It’s easier than you think to stop shoplifting. With some common-sense type approaches, basic policies and a little work, there are a few easy steps that you can take right now to start improving your bottom line. I’ve compiled a list of 20 for you to review. Which one applies most to your store?
1. Unattended keys
Seriously, this is my biggest pet peeve. You spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on showcases to display those really expensive items and you leave the keys laying around, in plain view. Drives me absolutely up the wall. Retail Theft Prevention strategies are only as good as the weakest link. Here’s a quick story. I was in one of my stores this past week and found the keys to the electronics in plain sight near a desk. There’s not some magical barrier that would prevent a thief from walking into our office! Let’s not also believe that we don’t have dishonest employees working for us, either. So, I took the keys and completely emptied out the case. I asked a manager if they were having a good sale since they were all out of product. I think I gave her a mini-heart attack, but I made my point. Keys should be secured to your person, or in a lock box. Nowhere else.
2. Protect valuable merchandise
You would think that I would not have to say this, but I do. If you have extremely valuable merchandise, then protect it! I’m not talking about candy bars, I’m talking about your high dollar sunglasses, designer purses, $100+ cologne, etc. If it’s valuable to you, it’s valuable to a thief. Never sit back and just accept a loss as a part of “doing business”. You can and should be proactive in order to prevent losses. Your bottom line depends on it. If your retail theft prevention tools and security cameras aren’t doing the trick, look into purchasing security fixtures, or locked showcases. There is an endless array of Loss Prevention solutions on the market aimed to Stop Shoplifting and retain profits.
3. Got a dressing room?
Monitor it.This one goes out to all my apparel retailers. How many of you have a dressing room, but no employee assigned to it? All of you? That’s what I thought. You probably have said to yourself countless times that you simply can’t afford to hire a person to be in your fitting room all day, every day. Well, you my friend are 100% wrong. You can’t afford not to. We did a study a few years back (and I’ll admit my company is still stubborn and our dressing rooms aren’t staffed) and we found that we lost about $250 a day to theft. That’s only one store. You’re not paying an hourly employee $250/day. You may not lose that much, or you may be losing more, but you get the point. An employee monitoring the fitting room will stop shoplifting, especially if you limit the number of garments and count them when they enter and when they exit.
4. Take returns?
Have a policy. If you hadn’t realized that your return policy can cost you money yet, then you’ve got some work to do. With return fraud becoming the biggest scam on earth, wardrobing and customer’s returning bricks in boxes, a loose return policy can spell trouble for your bottom line. First, you should be very clear on what can be returned and what cannot. Second, you have to train your staff to meet your expectations and to look for those clues that they are being taken advantage of. Of course, you’ll need to bend your policy every now and then for a legitimate customer, but don’t ignore your gut. If you don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling, your instincts are probably right.
5. Overhead PA announcements
One of my favorite things to do to shoplifters and it’s also the most low-tech retail theft prevention tool out there. Sometimes, if I want to have a little fun with a known thief, I’ll use the overhead PA to my advantage. Let’s say the thief is in Men’s activewear. I’ll page “the customer in blue needs assistance in men’s”. When the thief hears that, chances are they will quickly move to another location. When they do, I’ll repeat the process. If I really want to have some fun, I’ll page “The police officer that was looking for ‘item X’, please come to ‘x location’. Of course, the location is where the shoplifter is at. This usually does the trick and your thief will usually haul-tail out the door. Who says retail has to be boring? It’s your store, have some fun!
For more information about retail theft prevention, contact us or call 1.866.914.2567.