Did The Grinch Steal Your Retail Christmas? 

Wow, Christmas is over and Retailers are starting to dig out from the carnage. Unfortunately, some of the carnage is all the merchandise that shoplifters have liberated from your store. I believe that theft is actually the oldest vice around. Even older than “the oldest profession”. As long are there are two things on this earth 1-people and 2-stuff, there will be theft. Well, neither is going away anytime soon. So what do we do?  

The first thing is to make the decision to take your store back from the enemy. Putting the solution off will not fix the problem and it will get worse. The second is to implement the two proven solutions. Training and a Sensormatic system. 

TRAINING – Over the past 35 years I have heard countless retailers say the same thing. “I don’t know what I can or cannot do with or about shoplifters”. Shoplifters are no different than any other business challenge we face. Attack it head-on. Loss Prevention Systems can educate you on what you can and cannot do. But more importantly, we will take you off the defensive and put you on the offense. Now I know what you may be thinking right now. “I am not going to chase shoplifters down and tackle them!”. Well, I am glad we got that out because we do not want you to do that either. We want to prevent the loss from occurring (that’s why we call ourselves Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. What a coincidence, huh?).  

Training should cover a discussion of the problem itself, the law both criminal and civil, who shoplifters are and how to spot them before they even steal, going on the offensive with customer service tactics and more. We do this live via webinar with as many of your folks as you can pull together. I have actually found that most of the time we need to do two sessions so we do not leave the store short staffed or someone misses out. Training will help give you the confidence to attack the shoplifting scourge head-on. 

SENSORMATIC SYSTEM – “So if I am trained, why do I need a Sensormatic system and Sensormatic security labels?” Great question, glad you asked that! (sorry, I am in one of those moods) Consider this, training is only half of the solution. You and your staff can be trained up in the techniques to prevent and deal with shoplifting but you cannot be everywhere at once, even in a small boutique. Shoplifters WILL create an environment where they can steal. On top of that what you will find is that some of your “best” customers are also actually stealing from you. Yes, that good customer is buying merchandise, either small inexpensive items or even more expensive ones but they are actually stealing other merchandise in addition to that. And because they are a “best” or frequently seen customer less attention is paid to their activities. They are kind of a fixture, they hang out a bit, joke with the staff, ask questions and then…. They are simply not observed because “that’s just Sam or Wendy, they are really nice”. 

So to handle all that you will find that a Sensormatic system is actually cheaper than additional payroll. In addition to that, the Sensormatic system never takes a day off, does not call in sick or no show. The Sensormatic system is working 24/7. Actually, many of our systems actually power themselves down after you close to save on your energy bill. They automatically wake themselves up when you come in the next day. 

A Sensormatic system has two benefits. It sends a message to the thieves (real customers do not care) and prevents losses. And, of course, the tags and labels are actually protecting your merchandise and bottom line. 

So there are no more excuses. Make this year the best yet for sales you make and actually keep the margin make on the bottom line. Grinch, GO AWAY! Contact us today. We can make both Training and a Sensormatic system your reality. 

A Proper Reflection Of The Past Year Can Make The New Year Even Better

It is January and you are ready to get started on your new year. What does the start of a New Year look like for your business? Are you still trying to move out seasonal and clearance merchandise? Are you preparing to trim back payroll by releasing seasonal employees? Maybe you are already thinking about inventory and what you will need to do to prepare for that day. There are all sorts of ways retail owners and managers start the New Year but I would suggest that before you look forward you take time to look back on the previous year. 

There are a couple of reasons I would suggest reflecting on what the past year has been like for the business. First, by taking the time to reflect on the year you can celebrate the store wins with the entire store team. Employees want to know how their contributions have helped the store meet goals that were set. You may have one or one hundred successes to share but your entire team has put in the work and should be given a chance to share in the successes. It can be a simple cake in the breakroom or a small in-store party but let your employees know that their efforts paid off and are appreciated.  

