Shoplifting prevention some tips



If you can't measure shoplifting, then all you have is an opinion. Do you are going with it, is it getting worse, is what you are doing helps, etc. NO.

I was told about this at a retail security convention and here are some ideas that I picked up that I think you will find interesting.

Today with the internet, the problem of shoplifting is getting much worse. 20 years ago a shoplifter often had great difficulty in selling his stolen wares, and when he went to a fence, he was lucky to get a quarter of the value, today on eBay he can sell almost anything and get nearly all of the retail value. Plus the laws are not a tough so its no wonder that shoplifting is going up.

Here are some tips.

Patroling the shop

Security cameras and tags etc are good but a shoplifter with a booster bag can walk through your electronic bars with no alarm going off. A simple way they can test your security is they steal a tag and nothing else, then they put the tag in the bag and walk out. If the alarm goes off and they are asked to show their bag, the tag is so small it will probably be missed as no-one is looking for a tag, what they are looking for is stock. If you do find the tag, they can just say they were going to buy something, put it in the bag and then changed their mind, put the item back and the tag must have fallen out. Yeah it just magically was cut off the item.

So with all the security technology, there is nothing better than having staff walk around the shop offering to help your clients, besides being excellent customer service it is disrupting a potential shoplifter.

Compare your perpetual sales to your actual sales.

It is not hard for your accountant (or you) to know the value by a department of what you purchased (PURCHASED) had in the shop at the start of last financial year (Start) and what you had at the end of the last financial year (END). Then take off what was lost (LOST). Now divide by the margin (MARGIN%)

The theoretical (generally called perpetual) sales = ((PURCHASED)+(START)-(END)-(LOST))/(1-MARGIN%)

Now compare this figure with what your total report in your point of sale has.

That is your TOTAL theft problem. This is your starting point as it includes much more than just shoplifting.

In practice, if you do not know a figure, just take an educated estimate. What I suggest is that you work with a range, e.g. if MARGIN% is somewhere between 23% and 25% then do the calculation for 23% and then do it again for 25% to give you a feel of the problem. This method tends to work better than just averaging.

For example, I did a calculation with a client, and we determined that the problem was at the most about $4,000 which my client then decided was about as good as its going to get so we stopped there.

Continuous stocktakes

A shop stock should be counted regularly. The shop can be split into manageable sections, then each part which should be about equal in work in counting can be done when a person is available. Please read here for details

Doing this will tell you where most of your theft is happening. It also allows you to check your retail inventory systems. As a general rule, it was suggested that each shop should be counted every quarter. Some people count high-risk departments like the tobacco stand at the end of every shift. Doing it freqently makes it possible to review your security tapes to try to pinpoint how, who and when the theft occurred.

Staff security

Often this is a joke, with everyone in the shop knowing the manager's password. But it does not have to be like that, with a bit of care a proper staff security system can be set up.

Grandmother in the front

The speaker at the show thought highly of this idea. Have grandmother stand in front of the shop and warmly greet everyone that comes in. It seems to shame a few people into being honest.


Use cards

From a theft point of view, cash is always a problem as tracking cash can be difficult.

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