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Prevent shoplifting and employee theft

Optimize your store layout What your staff can do What owners can do

Shoplifting Prevention Optimize your store layout • Place your checkout toward the front on the left (since most customers turn right when entering) • Place the checkout so the cashier has a broad view of the store • Eliminate blind spots with mirrors, lighting, low shelving and displays that otherwise would obscure visibility • Keep trendy or expensive items in locked cabinets, behind counters or secured some other way, and far from the exit, if possible. • Expand your staff so you can have an employee monitor the store entrance/exit, cheerily greeting or saying goodbye to customers. Some stores even quickly check receipts. • Keep dressing rooms locked until needed, and then monitor them. • Limit the number of items allowed in dressing rooms. • Signage – a “shoplifters will be prosecuted” sign (or wording that reflects your store) is important in areas where potential thieves may look for cameras, unattended areas, etc.

What your staff can do • Teach them about suspicious shoppers, and discourage racial profiling: Look for customers who observe employees more than the merchandise; take several items to the dressing room; act nervous; arrive with multiple purses/bags, or wear bulky clothing. • Always close the cash drawer. • Don’t turn your back on customers. • Walk around the store and offer to help. • Ask suspicious customers if you can help them or ring them up; never accuse them or stop them; concentrate on getting a detailed description so you can report to security. • Have a code alert if you notice suspicious activity to alert staff. • Watch for price switching; do a price check if necessary. • Be more alert at peak hours, opening and closing.

What owners can do • Invest in an inventory management – POS system so merchandise can be better tracked. • Build relationships with customers; if you know their names, they’re unlikely to steal from you. • Develop training and policies for your employees. • Have strong refund and return policies – require receipts for cash refunds. Trash discarded receipts immediately. • Consider a sealed bag system, so shoplifters can’t fill bags after they check out. • Get to know your police department’s and prosecutor’s stands on shoplifting – is it something they want to prosecute or no? • If the problem is severe, consider sensors, security guards (uniformed or plainclothed) or camera security systems. These all can be expensive but may save you money in the long run.

Shrink costs retailers about 1.33% of sales, on average, in 2017 – totaling almost $47 billion. - National Retail Security Survey

Employee Theft • The oldest trick: cashiers may void large transactions but still place merchandise in shopping bags for customers, or ring up part of an order to let accomplices walk away with stolen merchandise. • Crooked store employees may try to use checkout mobility as a means to steal. They could take the mobile point of sale system into a restroom and ring up bogus transactions, including processing false returns or put money on depleted gift cards handed in by customers. In addition, thieves have talked employees into loading up gift cards with hundreds of dollars, promising them a cut. The employee typically gets caught, and the thieves get away with the gift cards. • Employees can ring up inexpensive items for large orders of merchandise, and leave the rest to go unpaid. A video surveillance of sales counters, screening employees and using electronic article surveillance or RFID technology all help stem this form of theft. • If you sell online and ship items, beware of collusion between online buyers and employees preparing packages for shipment. Insider thieves simply pack the box with extra products. Weight data – knowing the weight of every SKU - is key to stopping this type of fraud.


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Profile for Michigan Retailers Association

Retail Fraud  

How to prevent shoplifting and employee theft.

Retail Fraud  

How to prevent shoplifting and employee theft.