Updated: May 22
Shoplifting is a huge problem for American retailers as they lose over $20 billion every year. Whether you’re just starting out or have operated your store for years, security is a major concern for anyone who opens their doors to the public. Fortunately, being vigilant and using a comprehensive retail store security system and a security guard can nip the problem in the bud. Here are several ways you can take this issue into your own hands.
1. Look out for the Signs of a Shoplifter
By understanding the tactics that most shoplifters use, you can monitor them keenly once they enter your store. In most cases, a potential suspect will be watching your staff and security while paying little attention to the merchandise. While shopping, they will pick up items at random and examine them for a while until they get the opportunity to steal.
It’s a tactic to throw you off the scent and make it challenging to identify the missing items. Identify the shoppers that attempt to cause distractions and ask if they need help with anything.
2. Keep Your Store Organized
A cluttered store makes it relatively easy for shoplifters to pick up items while making it difficult for you to know if something is missing. That’s why you need to keep your store tidy at all times. Avoid creating a chaotic and disorganized environment. Opt for short shelves to avoid obstructing your view of the entire store.
3. Install Indoor and Outdoor Surveillance Cameras
Surveillance cameras are a great deterrent for criminals. Letting them know that you’re watching every move will reduce the chances of theft by a huge margin. Both indoor and outdoor retail store security systems can provide the footage you need to establish probable cause before taking legal action in theft cases.
They may try to avoid the main parts of the store and focus on inadequately monitored areas. Watch out for blind spots and mask your cameras where possible.
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4. Use Facial Recognition Devices
With modern technology, it’s possible to use facial recognition devices to identify people who visit your store regularly but don’t make any purchases. Even people that tried to shoplift before will come back to your store. If you’re suspicious of frequent visitors, you can keep a closer eye on them, increase security measures, or ask them to stop visiting your store.
5. Install Barcodes on Every Item
Barcodes store specific product information that’s easily retrievable. Such data help you to pinpoint any missing items. Since these systems require electricity at all times, you’ll need a backup generator.
6. Ask Shoppers to Leave Their Bags on the Counter
Shoplifters have been known to use backpacks, clothing, umbrellas, and even children's strollers to conceal items. If you want to curb the problem, use signage to clarify that bags aren’t allowed inside the store.
Private security guards aren’t allowed to search bags if your store isn’t at risk of criminal or terroristic threats. So, it’s better to establish a store policy of leaving the backpacks, strollers, and extra items at the counter.
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7. Identify Loiterers
It’s always tricky to deal with loiterers while trying to create a welcoming environment for your customers. Shoplifters tend to loiter around your shop or stand in one particular spot for a long time. Pay attention to people that spend a lot of time in a back corner.
The Michigan retail store security systems can protect your premises by watching out for late-night loiterers. These people look for an opportunity to damage your surveillance equipment and gain entry to the store.
8. Hire Guards
Plain-clothed guards can help to identify, report, and arrest shoplifters. It’s essential to have a badge or ID for identification.
A good rule of thumb is to outnumber the shoplifters by at least one person and escort them to a back office of the store. Once inside, try to retrieve the stolen goods and tally the costs.
9. Train Your Employees
Acquainting your employees with shoplifting policies is essential. One of the guidelines is to prohibit your employees from confronting shoplifters. Criminals that carry weapons might injure or even kill your employees when confronted.
Since the risk of getting hurt outweighs the shoplifted goods' value, clarify that employees should report the matter immediately. It’s possible to arrest the criminals once they leave the shop.
10. Monitor the Dressing Room
Changing rooms are an ideal place for shoplifters to conceal goods. Most people will put on new clothes in apparel stores and leave the old ones behind. While video surveillance is prohibited (in most states), there are plenty of ways to reduce the risks.
You can install cameras outside the fitting rooms and use chimes to alert the personnel when a customer enters. Ask your attendants to pay attention to such customers.
11. Apply Customer Service Techniques
Providing effective customer services doubles up as a loss prevention strategy. While tools are quite effective, they can only take you so far.
Once your staff provide as much attention as possible, no one feels invisible enough to steal. When your employees understand your inventory, they can identify if the price tags have been switched.
12. Place Your Cash Register near the Exit
With the cash registers near the exit, shoplifters know that someone will be around should they try to leave with your merchandise. When shoplifting, the goal is to enter and leave without being noticed. Having employees near exits increases the risk of spotting shoplifters and, many times, stops them in their tracks.
13. Install Alarms at the Exit
A simple way of detecting pilferage is to install a buzzer that rings every time a tagged and, therefore, the stolen item leaves the store. Such alarms draw attention to the suspects and deter potential shoplifters from targeting your store. They also give you probable cause that a customer has shoplifted and allow you to take the necessary action.
(Image Credit: Sensormatic)
14. Track down Shoplifters
Analyzing the footage from the Michigan retail store security systems can help the authorities to track down the shoplifters. Parking lot cameras can pick up the car model and identification number, making it easy to catch the suspects. Potential shoplifters are less likely to steal if they know they’re being filmed.
15. Take Legal Action Against Shoplifters
Shoplifting laws vary from one state to another, so it’s best to learn the laws in your area. In some states, you’re not allowed to approach the suspects until they exit the store for security purposes. If caught, the criminal penalties involve small fines that don’t exceed $500, reimbursement, and imprisonment (up to two years in jail).
Stop Shoplifters in Their Tracks
Shoplifting damages your store’s profit margins and hurts your ability to serve your customers to the best of your ability. Also, the high cost of replacing the stolen goods increases your overall running costs and affects your bottom line. While the retail store security systems cost money, they are worth it if you’re looking to stop criminals in their tracks.
Take precautions to ensure the safety of your retail store. More information is available by clicking here.