How to Prevent Shoplifting

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), external shoplifting accounts for 36.5 percent of retail inventory shrinkage. Retailers should prioritize protecting their merchandise because it is their key investment and source of revenue. In order to do that, you need to have the right tools and training to prevent your store from being targeted by shoplifters.

Reevaluate your shoplifting prevention strategy.

If you already have a shoplifting prevention plan in place but still struggle with shoplifting incidents, then you need to take another look at your strategy and make regular updates to account for new developments in loss prevention. Your shoplifting prevention strategy should include how to deter thieves as well as what you will do if you catch a shoplifter in your store. Some questions to ask yourself to figure out how you will handle a shoplifter are:

  • Will we try to deal with the situation with our in-house loss prevention team?
  • Will we involve the police?
  • Do we have a price threshold to determine how we should act next? Example: if we catch a shoplifter stealing more than $100 worth of merchandise, we will call the police.

Train your store associates to identify familiar shoplifting methods.

Although profiling is strongly discouraged in loss prevention, it is still valuable to learn how to spot common shoplifting techniques. For example, shoplifters rarely work alone. They typically work together and have one or more accomplices who distract your employees while another steals your merchandise. Other shoplifting methods include switching price tags, making fraudulent returns or removing security tags in the fitting room. Shoplifters will also often use bulky items such as strollers, umbrellas, backpacks and large handbags to hide stolen goods.

Identify suspicious behavior.

Train your staff to keep an eye on customers exhibiting the following behavior:

  • Watching the store associates
  • Picking up random items
  • Taking several items into the fitting room but coming out with fewer items

Add a retail security system.

Though security system services do have costs, they will also help you reduce theft, so you will see a solid ROI on your security system soon. Electronic article surveillance, more commonly known as EAS, is the most common retail security tagging system. An EAS system will not only trigger an alarm in your store if a shoplifter attempts to steal something but also deter thieves from trying to steal your merchandise at all.

Keep an eye on your fitting rooms.

Though it is tempting to leave your fitting rooms unattended during quiet periods, this leaves an opportunity for shoplifters to sneak in, defeat any security tags and steal your merchandise while you aren’t looking. When there are little to no customers trying on clothes, encourage your store associates to monitor the fitting room area so no one can enter without having their number of items checked.

Invest in other anti-shoplifting devices.

In addition to an EAS system, you can install other anti-shoplifting devices to help protect your store from thieves. There are many options available for protecting your fitting rooms, which is a shoplifter’s favorite area in a store to defeat tags and steal merchandise. For example, CONTROLTEK’s ApparelGuard detects magnet detachers and catches shoplifters in the act, while the HyperGuard can be installed at your store’s entrance to detect booster bags and stop shoplifters before they can steal anything.

Secure your high-risk merchandise.

Small, high-value items are the most likely to be stolen by shoplifters. Merchandise such as small electronics, accessories, leather goods and cosmetics are easy for shoplifters to sneak into a pocket or purse, but the theft of these items will add up for you. You can secure these items with specially designed security tags, such as CONTROLTEK’s DualTech PadLock as a shoe security tag or the FlatGuard to protect wallets and other small leather goods.

Protect Your Merchandise from Shoplifters with CONTROLTEK

Our arsenal of retail security solutions offers many possibilities for retailers to protect their merchandise, from traditional and cost-effective EAS tags to more advanced RFID tags and systems to manage your inventory while deterring thieves. Contact us today to find out which retail security system will work for you and your store.