Theft is a constant concern for retailers. Of course, you want your customers to feel comfortable browsing through your space and ability to study your product line in-depth, but easy access to your products can lead to more risk of a theft loss. To let potential thieves know they are being observed, consider the tips below.
Keep Shelving Low
If the shelves and products in your store are no taller than 5 feet, most of the heads of your customers will be visible as they browse and shop. Someone planning to steal will need to do a 360-degree search to see if anyone is watching, and this gives you and your employees the chance to notice anyone who looks nervous.
Low shelves will also allow you to install cameras that will get a better look at all your customers. You can notice which shoppers are traveling in pairs, which seem to be handling a wide variety of products with no real focus, and which are headed for the door.
Raise Staffing Levels on the Weekend
Shoplifters tend to be busiest when your store is busiest. As possible try to raise staffing levels on the weekend so you can avoid the risk of grab and dash thieves who take advantage of your busy employee’s inattention.
Use a Doorbell
Use a doorbell or a buzzer at your front entrance and train employees to shout out a loud “Welcome!” when someone comes in. This single sound could be the deterrent that a potential thief needs to turn away and steal elsewhere. A buzzer at the door and a verbal greeting will let current shoppers know that the front door is always monitored, and your business is secured.
Protect Your Front Wall
In addition to using an audible alert when the front door opens, invest in anti-ram vehicle barriers in front of the front wall, especially if it is mostly glass. Even if you cannot ever imagine someone ramming your front wall down, accidents happen. One frightened driver who mistakes the gas pedal for the brake can put your employees at risk and cause a lot of damage and disruption to your business.
Keep Things Tidy
Avoid putting out more inventory than you can manage, particularly if you are selling small items. A bin of small items in a jumble is an ideal grab and stash choice for a potential thief; it is hard to notice if anything is missing. If at all possible keep items in rows on shelving that allows your employees to see the shoppers from the front counter.
Your Layout Matters
Of course, you will want to add theft notification tags to your product and a scanner at the door that customers must pass through before they leave the store. As possible, use short shelving loaded with smaller items at the front of the store to route clients past the checkout counter before they leave your facility. Nobody should be able to walk out without having to at least stand in line to get through the checkout. Let the shopper who buys nothing be at least slightly inconvenienced to protect your inventory.
Promote a Zero Tolerance Policy
When you catch a shoplifter, be ready to be harsh. Call the authorities and do your best to prosecute to the full extent of the law. Post warning signs everywhere, and make sure that your posted notices include information about cameras. Use large mirrors in the corners to allow your employees the chance to view customers from all angles.
Be ready to reward employees who notice anyone acting suspiciously. Make sure your employees are all well trained on the signs of a potential shoplifter, including
- those who avoid interaction
- those who look for cameras, avoid mirrors, or wear a cap
- those who wander
While it’s true that shopping and buying are two different things, a potential customer will generally be looking for a particular line of products. Shoplifters are looking for the easiest thing to hide, anonymity on the way out, and a quick getaway.
Keeping an eye out for shoplifters and making life extremely hard for them is a great way to protect your employees and your bottom line. If you notice someone acting suspiciously, be ready to be extremely friendly and provide terrific service. If they want something, they should be able to direct you to their needs. If not, they will likely leave. All of this is a part of keeping your store, your employees, and your business secure.
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