Setting up your store to make sure you are not a target for shoplifters

How do I set up my store to make sure I’m not a target for shoplifters?

As an independent retailer, you may not be able to implement every security solutions that are available on the market. Guards, mirrors, cameras, security tags, chains and locks, exception-based reporting systems…well it gets a bit overwhelming at times

And you are not a loss prevention professional who deals with this on a daily basis.

So what do you spend your money on?

Well, that depends.

First, let’s assume you are dealing with external shoplifters.

When I advise my clients, the first thing I do is walk the floor and look at it the way a shoplifter might look at it. I encourage you to do the same. 

Are there hidden corners?

Does the layout provide your employees with the opportunity to observe all areas of the store?

So before buying anything, you may want to simply shift some things around. If your employees can see everywhere, then the shoplifter will make a note of this and it increases the risk on their side. Remember, they evaluate the opportunity based on their ability to successfully steal from you without the risk of exposure, without the risk of getting caught.

In one case a client had a gift wrap desk tucked away on one wall, and a cash bank of cash registers at one end of the store. The store had two entrances, and the displays were lined \up horizontally. 

I recommended reconfiguring the store. Put the gift wrap and can desk together in the middle, and arrange the displays from centre to the wall – picture a bike wheel with the hubbub and spokes. 

Hidden corners removed, and employees were able to make eye contact with anyone at any time.

The customers liked it too, they assumed that the store had hired more people in fact. There were no more opportunities to be missed while wrapping a gift tucked away on a wall.

So I reconfigured, now what?

Now you have to consider what you need to shop for. As a minimum, I always recommend a security camera system. It acts as a deterrent, and also provides evidence if you do have a theft.

Mirrors? Well yes and no. If you are going to use them great, but if you are thinking they will work as a deterrent think again. Shoplifters love them, and they use them – don’t kid yourself.

Security chains and locks? If you sell very high-end goods and the customer expects a lock, then yes. But if you are going to have to manage the system and risk customers walking away, think of a different way.

Grab and runs? Alternate your hanging apparel so they can’t lift multiple items at once.

Emergency exit used as a grab and run escape – consider a 15-second delay alarm if legal in your jurisdiction. 

The bottom line is that there are plenty of systems, products, and solutions out there to help you combat customer theft. One step at a time and you will be able to maneuver through the complexities of what is on the market. 

 

Stephen O'Keefe

About Stephen O'Keefe

As an independent consultant I leverage my experience and knowledge to help a number of companies achieve results. Clients range from non-retailers looking for guidance to serve their retail customer, to retailers looking for quick solutions to unique and costly problems, right to the Industry Association. Bottom line Matters!

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