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Easy Ways to Prevent Shoplifting in Your Small Business

prevent-shopliftingIf you run a small retail business, shoplifting can take a substantial bite out of your revenue. Shoplifters sometimes target small businesses because they know they don’t have the loss-prevention budget to hire security guards or purchase the expensive theft-prevention systems often used by larger retailers. Thankfully, there are some effective and affordable methods that small-business owners can use to prevent shoplifting. What are they?

Provide Great Customer Service

Small-business owners know that their customers appreciate their assistance. But a happy side-effect of providing those who come into your store with lots of personal attention is that shoplifters hate it. Make eye-contact with all of your clients and give them a friendly greeting. That way, your real clients will know you appreciate them, and shoplifters will know you’ve gotten a good look at their faces. Check in with your clients regularly to see if there’s anything you can help them find, or if they have questions you might be able to answer. Again, legitimate customers will generally appreciate the help, but would-be thieves will hate it.

Stay Organized

If you don’t know how much inventory you have, how will you be able to tell when some of it goes missing? Make sure your shelves are clean and well-organized. Keep a set number of any given item on the shelves at one time, so you’ll know if something has been removed from a shelf or hanger.

If It’s Small and Valuable, Lock it Up

The most attractive items to shoplifters who plan to sell their ill-gotten merchandise are high-dollar items that are easy to conceal. Small-business owners should keep these types of items locked in a display case, behind the counter, or at the very least, in an area that’s easy to monitor.

Eliminate Blind Spots

Shoplifters take advantage of areas where they know it will be more difficult for store owners or employees to see what they’re up to. You can eliminate these blind spots in your store by rearranging your fixtures so they limit your field of vision as little as possible. Clever use of convex mirrors can also go a long way. If there are certain parts of your store that are difficult to see due to a lack of illumination, install extra light fixtures.

Beat Them at Their Own Game

Shoplifters attempt to dishonestly acquire your merchandise. Why not use deception against them? They don’t know that your CCTV camera domes have nothing in them, or that you don’t actually have a system that detects those magnetic tags. These intimidation tricks are cost-effective and useful, and are sure to reduce your shoplifting losses.


John R. Klaras is a serial entrepreneur and small business professional, a writer, and an educator by trade. With nearly a decade of experience in the telecommunications industry, he is currently in the process of building a burgeoning new microbusiness. He has written for leading companies in a wide variety of verticals, including travel, finance, motorsports, and real estate.