.
  • Circle the store more than once without picking up items.
  • Shop with a large group (especially youths).
  • Frequent the store without purchasing anything.

2. Create a Protocol

Once employees understand what to look for in a shoplifter, they then must know what action to take. Every shoplifting policy will differ; however, each should answer the following:

  • How should the employee approach the customer?
  • Should employees be forthright and accuse customers or use guided, less direct questioning?
  • How many employees should be involved?
  • Who should call the police and when?
  • Will you issue warnings or press charges at the first incident?

Employees must be properly trained and comfortable with executing the protocol for success.

3. Optimize Store Layout

Seasoned thieves can tell an easy score from a difficult one simply by assessing the store’s layout. Cluttered, unkempt stores are much easier targets than clean stores with open spaces.

Consider reorganizing your store to:

  • Have a more open layout.
  • Keep commonly stolen and expensive items in plain view.
  • Have substantial lighting to increase visibility.
  • Force patrons to walk past the registers before exiting.

4. Invest in a Video Surveillance System

Video surveillance systems and other security solutions can be a great deterrent and useful anti-theft protection. The sight of a camera may shy away potential thieves. And if it does not deter them, then it can catch criminal(s) in the act. Relatedly, if a dispute arises over guilt or how employees handled the situation, the video feed will be your definitive answer.

How do you deter shoplifters? Share your thoughts in the comments below:

Image Source: Mike Mozart via Flickr