Shoplifting impacts every retail business, from local convenience stores to supermarkets to high-end retailers. No one is immune from this loss, but some companies have a much lower theft rate than others. Have you ever thought, “what are these businesses doing that I’m not?” If so, we can provide you with some insight! 

At Product Protection Solutions (PPS), we want to assist the retail loss prevention community with knowledge and tools to deter theft, reduce loss, and secure their bottom line. Since there are hundreds of retail theft tips and advice, navigating the solutions that might work best for you takes time. To help make the process easier, we will share some of the most common shoplifting tactics and retail theft prevention solutions to help deter shoplifters. 

5 Commonly Used Shoplifting Techniques 

Whether your business is in a small town or city, you will find these types of shoplifting methods everywhere. 

Theft Method #1 Concealment 

At some point in time, every thief attempts to conceal merchandise on their body or in a bag when leaving the store. Although that’s not always the case, there are even more secretive ways to hide products.

  • Inside another product’s box (so they purchase one item while stealing another)
  • Baby strollers
  • Inside umbrellas 
  • Winter gloves 
  • Hats 

They aim to find discrete methods of concealing the product without your staff noticing. 

Theft Method #2 Foil Lined Bags

Many retailers have seen a rising trend in the use of foil lined bags, especially with Organized Retail Crime (ORC) groups. These bags contain a metal lining that allows the person to place merchandise with security tags inside. Their goal is to exit the store without sounding an alarm since the EAS system doesn’t pick up the device thanks to the metal lining. 

Theft Method #3 Removing the Product’s Packaging 

While most retailers don’t permit merchandise into their restrooms, shoplifters can still find ways to remove the product’s packaging through:

  • Camera blind spots 
  • Behind large product displays
  • Concealing the item within clothing and then going to a fitting room
  • Behind clothing racks

These thieves hope that by removing the packaging, it won’t sound any alarms when exiting the store. 

Theft Method #4 Left Handling 

This occurs during checkout when the thief holds an item in their left hand while attempting to keep the cashier’s attention on their right hand while they pay for their order. The goal is to distract the cashier so they can slip the unpaid merchandise into the bag with their paid item.  

Theft Method #5 Walking Out 

The shoplifter goes inside, selects their desired product, and walks out within a few minutes. Their goal is to move so quickly that the staff doesn’t catch them until it’s too late.

Retail Theft Prevention Solutions 

Knowledge and action is the best course to deter shoplifters. Since you understand the goal behind each method, here are some retail theft prevention solutions to combat these shoplifters. 

Loss Prevention Solution for Concealment 

Safer boxes allow you to secure products inside a polycarbonate case. This makes concealment more challenging but still leaves the merchandise on open display for customers to purchase without employee assistance. 

Loss Prevention Solution for Foil Lined Bags

Benefit denial devices are an ideal option for thieves leaving the store without removing the security tag. When a person attempts to remove the anti-theft device without the proper tool, the product is damaged, making it useless. For example, a tag could release ink that ruins clothing, or an oversized pinhead would rip the product when removed. 

Loss Prevention Solution for Package Removal 

Quad wraps are devices that wrap around the item, which makes removing the product from the packaging almost impossible. You can also add an alarming element to these wraps, so an alarm sounds if anyone attempts to remove it. Additionally, safers are a valuable tool to combat this theft.

Loss Prevention Solution for Left Handling 

Hard tags are large, plastic devices that are very noticeable. They are typically available in several colors, including black and red, which makes it challenging to keep the product hidden from the cashier. They are available in various styles, from blister tags to zip tags.

Loss Prevention Solution for Walking Out 

The Swing Gate is an effective tool to target this type of theft. This device requires the shoplifter to open a door to remove the product. Adding this additional step makes the person think twice about their decision to steal. You can even program the Swing Gate to send notifications to your staff when the door opens.

Deter Shoplifters and Protect Your Bottom Line with PPS

Whether shoplifters come to your store daily or monthly, we understand the harmful impact loss can have on your business. Every day, our team looks for ways to help retailers protect their business with effective solutions that fit their budgets. 

Learn how we can help with your loss prevention needs by contacting our team today!