 Another reason for reflection is that you can evaluate what did not go as planned. This is when you pull out planning documents or action plans and look at what goals were not reached. Did you meet your sales goals? Did you make stock shortage objectives? Did you meet your employee turnover goals? If you cannot celebrate an item as a win you will want to move that to the new store action plan for this year. You and your management team will need to consider what can be done differently to achieve the goals you set and missed. This is not a 5-minute task. This will require the team to drill down to the causes that led to a missed goal and then plan how to improve it. Sometimes this can feel personal and everyone needs to leave their feelings outside the room. Approach the problem as a group and find ways to help each other with action items. 

One of my favorite tools for a New Year is what I have adopted from several workplaces, a “What Works/What Didn’t Work” session. I have seen these done by only a management team but the truly effective sessions include team members and hourly staff. The employees will often provide you with insight into problems you did not know existed. Here is an example; you may think you have a good return policy and your return desk employees are happy. You don’t see anything that indicates problems with your refund program. What you may not be aware of is that your service desk employees are unhappy because they feel that managers are not supporting them after they turn down a refund with no receipt. The managers are called when the customer is upset and the manager arrives and tells the customer they “will take care of it”. Sure, the customers are happy and the policies look like they are enforced but the service desk employees feel foolish and undermined. A “What Worked/What Didn’t Work” session can help you see how you can improve policies, services and improve morale. When you conduct one, make sure you also ask your employees for suggestions on how to improve what they think did not work. Don’t let it simply be a gripe session. It also allows you to clarify reasons some policies may be in place that employees were unaware of before the meetings. 

After you have celebrated, evaluated and set new goals you are almost ready to jump into your New Year. Make sure your goals are realistic and create plans that will be effective in achieving those goals. If reducing shortage by .5% is your goal, you may want to install an Electronic Article Surveillance system. If making your hiring process easier and reducing paperwork is a goal, Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. can help you with their Applicant Management Center. If parking lot break-ins are an issue you can request improved lighting from your property management company. If you need help in risk assessment and loss reduction Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. offers a consultation package that involves everything from an onsite visit to a comprehensive loss prevention policies and procedures package. 

Start your year off right with a look back at the previous year. Share wins, evaluate opportunities and work as a team to create plans that will lead to an even better year than last. Make 2019 a year of growth and prosperity and consider taking Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. along as a partner!


Low-cost Loss Prevention Tips and Suggestions

The retail industry loses an approximate $45 billion a year due to shoplifting, organized retail crime, merchant, and clerical errors. For the small retail owner, any loss due to shoplifting puts a financial strain on their ability to do business, hire more personnel or invest and grow their business.

The competition in every industry is brutal, and the retail industry is no different.  The online option the customer has of buying whatever they need or want with the click of a button is especially hard for a small retail owner.  Their inventory and profit margins they’re dealing with are nothing compared to the big-box chains’, and any loss they suffer is particularly painful for their profits.

There are many businesses that cannot afford to invest in new technology to deter or prevent shoplifting, and they are left with the option of losing more cash and inventory or close their doors permanently, all due to this crime. But, if they cannot invest in technology, and they cannot hire more personnel, what are some low-cost options they can implement in their store to deter or prevent shoplifting?

  1. Customer Service

One of the great assets these small retail stores have compared to the big chains or online stores is the customer service they can provide to their customers.  Providing the customer with a greeting when they walk into your store and offering them great customer service has shown to decrease shoplifting and increase customer satisfaction.

A satisfied customer is also more likely to promote your business.  In today’s social network platforms, a bad experience can potentially reach thousands of customers with disastrous backlash for you and your store, but a good experience can also do the same, it can reach many potential customers that want to do business with you.  Treat your customers as a business ambassador for your business, and you will see the results in your profits.

2. Inventory

Keeping a good inventory of what’s selling and the number of items you are missing-whether they were sold or stolen-from the shelves can help you keep an accurate count of the merchandise.

