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Shrinkage – it’s a peculiar euphemism but whatever term you choose, the truth remains that retail theft is happening everywhere: According to The National Association of Shoplifting, more than $35 million worth of goods are stolen on a daily basis. Here’s some advice for cutting losses & protecting your bottom line…
Be Aware! This means more than simply keeping your eyes open. Make it your business to know what merchandise holds the greatest appeal to shoplifters (often, smaller sized big-ticket items attract the most attention). If you can’t keep these items locked in a cabinet or a display case, at the very least make sure that they’re in a prominent part of the store. You should know what to look for regarding shoplifters as well. Pay closer attention to shoppers who seem shifty or nervous, stare at employees and other customers, wander aimlessly, or repeatedly enter and exit the store. Attention is an effective way of discouraging theft. Greet each customer with a smile (you should be, anyway!), don’t be shy about eye contact and be present and helpful throughout the shopping process. Thieves need privacy! Don’t give it to them.
Be public about your theft policy! Shoplifters Will Be Prosecuted signs can go a long way as a deterrent. Be vigilant with garment tracking and don’t allow customers to take bags into dressing rooms (it’s practically inviting theft). Paying customers can be shoplifters, too. Don’t drop your guard at the register! Often, a thief will pay for an item like a bag or a purse then use it to transport stolen goods from the store. Thorough shoplifting policies negate risk.
Maximize Visibility! Keeping a close eye on merchandise is always a good practice but you can’t be everywhere all the time. Make sure that short displays are in proximity of the cash register and taller ones are nearer your store’s perimeter. The trick is making sure that merchandise is always visible from anywhere you’re sitting or standing. Sounds impossible? Don’t worry, mirrors are perfect for getting rid of blind spots. Keeping your store tidy goes a long way, too. It’s nearly impossible to see what’s missing in a cluttered mess!
Make sure you have a visible security system! They come at all price points, in all shapes and sizes: mirrors, motion sensors, security guards, cameras – even faux cameras. Whatever your preference, it’s important that the security system you purchase is visible to your customers. Vigilance takes many forms. Pick one that fits your needs and budget but whatever you do… pick one! It will go a long way toward loss prevention.
Lock everything up! By limiting access to dressing rooms and display cases, you make employee interaction a necessity. Customer assistance provides an extra line of defense.
Move your cash register! It should be in the proximity of exit and ingress points to force customers to walk past employees when they come and go. Make sure that your points-of-sale are manned by employees who are trained in loss prevention.
Implement these strategies today. Shrink your shrinkage.