How To Prevent Shoplifting In Retail Stores

Shoplifting is a common crime in Australia, which accounts for up to 40% of reported shop losses each year. Customer theft has dramatically increased every year and now accounts for over 50% of lost revenue. Shoplifting is the process of stealing goods from a store and usually involves hiding the item and leaving the store without paying for it. Unfortunately, it is often hard to identify a shoplifter as it is not only done by professionals but also the common person.

Train and Encourage Employees

One of the best initial ways to prevent shoplifting is to train your employees to watch out for potential shoplifters. Your employees should be encouraged to greet the customers as they enter the store and offer help where possible as good customer service often deter thieves. Shelves should be regularly tidied so it is easier to spot any item that is stolen. Special attention should be paid to customers who are nervous or trying to hide from security cameras.

Restrict Access To Fitting Rooms

Special attention should be paid to the dressing rooms to minimise the chances of theft as they are often blind spots for security cameras and allow shoplifters to conceal items before leaving. Depending on the activity within the store, a numbered tag system may be an effective solution if staff are trained to use it. We recommend talking to a retail security systems specialist to review the most appropriate security camera positions to deter shoplifters.

Review the Layout of Your Store

Another of our shoplifting prevention tips that may protect your business is making sure the physical layout of your store allows for comprehensive customer visibility. Arranging aisles in a way that minimises the number of blind spots from the counter or checkout will help to ensure customers are as visible as possible when browsing. You may also wish to keep high value items in locked cases or cabinets close to the front counter, and remove as much clutter as possible. Ensuring your store is well lit will also help to mitigate shoplifting as much as possible.

Maintain Inventory

A proper retail inventory management system will help track and maintain your store’s inventory which helps identify missing merchandise. Your inventory management along with a well-organised store will deliver a strong message to potential thieves that they might be easily caught if they steal any item.

Use Security Tags

We strongly recommend retailers implement security tags that are tamper-resistant where possible to discourage forced removal. An increasingly popular trend is source tagging, which is the process of applying security labels at the point of manufacture instead of at the point of sale. This not only frees up time for retail workers to spend on customer engagement but also provides consistent security that meets compliance standards.

Install a Commercial Security System

Your security system should include a commercial video surveillance system that allows remote security monitoring from anywhere. Surveillance is one of the most crucial shoplifting prevention devices a business can use, playing an important role in mitigating internal and external theft. A security camera will allow you to track suspicious customers and identify people who have committed any criminal activity.

There are various ways to prevent shoplifting and theft within retail stores. Investing in staff training is your first line of security but ultimately your retail security system can prevent theft. If you need to install or upgrade your existing security system, contact Ryalex Security for more information.

Security Measures to Prevent Shoplifting: Frequently Asked Questions

Is investing in a security system to reduce shoplifting worth it?

Purchasing a security system may seem like a considerable investment at the outset, but it is one of your most powerful security measures to prevent shoplifting. Consider the purchase price of the system against the potential commercial loss you could experience if shoplifters target your store. A security system may also reduce your business’ insurance premiums.

Beyond financial gains, a security system is a proven deterrent to thieves. A system that records thefts can be used as evidence in a case and may lead to prosecution, preventing repeat offences.

What should be considered when designing a retail security system?

When designing a security system for a retail store, there are several elements that should be considered to effectively protect your business from shoplifting. Ensure your security system covers both the interior and exterior of your store, and have security cameras recording all entrances, exits and checkouts. Consider separate camera systems to monitor stock rooms, fitting rooms and display cabinets, as these can all be targets for thieves. If you are unsure of the best way to install a security system in your store, Ryalex can customise their solutions based on the size and layout of your retail shop.

How do stores prevent shoplifting by improving their layouts?

The layout of your store can help to deter shoplifters. Arranging your aisles neatly to ensure customers are visible throughout the store, and avoiding blind spots where possible will help you to detect any signs of shoplifting promptly. If possible, position your stock in straight lines to maximise visibility, and try not to have any inventory outside your store. For areas with unavoidable blind spots, consider using mirrors, extra lighting and security cameras to protect your goods.

How do I identify suspicious behaviour?

Suspicious behaviour can be hard to judge absolutely and usually relies on instinct. While it’s important not to assume or hold prejudices, exercise caution if you or your colleagues are being watched closely, but have not been asked for help. Conversely, if someone tries their best to avoid staff members, you have reason to be suspicious. It can also help to watch for specific behaviours, such as loitering or frequenting fitting rooms. Remember to always alert any on-site security guards and the local police if the situation escalates.

How can I balance shoplifter prevention with a welcoming store atmosphere?

Balancing safety and security with a welcoming ambience may seem tricky, but it can easily be achieved by combining friendly service with security measures. Making customers feel welcome with a pleasant greeting and eye contact not only lifts the ambience of your store, but may point to early signs of shoplifting if you are ignored. While security cameras and signage are effective shoplifting prevention devices, you should aim to implement both discreetly. Doing so will let customers know they have been observed and possibly deter theft, while still allowing them to browse your offerings safely.