How to safeguard merchandise stored outside

For retailers, summer is great for business, but it can also make for risky business. That's because with the rise in temperatures, many enterprises will display merchandise outside the storefront to entice foot traffic. By showing what you've got on the outside, you drive people inside. But this setup is also lucrative for thieves.

"Making off with an item when it's already outside seems like a decidedly easy task to thieves."

Going inside a store and swiping an item is one thing. In that case, a potential shoplifter has many factors to content with, like security cameras, the watchful eyes of staff members and the challenge of getting past the RF pedestals at the exit. But making off with an item when it's already outside seems decidedly easier. In fact, it appears to be as simple as taking the item and continuing to walk.

Retail loss prevention experts are familiar with crime opportunity theory, which posits, broadly, that "opportunity makes the thief" – i.e. particular circumstances play a huge role in whether or not someone commits a crime. The circumstance that's most desirable to a thief is one with lots of temptation and few potential consequences – such as merchandise displayed unattended in front of a store.

Merchandise can face a higher risk of attack depending on where it's placed in or outside of the store.Merchandise can face a higher risk of attack depending on where it's placed in or outside of the store.

No retailer wants merchandise stored outside to be a source of shrinkage. To solve the problem, stores have to eliminate the sense of opportunity thieves feel when they see products displayed outside. Here's how loss prevention experts can do that:

  • Affix prominently displayed ink tags to every outdoor item: Having clearly visible ink tags on items stored outside is an ideal first step to eliminating the sense of opportunity a prospective thief would feel. An item with an ink tag on it, after all, is no good unless the tag is removed by a special key in the store. Otherwise, you can guarantee an explosion of ink that will ruin the item. Thus, the presence of ink tags present a strong visual deterrent to thieves.
  • Make sure surveillance systems are in place for storefront: Surveillance systems – and the presence of them – are a strong force in combatting crime. When someone planning to shoplift an item outside sees that they're on film, they'll probably think twice. In that regard, it's not a bad idea to have a sign out front – alongside the display merchandise – that says something like, "Smile! You're on camera!"
  • Prioritize inventory management: Inventory oversight should be atop your business' priority list year-round, but most definitely in the summer. When you're displaying items outside, you'll need to make sure every item is accounted for – which means having a comprehensive overview of everything in stock. That's where active inventory control using our RFID Inventory Software comes in handy.

As your store prepares for the summer shopping boom, you'll want to focus on business as much as possible, without having to devote extra time to theft prevention. CONTROLTEK is happy to help.