5 tips to prevent the habitual shoplifter from making off with your merchandise

Shoplifting is a crime, but for many, it's also a compulsion and an addiction. As the Mayo Clinic points out, kleptomania is an impulse control disorder. It causes people not only to steal, but to continue doing it. For retailers, this kind of person is a major headache. 

As loss prevention professionals know, one of the main problems with habitual shoplifters isn't just that they steal frequently, but that they're very good at getting away with it. A shoplifter who steals out of habit is someone who's spent time learning to evade store security measures. According to industry statistics, the habitual shoplifter engages in the criminal act 1.6 times a week. And when you consider that there are 27 million active shoplifters out there, that adds up to a whole lot of business losses. 

"Businesses need to take merchandise protection to the next level."

For retailers and other enterprises, broad security measures won't work in nabbing practiced shoplifters. To deter thieves who steal out of habit, businesses need to take merchandise protection to the next level. Here are five ways to do that:

  1. Rollout RF pedestals: RF pedestals like the i30 Gate use a system of embedded electronics to detect if thieves are taking stolen merchandise out of the store. As a tool, it can be easily integrated into a store's existing network, and its physical presence in a store also provides a strong deterrent for potential thieves.
  2. Put RFID overhead readers in place: A RFID-based solution, overhead readers like the Nedap !D TOP offer retailers continuous visibility into store merchandise for easier tracking. Conveniently, these readers can be mounted on the ceiling, allowing for easier flow of customer traffic.
  3. Defend merchandise with ink tags: Habitual shoplifters are motivated by the idea that they can't get caught. But your store can put a swift end to that by catching them red-handed. Exploding ink tags like the SPITFIRE can help quash a shoplifter's feeling of immunity to capture.
  4. Keep track of inventory with handheld readers: Unfortunately, it's not only outside people who shoplift – employees do it too. This is a problem that's often harder to detect, but better inventory oversight is a good way to prevent this type of internal loss. Handheld readers like Nordic+ and Nordic ID Merlin are an efficient and user-friendly way to keep tabs on inventory.
  5. Retailers should take a hard look at their current loss prevention practices to reduce shrinkage.Retailers should take a hard look at their current loss prevention practices to reduce shrinkage.

    Use inventory software to see everything: Inventory and asset tracking software is a loss prevention professional's best friend. This type of software provides a constant snapshot of the items a store has stocked. With this solution on hand, any inventory discrepancies can be quickly detected and dealt with.

At CONTROLTEK, our goal for the past 40 years has been to provide industry-leading security solutions to a global client base. That's why we're able to offer loss prevention experts like you the tools you need to make your job easier. If there's one partner your business needs to keep habitual shoplifters away, it's us.