What do I need to do to protect my business?
If you are a small business with limited resources these tips can help you avoid becoming a victim to theft.
First things first
Beginning with the physical layout of your store, make sure you are not creating an environment that thrives thrive in.
- They love clutter – so pick it up.
- They love hidden corners – so move things around so you have visibility into these quiet corners
- They love anonymity – so greet everyone with a smile
- They love hidden drawers full of goodies – so lock it down, or clear it out.
- They love opportunity – take it away.
And some will still try to steal, so follow these steps…
- Greet them and let them know you are there “hey, I’ve been watching you and it looks like you might need some help” works wonders. They will probably dump what they have stolen.
- If you observe a theft, you have the right to stop them. You may elect not to take a chance, and that is fine because there is a risk of a lawsuit if you are wrong, I won’t pretend there isn’t, but you do have the legal right to stop them.
- If you use security cameras, isolate the video. Work with police if you can, and you should educate all staff to BOLO (Be On the Look Out).
- Can you restrict them from coming back? Yes, in most provinces you can (Quebec has limitation). You just need to identify them, tell them you do not appreciate their shopping behaviours, and you are revoking the open invitation for them to visit your store.
- There will be a lot of traffic in Canadian stores during the months of November and December. You probably heard over the years that this traffic is great for thieves. It can actually work in your favour because thieves don’t know who the customers are and who the un deriver security might be. They offer the human element of deterrence. But don’t get stressed, continue to meet and greet with a smile.
Hello, I'm Stephen O'Keefe. The information you read here is intended to help businesses answer some of the tough questions about everyday events in the retail environment. After spending over 3 decades in this industry we've seen a lot!
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