NJM Blog

10 Tips to Prevent Shoplifting

10 Tips to Prevent Shoplifting

Shoplifting can significantly affect stores’ profits. In stores large and small, inventory shrinkage resulting from shoplifting can make or break a business. Strategies such as arresting or banning known shoplifters from the store are rarely effective long-term solutions. However, businesses can implement best practices to reduce shoplifting.

  1. Start with low–cost solutions

    According to the Center for Problem–Oriented Policing at Arizona State University, “Good management is the first line of defense against shoplifting.” The Center recommends changing the store layout to reduce blind spots, congestion, and waiting. Once implemented, these solutions can reduce shoplifting without a long–term financial commitment.

  2. Improve employees’ line of sight

    One low–cost solution to shoplifting is to reorganize so that staff can easily see the whole store. Use shorter display counters that employees can easily see over, and train employees to stay vigilant. Install mirrors to improve the line of sight in areas where blind spots exist.

  3. Strategically shelve hot items

    Positioning small, popular merchandise near the door is like asking it to walk away. Place items that can’t easily be stashed away by the doors. Shelve popular items in another area of the store that is monitored by an employee, without cluttering them. The “stickiest” or pricier items might be safest near the cash registers, where a cashier can keep an eye on them. Keep the most valuable items in locked cabinets.

  4. Use stock controls and well–organized shelves

    Carefully organizing your merchandise can help you know at a glance if something is amiss. On top of this, modern technology can keep track of your store’s inventory. If an item goes missing, a well–organized store can help you determine if it’s been placed on the wrong shelf while stock–control technology can tell you if it’s been sold. Point of sale systems can also alert you to customers who frequently return items or attempt to return an item that has not been sold to them.

  5. Set rules for customers

    Consistently enforcing store rules can also help reduce shoplifting. Some common suggestions include restricting unaccompanied minors from the shop and providing baskets to customers when they enter the store. Some stores only display a product’s container or one half of a pair, so that customers must check out before they can get the missing piece.

  6. Hire, train, and station employees with loss prevention in mind

    According to Palmer and Richardson of Connecting Research in Security to Practice (CRISP), employing more full–time, long–term employees may result in less shoplifting . Train employees how to recognize and appropriately respond to suspected shoplifting. Assign an employee to monitor the store’s entrance or exit, the dressing rooms, or the most popular targets of shoplifting. For smaller staffs or larger buildings, it can help to maintain just one entryway, setting aside other doors as fire exits.

  7. Have a refund policy

    A person may ask for a refund on an item they did not buy. You can reduce this by giving receipts for all purchases and then requiring a receipt for refunds. If a customer declines to accept a receipt, dispose of it promptly.

  8. Install RFID or EAS on items

    Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracks items as they move around the store. Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) is the technology that sets off alarms if preinstalled tags aren’t removed before someone leaves with an item. Installing these devices on merchandise can help to deter shoplifters and alert you if an item leaves the store without being purchased. CRISP suggests that ink tags may also be effective.

  9. Use security cameras

    Security cameras can help stores confirm whether shoplifting took place and assist law enforcement in identifying the shoplifter. While cameras may not prevent shoplifting, signs around the cameras could help. For example, a television that shows a live feed of the store can catch potential shoplifters’ attention and act as a deterrent. Lower cost solutions include signs identifying high-theft items and warning against shoplifting.

  10. Partner with other organizations

    Similar to how implementing a safety committee can help an organization to foster a culture of safety, partnering with other retailers, manufacturers, or law enforcement can help you identify the best practices for theft reduction.

NJM was established more than 100 years ago and has remained committed to providing reliable, cost–effective, and safety–focused insurance. All NJM business policyholders receive access to loss prevention resources to help reduce injuries and illnesses in the workplace. Connect with an agent today to get a quote for NJM Business Insurance.

The information contained in this article should not be construed as professional advice, and is not intended to replace official sources. Other resources linked from these pages are maintained by independent providers; therefore, NJM cannot guarantee their accuracy.