Do you know at a minute’s notice what inventory you have on hand? There are software solutions that help retailers keep track of such matters, and allows them to have reports daily and online to help them make adjustments, order more inventory if necessary, and know at a moment’s notice the state of their inventory.

3. Organization

The design, cleanliness and how well your product displays are kept are important in keeping shoplifting at a minimum.  Well lit aisles, merchandise displayed properly and organized can make the shelves look pretty and the items displayed can allow you and your employees to account for the merchandise with a quick look to the shelves.

4. Diligence

Your employees are your best bet to deter and prevent shoplifting.  Research has shown happy employees are the best asset your company has for success, and in this case to deter and prevent shoplifting.  Salaries are not the only incentive your employees look for when entering a new business, treating them with respect and allowing them the ability to prove and express themselves are key to the success of any business.

Shoplifting affects every citizen and every member of society. The way you respond to a shoplifting accident and the way you treat shoplifters reflect on how you conduct yourself and your business.

Good Intentions With Bad Outcomes; Retailers Must Prepare For Increased Violence From Shoplifting Gangs

Actions based on good intentions don’t always have good results. One of the most famous of missteps was the Coca-Cola attempt to improve its formula and market “New” Coke. The idea was well-intentioned but the public reception was cool if not outright hostile. According to the website INVESTOPEDIA, “ “Classic Coke” returned to the shelves less than three months after it had been retired.” In the same article, they point out that in 2008 the manufacturer of Motrin found out that there was a problem with the medicine not dissolving properly. Reportedly they did not want to “incur the associated negative publicity, the firm sent out secret shoppers to buy the products off of store shelves, which resulted in a lawsuit in Oregon in 2011.” (“8 Good Intentions With Bad Outcomes”, Lisa Smith, updated December 15, 2017). Laws can have the same problems of unintended consequences, helping one constituency while hurting another.

In an article in LPM Magazine, “Retail Crime In Los Angeles”, May 1, 2018, An example of a law that was intended to help “reduce prison crowding in California’s overwhelmed prisons and provide treatment rather than jail time to qualifying drug offenders” was Proposition 47. How could such a program go wrong? Who would not benefit from such a law? Apparently, retailers are bearing the burden of unforeseen consequences in this case. According to the article part of Proposition 47 also converted “many non-violent offenses, including shoplifting from felonies to misdemeanors.” The story goes on to say that shoplifting offense under $950 result only in a citation to show up in court. Inevitably career and habitual shoplifters are going to learn what the lines are between a misdemeanor and a felony and they are going to take advantage of those delineations.

It seems that shoplifting has dramatically increased in Los Angeles as criminals have found that it is lucrative for them to engage in the crime with minimal cost if they are caught. The ramifications that are being felt include increased monetary losses for retailers due to theft-related shrink. Worse, the story states that violent behavior from shoplifters is seemingly on the rise. Danger has always been a concern for retailers and especially Loss Prevention professionals when stopping a shoplifter(s). Now that potentially violent criminals have been released because of the reclassification of certain crimes the stakes are higher. The story points out that gangs are becoming more active in shoplifting. As mentioned criminals are quick to learn and they learn rapidly when penalties for a crime become less severe.

Violence in shoplifting cases is becoming more pronounced and not simply in Los Angeles. A story on ketv.com by the reporter, Michelle Bandur, Dec. 20, 2017, referenced a group of women boosting merchandise from retailers in the Omaha area. Detective Galloway interviewed in the report, “said they don’t avoid confrontation and may resort to violence.” He said they have received reports that these women will, “… load bags in front of employees and sometimes I’ve been told by employees they will taunt them.” He went on to describe incidents of the members of the group knocking people to the floor. They have attempted to run over others in a parking lot if they noticed a person trying to take a picture of their license plate. These incidents support data from the National Retail Federation 2017 Organized Retail Crime Survey. According to the survey, 98.5% of responding retailers reported “ORC (Organized Retail Crime) gangs are just as aggressive or more aggressive and violent when compared with last year. 26.5% said that gangs are much more aggressive than in the previous year (pg. 10). If these numbers from the NRF Survey are true, when coupled with Proposition 47 retailers in L.A. may be in for some very rocky times in years to come.

