When it comes to stopping theft in retail stores, there’s no one solution that fits all options. Instead, many factors contribute to the overall reduction of theft. At Product Protection Solutions (PPS), our team regularly works with businesses of all sizes, from small shops to Fortune 500 companies. Our team uses their loss prevention knowledge to assist these businesses in preventing loss and growing their sales. 

While many retailers will search for advice on how to stop theft in retail stores, this article will help educate you on the possible elements that could be contributing to your theft numbers and what you can do to reduce theft occurrences. Please remember that no solution can stop theft 100% instead, they’ll help to deter theft from happening.

What is Retail Theft?

Before learning about theft solutions, you’ll want to understand what retail theft is to best prepare against it. It’s good to note that you might hear the words shoplifting and retail theft used interchangeably, but there are differences between the terms. 

Shoplifting only includes customers who attempt to steal merchandise. Whereas retail theft consists of any loss from either customers or employees. Those losses can include:

  • Internal and external theft 
  • Product damages 
  • Unexplained losses 
  • Inventory discrepancies
  • Return fraud 
  • Vendor fraud 

When you search for retail theft solutions, you’ll find options to prevent several types of losses. 

3 Factors that Contribute to Theft in Retail

Are you aware that your store’s layout, the merchandise you sell, and even the type of employees you hire could contribute to your theft numbers? Review the factors below to learn if your retail store uses them.

Factor #1 Store Layout 

Consider reorganizing the space if your store layout contains any of these designs. 

  • Cluttered aisleways or display tables  
  • Oversized product displays 
  • Fragile merchandise placed on top shelves 
  • Lack of security mirrors or cameras in use 

Most of these issues make it difficult for employees to watch shoppers, so stealing is easier. They also contribute to product damages and inventory discrepancies. 

Factor #2 ‘Hot’ Merchandise

This will vary based on your store’s location (city vs. rural), but these are some of the most commonly stolen items from retailers (Centre for Retail Research’s 2019 data).

  • Batteries
  • Cheese 
  • Cosmetics 
  • Deodorants 
  • Electronics
  • Fashion accessories 
  • Liquors 
  • Packed meat
  • Perfumes and colognes 
  • Razor blades

Factor #3 Employee Checks 

You probably know that employee background and reference checks are valuable because they can help find criminal records or unreliable workers. Did you know these checks also help to reveal other items too? 

  • Employees’ Personality – This allows you to see their ambition level and integrity.
  • Employees’ Level of Commitment – Learn more about their work ethic. 
  • Employees’ Initiative – Determine if they will look for ways to provide value to your store. 

Understanding the above characteristics allows you to see what approach the employee might take towards reducing your losses and helping increase sales. 

3 Suggestions on How to Deter Theft in Retail

As we mentioned earlier, your circumstance plays a contributing role in selecting a retail theft solution for your business. From a general perspective, here are some of the options that have proven effective for our customers.  

Openly Display Products with Anti-Theft Devices

These security devices allow you to display merchandise openly, which makes it easier for the customer to pull the item they want off the shelf without seeking employee assistance. This is a valuable tool because if the shopper needs help, they may choose not to purchase that particular item. 

There are a variety of anti-theft device types and styles. Learn about some of them here. 

Proactive Product Monitoring 

The more you know, the better equipped you can be. Here are some ways to proactively monitor your merchandise to learn if it needs extra protection.

  • Review current high-theft products, especially ones with a high resale value 
  • Regularly review your loss prevention needs
  • Closely monitor any products with unexplained low inventory
  • Review all easy-to-conceal products with any unexplained losses 

Prepare a Retail Theft Prevention Plan

A retail theft prevention plan is a proactive approach to reducing losses. The plan can include:

  • Company procedures for returns and refunds, bag checking, and employee scheduling
  • A detailed outline of how employees should handle in-store theft situations
  • Sharing short-term and long-term loss prevention goals so everyone can work together towards a common objective
  • Selecting a point person for loss prevention-related matters

Your Next Step Towards Deterring Theft from Occurring 

Contact us to discuss your theft concerns and needs. Our team will work with you to find the anti-theft solution to help reduce your losses and stay within your budget. 

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Call 866-750-5744