Brick-and-mortar retailers have the advantage of allowing customers to view merchandise up close and in person, but that also presents a challenge for stores: shoplifting. According to Business Insider, U.S. retailers lose about $45 billion each year due to theft. Though this statistic can be financially detrimental to any store owner, there are many methods available to combat this obstacle. Take a look at these five tools retail stores can implement in their loss prevention strategy:
1. Multi-purpose store layout
The way your store is laid out presents more advantages beyond just effective visual merchandising strategy. While a store with wide aisles and varied shelving angles provides an attention-grabbing setting for shoppers, it also allows you to keep a close eye on customers. However, if the building's structure prevents you from setting up your store in this manner, there are other tools that can help you see what's going on. For example, Small Business Trends suggests using convex mirrors. The rounded structure of these mirrors allows you to see several angles from your position behind the cash register. Strategically place these devices in corners or by tall shelving units that obstruct your view of the sales floor.
2. Double-duty security devices
Loss prevention technology not only captures criminal evidence, but they may also scare off thieves. With the threat of being caught on camera, most shoplifters won't take the risk. If they do decide to steal from your store, the recording devices will catch them in the act.
There are also security devices you can put right on the merchandise to prevent shoplifting. For example, you can use clothing security tags that can only be removed by a store staff member. This will prevent customers from sneaking products out of the store undetected. If the tag is still on the merchandise, then the alarm at the front door will sound.
3. Team of trustworthy individuals
Steve Sell, director of marketing for North American retail at Tyco Integrated Security, explained that hiring a friendly staff is crucial to preventing theft. Not only does their charisma enhance the customer experience, but their greetings and conversation will deter people from stealing.
"Making eye contact the minute people walk into the store and interacting with customers is a significant deterrent to shoplifting," Sell told Business Insider.
Not only should this factor be considered in your hiring decisions, but you should also train your employees to spot thieves. Small Business Trends advises staff look for customers with large bags and loose clothing that could easily conceal merchandise. Also teach them about common distraction tactics used by thieves.
4. Effective retail display fixtures
Some retail display fixtures can double as a security device. For example, a locked glass display case not only neatly presents items to shoppers, but it also prevents anyone from stealing expensive merchandise. Consider displaying more costly or small-sized items in this type of fixture. If a patron wants to view the products up close, make sure an employee remains with the customer while the case is unlocked.
5. Accurate records
Keeping accurate records of stocked merchandise and sales is essential for spotting any discrepancies in your inventory. Entrepreneur suggested conducting a physical inventory at least once a year, and do random comparisons as well. By being both frequent and random in your timing, only you will know when an inventory check is approaching. This will make it easier to determine if your store is experiencing dishonesty among your employees. Additionally, you can provide a way for your staff to send you anonymous tips if they suspect something among their coworkers. This strategy will prevent hostility in the workplace while also promoting integrity.