How to Stop Shoplifting at Your Retail Business: 11 Shoplifting Deterrents

There are many factors that lead to retail shrinkage. Poor inventory management, employee theft, and, of course, shoplifting. And while shoplifting rates have lessened in recent years, it still results in tens of billions of dollars lost each year. Many big-box retailers can afford to take the losses, but for small businesses, a hike in shoplifting can be crippling.

And if you have thin profit margins recouping losses from shoplifting is even more difficult. Luckily, if you educate yourself, you’ll lower your risk and minimize your inventory shrinkage. Check out a few easy ways below on how to stop shoplifting in your store.

an infographic illustrating '11 ways to prevent shoplifting at your business'

1. Determine Items That Are at a High Risk of Shoplifting

Retailers know that certain products are higher risk items for theft. Make sure you identify which high-risk items your business carries and take extra precautions. Keep these items in cases, near the POS system and checkout, or behind the counter. You can also attach warning labels or sensors to these items.

See also: Asset Security In Retail: 7 Things Retailers Must Consider

2. Train Your Employees to Identify Suspicious Behavior

Having a great staff makes a big difference in many areas of your business. One important role is to serve as extra ears and eyes around your store and near the doors. If you have the budget, consider staffing extra team members on your retail floor. For bigger retailers, secret shoppers and door security are valuable additions to help stop shoplifting.

See related: Signs of a Shoplifter: 10 Ways to Spot Thieves in Your Store

3. Engage Each Customer

Speaking of staff, make sure that at least one associate greets or engages in some other way with every single customer that comes through your doors. Not only does this show potential thieves that there are plenty of employees around, but it also is a great start to the customer experience.

4. Label Warnings for Shoplifting

Post large and bold signage around the retail space and near the entrance/exit. A simple sign that lays out the consequences for shoplifting or notifies shoppers that they’re on camera actually makes a lot of shoplifters think twice. You can make it funny, too.

5. Make Sure You Have Enough Staff

Hire enough people to keep the floor fully staffed. It’s not enough to have the bare minimum of cashiers. The extra labor costs for keeping a diligent team throughout the space will save you money down the road by preventing more shoplifting.

6. Use Cameras and Mirrors Strategically

Position plenty of security cameras or large mirrors throughout your store. Be careful not to leave any dead spots. Corners and ends of aisles are common areas for thieves to pocket something. Keep these especially visible on camera.

7. Place Your Checkout Near the Door

Unless you have advanced RFID security technology, keep your POS area and cashwrap near the exit. You want shoplifters to have to walk right past the point of sale terminal before leaving. This just adds one more hurdle to clear.

8. Keep Your Store Clean and Organized

A clean and organized store is great no matter what, but it also serves as a deterrent to shoplifting. Faced products, stocked shelves, and clean equipment show shoppers that your store is well-staffed and on top of each level of running a business. It will add yet another layer to your security.

9. Use Short Aisles and Low Displays

Long aisles or high barriers make shoplifters feel more hidden and thus more apt to try to swipe something. If possible, keep any aisles or tight spaces minimal. An open floor plan is much more difficult to steal from and will stop shoplifters.

10. Use Your Inventory Management System

Keep a close eye on inventory at all times so that you can identify any trends. This includes watching out for retail shrinkage. The shrinkage might be due to a number of factors, so it’s important to identify which your store is at risk against, including shoplifting. A great inventory management system should be included in your retail point of sale system, part as a loss prevention tool.

11. Institute a Consistent Return Policy

Return/refund fraud is one of the most common types of theft in retail. But one that many businesses don’t pay much mind to. Come up with a simple, consistent return policy and know which red flags to look for. Require receipts or check for electronic tags through your point of sale.

How to Stop Shoplifting with KORONA POS

Get the assistance you need with all of this in your POS system. KORONA’s inventory management software is powerful and easy to interpret. Have the peace of mind knowing that any shoplifted items will be quickly identified by your point of sale so that you can take necessary action and make changes right away. Check out the link below to find out more and start a free trial.

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About the Author

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Michael Chalberg

Michael has long focused his writing on the world of retail and small businesses. He''s been a part of the KORONA POS team since 2018 and loves helping entrepreneurs find ways to adapt and succeed. In his spare time, you'll likely find him hiking somewhere in the Southwest.

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