Tips to stop shoplifting this Christmas

Crowded retail environments present a prime opportunity for thieves, who can take advantage of hordes of people and distracted sales staff. Stop these Christmas grinches with the following security tips.

December and January can be the busiest times of year for many retailers. The festive shopping and New Year sales period often see a frenzy of people rushing to purchase last-minute gifts or take advantage of heavily discounted items. Sadly, with the rise in trade generally comes a rise in theft.

While bolstering staff numbers and providing additional training can keep shoplifters on their toes, there is no better deterrent than visible security technology, such as electronic article surveillance (EAS)tags and security cameras.

To help store owners prepare for the sales rush, Tyco Retail Solutions suggests the following security tips:

1. Assess the store layout

  • Santa Claus looking distraught at a receiptCheck the floor area to ensure staff can see every zone within the store and install additional cameras in any blind spots to observe customer behaviour.
  • Increase the use of tags and labels in these areas to reduce the opportunities for shoplifters.
  • Ensure that any security sensors at the store’s entry and exit points are clearly visible and not hidden by advertising.

2. Protect vulnerable merchandise

  • Identify the merchandise most prone to shoplifting and put protective measures in place.
  • Valuable stock items can be securely protected using EAS tags and labels that will trigger an alarm if targeted by shoplifters.
  • Don’t feel that every item needs to be tagged. Just having some items visibly tagged can be enough to tell a potential shoplifter that the store has security technology in place.
  • Make sure stock is neatly displayed and that rejected stock isn’t left lying around in fitting rooms or outside of its packaging.
  • Consider an item-level inventory intelligence system that tracks goods as they move through the store, from shelves to POS and out the door.

3. Train staff

  • It is important to treat every customer the same, as there is no typical shoplifter profile.
  • Ensure staff greet and make eye contact with everyone that walks into the store and are comfortable handling a shoplifting incident. Their job is to deter, not detain, an offender.
  • It is important that staff react to every alarm, as this will send a message to customers that the store takes security seriously.
  • Make sure that staff are diligent in removing or deactivating tags and labels from purchases to ensure the store remains efficient and minimises unnecessary distractions.

Michael Day is the national retail manager at Tyco Retail Solutions.

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