Simple Tips for Thwarting Shoplifters

by Craig Anthony

2 min read

Canadian retail businesses lose more than $4 billion in inventory annually due to shrink, according to PwC Canada, and shoplifting accounts for a portion of these losses. Using anti-theft devices and engaging your customers on the sales floor are a few of the strategies you can employ to thwart shoplifters. Here are some shrink prevention tips to reduce inventory loss in your store.

Anti-Theft Devices

Installing anti-theft devices on merchandise is an effective way to thwart shoplifters. Anti-theft devices can only be removed or desensitized with special equipment provided by device vendors. You also need to install sensors at your store entry and exit doors, which set off alerts if someone tries to remove merchandise with an anti-theft alarm from the store. The point of using anti-theft devices is to discourage theft. If a theft occurs and your alarm sounds, notify law enforcement immediately rather than engage the suspected shoplifter.

Security Cameras

Place security cameras in your store to prevent shoplifting. Recording sales floor activity provides evidence if you need to report a theft incident to law enforcement; you can also hire a staffer to monitor security cameras, although this largely depends on your budget. Typically, store owners place security cameras near the main entry and exit doors, and in strategic places throughout their stores. If you decide to install security cameras in your store, note that Canadian law requires you to place signage in a prominent location notifying customers they are on camera when on your premises.

Increased Employee Presence on the Sales Floor

Increasing the number of employees on the sales floor can be highly effective when it comes to preventing shoplifting. It is a good idea to greet every person who enters your store. Your genuine customers won’t mind the friendliness, and anyone with less than noble intentions will know your employees are aware of their presence in the store. Encourage your employees to approach all customers and ask if they need assistance; if they don’t need help, let them know assistance is close by. You can also encourage your employees to walk the sales floor routinely to check aisles, especially those in the back of the store, and restrooms and changing rooms. Have your employees take staggered lunches and breaks to ensure the sales floor is monitored at all times.

Strong Return Policies

Every now and again, a dishonest person might approach an unsuspecting cashier with a fraudulent return. This usually happens when a shoplifter picks up a piece of merchandise in the store undetected and presents it at the cash register for an exchange or cash refund. To prevent this kind of shoplifting, create solid return policies. Require customers to have original receipts and limit the number of days they have to return the merchandise. Also, give cash refunds only if cash was the original form of payment.

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