Shoplifters come from all walks of life, and have different reasons for stealing. So, how do you spot a shoplifter?
Look out for customers who:
- Avoid eye contact with staff;
- Seem to pay more attention to the staff than the merchandise;
- Stay in hard-to-see areas of the store;
- Are carrying large bags or wearing baggy clothing;
- Are with a group – especially if they split up when they enter and divide the staff’s attention;
- Take a lot of merchandise into a changing room.
The best tool in loss prevention is customer service. Greeting a customer as soon as they enter the store lets them know they have your attention, and that’s one thing they do not want! Plan the layout of the store to ensure good sight-lines - avoid placing tall displays where they will impede a view of the store. Keep smaller merchandise close to the cash register or in locked cases, and don’t put expensive merchandise near the entrance or exit.
Shoplifters aren’t the only ones impacting your profits – internal theft can also play a part. Be sure to instill good cash-handling techniques in your employees and check the cash register reconciliations for discrepancies. Look for patterns of over/shorts, returns without receipt and unauthorized discounts. Have employees balance the cash register at the end of every shift, and if possible only have one person at a time on a cash register. Suppliers can also be a cause of shrinkage. Always check packing slips against the merchandise received to make sure you received the right quantity. And double-check invoices before paying.
Not every business needs to spend a fortune on high-end security systems. Effective loss prevention is as simple as training employees to be vigilant, and putting checks in place to ensure transactions and freight are dealt with honestly.