Retailer owners must become familiar with methods to prevent shoplifting without endangering employees in the process. Tried and true methods such as aggressive customer service may not be effective deterrents any longer. Adjustments by Managers may include carefully reviewing hours of operation and not staying open as late at night. If cameras are not in place owners may want to install them to have quality video and pictures for police in case of a serious incident. Starting a Retail Crime Prevention organization in partnership with local police can help identify theft trends and organized and violent persons. Finally, retail theft prevention training from Loss Prevention Systems Inc. can provide more information on how to stop theft and keep your employees safe from harm.

Prop. 47 may have been well-intentioned but it has opened up a Pandora’s Box of problems for California retailers.  Through proper training, owners and managers can position store teams to be ready for security and safety issues now and in the future.

School’s Out – Time To Get Ready For School: Tips To Prepare for a Successful Back To School Season

Summertime is here and now is the time for children to rejoice and shout for glee as most are finishing up their school year. Put away the pens and paper and lunchboxes and prepare to enjoy the warm, sunny days. No Mr. and Ms. Retailer, not YOU, the children. The moment the schools let out is the moment you should be preparing to roll out the merchandise for the next school year. Wait too long and you will be a step or two behind your competition.

Certainly, most children will not be anxious to go school shopping so soon after starting their vacations but we, the dads and moms out here, are always looking for special sales and deals that will save us a few bucks. Education may be free but all of the accessories are not. Think about what we parents are purchasing to send the kids off to school. We are asked to provide crayons, pencils, pens, glue, and paper. Lunchboxes, backpacks (wait, regular or see-through?), binders and notecards also fill our school supply lists. From there schools and grades may have varying requirements. The retailer who is going to be top of the class is the one who will anticipate the needs of the pupils and parents and prepares accordingly.

What are some of those things that you can do to get the head start that will drive sales for your business?

  • If you aren’t keeping old school supply lists filed away, start doing so. This will give you a good idea of what teachers will probably ask parents to provide the coming year. The schools will probably not make lists for the coming year available until July so knowing last year’s information gains you some advantage.
  • Advertise. Use social media and in-store flyers as cost-effective means of getting the word out to customers. You may also want to check on the price of a radio spot to air a short commercial. If you only rely on posting flyers and banners in the store you are limiting your advertising to those customers already shopping with you. You need to spread the message to bring in additional shoppers.
  • Create displays near the front of the store that focuses on school-related supplies that complement each other. For example, create an endcap with binders, loose-leaf paper, pencils, pens, crayons, compasses, and protractors. If your store is geared to clothing then displays for children’s clothing should be on focal points. Regardless of what your store specializes in, order a one-time shipment of some lunchboxes and food storage containers for sandwiches, chips, dressings/sauces. Parents are conscientious of rising school lunch prices and reusable containers appeal to both the cost concerned and environmentally focused families.
  • In the process of creating the displays don’t forget about merchandise protection. Use electronic article surveillance labels and hard tags on everything. Don’t lose sight of the fact that those displays will also attract the attention of shoplifters and they will steal merchandise that isn’t secure. Small and expensive items will be especially tempting.
  • Begin clearance pricing some summer products earlier to free up floor space for back to school related merchandise.
  • An easy to overlook opportunity is to keep your check lanes full of impulse buy goods. Snacks and drinks are top items but finding cool gadgets and pens that may interest students and adults are great opportunities for a few extra dollars.
  • Don’t forget about add-on sale items. Calculators tend to be popular and they need batteries. Peghook your calculators, keeping your high-end TI-83’s, TI-84’s, etc. in Alpha Keeper boxes to make them available to customers while protecting them from theft. Add the corresponding AA and AAA batteries on additional rows of peg hooks and deter theft by using Auto Peg Tags. Speaking of batteries it would also be a good idea to place battery chargers and rechargeable batteries in this type of display. Again, expense minded and green-minded patrons will find something to appeal to them here.

