11. Know the peaks
You know when your sales peak for the month. You know when sales will be tight. You know the exact time of day that you better have more than 3 cashiers on a register, so why don’t you know when the peak times for shoplifting are? Knowing when your thieves are striking can help you to be more proactive and Stop Shoplifting. In general (and this changes with tides) thieves will target a store early in the morning, late at night, or when it’s very busy. Each of those scenarios holds one thing in common; less staff to see their acts. By knowing when you’re most likely to experience a loss from shoplifting, you’re more likely to prevent it. Knowing your business is a key trait to any successful Retail Theft Prevention strategy.
12. Spot the Symptoms
What does a shoplifter look like? That’s a tough egg to break. Since a shoplifter can be virtually anyone, you have to look for the signs. Things such as out of season clothing, large flat purses, and those that go through great lengths to avoid staff can be big clues to one’s intentions. You can also look for people who grab clothing off the racks without looking at sizes, or colors. Customers that grab all the expensive items and walk towards the rear of the store should also warrant a little extra attention. Any type of unusual behavior should pique your interest. Being observant of your customers can help you to Stop Shoplifting.
13. Floor Coverage
In order to provide great, engaging customer service, you have to staff your floor appropriately. This is a basic function for any meaningful Retail Theft Prevention program. If you’re busy from 11-2, then you shouldn’t allow the majority of the staff to take a lunch at noon. This is retail, you should schedule to meet the needs of your customers and your employees should understand that when they are hired. You can’t provide great service, deter thieves and stock the shelves if you don’t have the proper coverage. Pay attention to your scheduling and make sure that you’re meeting the expectations of the business.
14. Create a Policy to Deal with Shoplifters when they are Caught
So, you have a shoplifting problem. You’ve tried cameras, electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems, locked showcases and none of that has worked on this guy. So, you catch him in the act and call the police. Now what? If you don’t have a written policy on how to handle this situation, you need one yesterday! Having a policy allows you to treat every offender the same, keep you out of any potential legal liability and ensures that the message is clear. You won’t tolerate theft. Not only will you work tirelessly to Stop Shoplifting, you will prosecute to the fullest those that test you.
15. Prosecute Everyone, no Matter how Sappy their Story is
This goes along with the above. If you catch someone stealing, whether they be 16, 60, white, black, orange, tall, short, etc.. they all get treated the same. With jail. You can’t say that you’re going to prosecute criminal “A”, but criminal “B” comes along and you don’t call the cops. If criminal “A” finds out how inconsistent you are, it could spell trouble for your case in court. This is why it’s so important to set a clear standard and stick to it. Now, it is wise to establish a dollar amount that you’ll prosecute. (You won’t be popular with law enforcement if you’re calling them out on a $1 shoplifting case.) In my stores, anything over $10 gets you a free ride downtown, with the exception of multiple offenders. Retail Theft Prevention doesn’t have to be hard. You just have to set a standard, and stick to it.
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