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Protecting Profits: How to Reduce Shoplifting

6 Low-Tech, Cost-Effective Ways of Preventing In-Store Theft

Shoplifting is a crime signRetail theft is an ever-present risk for small businesses. With few employees and minimal security, small businesses are frequently targeted by shoplifters because they simply don’t have the resources necessary for protecting their goods as thoroughly as a major retailer.

But, reducing your risk of shoplifting doesn’t have to cost your business thousands of dollars. In fact, you may be able to greatly reduce your financial losses by incorporating the following six low-tech and cost-effective resources.

#1 – Be an Organized Store Owner

Running a disorganized store makes it so much easier for shoplifters to grab items off of shelves. And because the store is disorganized, it may take the owner longer than usual to discover the items missing. But when you keep a neat and tidy store, you will be better able to recognize when an item goes missing so you can act quicker and stop the perpetrator before they leave the store.

#2 – Be a Friendly Store Owner

Whenever a customer walks through your doors, make it a habit to go up to them, look them in the eyes, and welcome them to your store. Shoplifters do not want to be noticed, so by looking them in the eyes and making close contact with them, you may make them uncomfortable enough that they won’t risk stealing from you.

And, for customers who are not shoplifters, this same action will make them feel welcomed in your store, which will work wonders for your reputation and customer satisfaction.

#3 – Keep Your Store Well-Lit

Dark corners and shady aisles offer the perfect environment for shoplifters to do their dirty work. Eliminate these areas by keeping your store well-lit and bright, and it will be more difficult for them to steal without being seen.

#4 – Keep a Clear line of Sight Throughout the Store

Avoid using store décor, fixtures, or advertising that restricts your visibility. Your employees should have a clear line of sight in every direction so they can keep tabs on suspicious-looking customers at all times. The harder it is for a customer to “hide,” the less chance they will have to sneak an item into their coat or purse.

#5 – Use Clear Plastic Packaging on Expensive Items

Clear, locked plastic packaging is an effective way to protect higher-priced but smaller-sized items. Or, you can keep such items in a locked cabinet that can only be opened upon request by an employee with a key.

#6 – Have a Store Code

Create a store “code” that only you and your employees know that will alert your employees of a suspicious-looking customer. When you see a customer who you think should be watched a little closer, get on the store announcement system and say the store code. For the best results, it should be something easy for your employees to remember, and a message that sounds normal in the store environment, such as, “Susan, call for you on line 5.”

Because you don’t have an employee named “Susan” and your store only has two phone lines, your employees will easily know that’s your code to pay closer attention to the customers because one may be shoplifting.

Dave Donovan


Dave Donovan has written extensively for the web with a primary focus on articles targeting finance and business.