It is not always easy to think outside the box when anticipating the needs of school students especially if your store specializes in one area but it can be done. Be creative and it can pay dividends.

A final thought on back to school sales opportunities. Some retailers offer special deals to teachers (who present official credentials). Not only does this help your profit line it is a huge boon for teachers who often use their own money for classroom supplies. You can develop a new loyal customer base with such an offer. Make preparations early for the return to the classroom and you will demonstrate you have learned your lesson well.


MAYDAY!  What are the steps you take in response to a crisis?

What do you do when a crisis occurs? Many people would say they take steps to address the crisis. Initially, that may sound like a good response unless you never planned on how you would react if that crisis were to take place. Think about it for a moment. If your business was on fire would you want firemen pulling up in their cars without the right gear or a plan of action of how they will take care of the fire? Sure it’s good to have the firemen there but if they don’t have the resources they need or a strategy on how to put out a house fire then the response is pointless. Police officers train on how to respond to a bank robbery in progress but the reality is many officers will never face that situation. According to a Cleveland Clinic Survey, 54% of Americans say they know CPR but the vast majority of us will never be called upon to use that training. So why do we do it? Why do we train for circumstances that are unlikely to ever confront us? We do it so we will be prepared for that one-in-a-million chance that we might have to apply that knowledge. President John F. Kennedy once said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” Attempting to play it by ear should an emergency happen is not a plan and may even make a problem worse.

    There are those who would choose to argue that it is not feasible to plan for every contingency or crisis. There is a hint of truth in that statement. I may not be able to plan for something I have no knowledge of. I could not plan for what to do for a patient losing blood pressure during a surgery. That is an extraordinary event that I would have no idea how to address. It is beyond the basic first aid training I had as a Boy Scout and refresher training I have had in my job. I think I can stop bleeding. I believe I can apply a tourniquet if it were absolutely necessary. Much more than that and I am way beyond my capabilities and the training I have received. You as a store manager would never be expected to stop a robber as he holds your business up at gunpoint. You CAN plan beforehand how your team should react and the steps they should take during and after the robbery. Pretending you and your staff will just deal with it should the situation arise is foolhardy. Plans that have been made and are reviewed on a regular basis help people stay calm if and when the crisis happens.

     When pilots call a Mayday, they may be nervous or even scared but it is a controlled fear. Fear is not controlling their behaviors and actions. Training takes over and they use their training to solve the problems. Sometimes the scenario has been practiced and other times it takes reasoning to sort out the situation. Emergencies rarely proceed in a textbook manner so they don’t lend themselves exactly to the plans that were made. Planning for contingencies makes a team ready for the eventuality a crisis does arise.

     So what is a manager to plan for? There are so many bad things that can happen it seems inconceivable to cover all of your bases, right? Wrong. Start with the basics looking at the most likely eventualities. Injuries will require first aid. Do you have a first aid kit? Who is trained to use it? Is there an emergency contact list? Can you arrange for certified first aid training for some or all of your employees or managers? Robberies could happen. What steps are you taking to minimize the chances of a robbery? Are employees trained to give a robber what they demand? Do they know not to touch anything and not to follow a robber out of the store? Do your managers know how to respond to weather emergencies? Does your store have a safe location in the event of a tornado? Do all of your employees know where that is?

     Plan for emergencies and review those plans with managers and employees. Be open to improving on plans. Don’t allow them to sit on a shelf and gather dust. Review emergency procedures on a regular basis and when you do have to make your own Mayday call you can be like that pilot who stays cool and calm and ensures the safety of all souls on board. The plan may be useless but the planning will be indispensable.


Employee Training

The scary shoplifting cases we hear and see on TV, or on newspapers in the United States, are becoming too commonplace to rendered us shocked. 

