This post was originally published on November 26, 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Shoplifters affect your business’ bottom line. According to the National Retail Security Survey, retailers lost an average of $546.67 per shoplifting incident in 2018.

No matter the type of retail store you own, utilizing certain customer service techniques and security technologies can go a long way in the battle to deter shoplifters. Here’s how.

1. Train Employees to Detect Suspicious Behavior

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

  • Look around the store multiple times.
  • Avoid eye contact.
  • Exude nervous mannerisms.
  • Wear excessively baggy clothing.
  • Circle the store more than once without picking up items.
  • Shop with a large group.
  • 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. While every shoplifting policy differs, 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?
  • Is there a chain of command to follow should a shoplifting incident occur?

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

3. Optimize Store Layout

Seasoned shoplifters 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 are a great deterrent and useful anti-theft solution. The sight of a camera may discourage potential thieves.

Even if it does not deter them, video surveillance cameras can catch criminals in the act. Likewise, if a dispute arises after accusing someone of shoplifting or how employees handled the situation, the video feed will be your definitive answer.

Safeguard Your Business with a Retail Security Expert

Whether you own a jewelry store, gas station or grocery store, Vector Security has experience providing security solutions to more than 1,000 different retail businesses. Contact us today to learn how we can customize a solution to fit your business’ needs.