Shoplifting has always been a problem for stores across the globe, but now, people are losing their lives because we put more value on a bag of cookies than a human’s life. The incidents that are happening now concerning shoplifting should make us ponder whether the reactions, lives lost and the way our employees conduct themselves during a shoplifting incident merits those responses.

We should not forget that Shoplifting is a crime and that as an owner of a retail store your livelihood depends on the profits that you can gain by being a responsible owner. But, we cannot forget that we are dealing with human lives as well. 

If the price of a bag of cookies has the same value to you as a shop owner than a human life, then deterrents to prevent shoplifting are probably of no interest to you. But, if you believe that prevention to these crimes is the beginning of solving a major social issue in this country, then maybe prevention methods and other solutions are likely to be of interest to you as an owner.

  1. Training  — We have read more than once about the death of an accused shoplifter in a store.  Authorities are called to the business when the shoplifting incident has gone out of hands and the resulting confrontation has led to the death of the accused shoplifter. Now, what?  Lawyers, police departments and customers are involved, and the incident has become a national news piece.  Providing training to your employees to respond appropriately to a shoplifting incident has proven to be an investment that you will not regret and lives that will not be lost.
  2. CCTV cameras, prevention systems, and facial recognition software are some of the preventable shoplifting measures you can use to prevent, deter and fight shoplifting in your stores.  These are some of the investments that apart from your employees will become invaluable to you and pay for themselves in the short run.
  3. Inventory — If you know what you are selling, what is being stolen, and what are some of the items that are more enticing for shoplifters-because of the resale value or ease of trading — you may be able to use more of your resources to protect those aisles or move them to a safer place.  Being aware of what is happening in your store is instrumental in the prevention of shoplifting.
  4. Employees that care what is happening in your store is an issue that is too important to ignore.  Studies have shown that happy employees make great employees and can boost the morale of the people that work with them.  Your responsibility as an owner begins by rewarding your employees – By increasing their salary, offering incentives, and/or offering praise-your business can gain the caring you need to protect your store.
  5. Hiring the right people for your store begins by using the tools at your disposal that can make a difference in your hiring.  Background checks are the first step in ensuring you have the right people in place.

The rewards of paying for your employees’ training can be seen almost immediately.  There is no reason why the investment should be put elsewhere when employee ’s training has been shown to be a great and continues asset for the business owner.

What Is A Reasonable Request Of An Employee Not On The Clock?

In a recent article published in LPM Insider, “Security Footage Sinks Employee Lawsuit Targeting Employee Bag Checks” by Garrett Seivold, Feb 7, 2018, they discussed a lawsuit brought against Nike by an employee who complained that he was being required to have package checks done when he was off the clock. His argument was that he was not being compensated for the time he is delayed. For the time being Nike has not been found to be excessive in its demands. They were able to demonstrate that employees were only being stopped for an average of 18 seconds for an inspection. This is hardly excessive by any measure. However, courts have a tendency to be inconsistent or a higher court may overturn a lower court decision. While one court may uphold the decision in favor of Nike there is no guarantee this will be true should a similar lawsuit be brought against other retailers.

This case brings up some interesting questions for retailers. No one should ever work off the clock (unless of course the employee is classified as “exempt” in which case there is no time clock per se) but what constitutes reasonable requests? Can an employer “ask” employees to bring in a shopping cart from the parking lot if they are coming to work or returning from a break? It seems like an innocuous request. It helps the store keep the parking lot clear of hazards and saves the time of sending someone out to gather buggies and the employee is already on the way in. The problem in this situation is that the suggestion may not be perceived as a suggestion. The request is coming from a person in authority so there could be the sense that the request is a requirement and if it is not done, will the staff member get in trouble or be perceived as a non-team player? This type of request has been made of employees and does fall into a gray area. To prevent it from becoming a problem it is probably best to err on the side of caution and not do it.

Is it reasonable to ask a closing employee(s) to clock out and wait to exit the building with the closing manager who still has to set the alarm system for the store? Again, the process of setting the alarm may only take an extra minute but having been a closing manager I have had alarm panels that won’t set properly due to a faulty alarm sensor. Those take time to clear or shunt so the rest of the system can be set. How much time is reasonable? There may not be a clear answer.

Last but certainly not least what about delays due to electronic article surveillance alarm activations? Unlike a package check at the end of the shift in which a quick peek is all that is required to look for obvious unpaid merchandise, an electronic article surveillance alarm requires more attention. Something is in the possession of the person and that has to be resolved. This also means more time will be required for inspecting receipts and items the person has in their possession. Until the cause for the alarm is determined there is reasonable cause for a delay but should that employee be paid for the time? What if the cause for the alarm is due to faulty equipment that did not de-tune a Checkpoint tag? What if the cause is due to cashier error and the failure to remove a hard tag at the time of purchase? Would any of these factors shift a court decision in favor of an employee suing for the same reasons?

It appears for the time being that courts will allow reasonable time demands from employees for things that impact the security and safety of a store. What makes one requirement reasonable while another is not could become problematic. Conduct package checks and ask your closing employees to wait a minute to enable the group to leave together for safety reasons. Consider making the expectation clear and why you are doing it in a release form signed by the employee during the hiring process. If you still have concerns then manually adjust timecards to reflect the additional time. At least the employees will know they are being compensated for that 18-second bag check.    

Preventing Shoplifting and Retail Shrink

Many small and big chain businesses across the country are fed up with the amount they lose due to shoplifting and employee theft.  The solutions are seemingly unavailable for these businesses and they are teaming up with local police departments to address this issue.

The Chico Police Department, The Chico Chamber of commerce and the Chico Business Association are teaming up in an effort to prevent shoplifting in their community.  This is not the only joint effort, many other states’ police departments and communities are getting together to form a coalition to find a solution to shoplifting. 

Shoplifting puts an additional strain on these businesses that in some cases are already having difficulty staying afloat and the losses incurred due to this crime make it an impossible business to sustain.

One the many ways they lose to shoplifting is to organized retail theft that involves many individuals and can cost a store thousands of dollars in a single day.  Home Improvements stores targeted by individuals can damage the bottom line of these stores even though they are big retail chains that can offset the cost due to shoplifting better than the small business owner.

In some states, theft legislation has put many business owners scratching their heads. The losses they incurred due to shoplifting, they see as a direct consequence to the legislation government officials passed in their states.  Preventive measures are not enough, youth programs to prevent shoplifting and violent crimes are not enough for these businesses because they do not see it happening soon enough for the well being of their stores.

What are some other alternatives to prevent shoplifting?

  1. Training – Trained personnel can make a big difference in your store. Recent reports in the UK have shown a dramatic increase in violent incidents from the previous year due to shoplifting.  The difference between a trained employee and one that is not can be the difference between life and death
  2. Shoplifting prevention systems – If you do not have one and rely solely on your employees, the losses your store is suffering may be staggering.  A shoplifting prevention system is a necessity for a retail business, and the amount invested in such system may be the best investment you can make for the success of your store.
  3. Software that works together with the loss prevention system and the trained personnel in your store are pivotal to the success of your retail business.  It is a process that needs all the parts to work together to be successful and to achieve its purpose.

Shoplifting is a crime that affects society in general, and the prevention of such crime seems to be the only alternative retail businesses have. Prevention includes training your personnel, investing in a loss prevention system and software that can help you mitigate the losses due to this crime.  Those three preventive measures cannot work if your employees are not engaged and are not willing to work with you in the prevention of this crime.  Happiness in the workplace is important but if you are dealing with disgruntled employees, preventing shoplifting may be very hard to achieve.  Talk to your employees and find out if you need to address that issue first and foremost.

Valentine’s Day and Shoplifting

Some of the most stolen items in stores in the United States are not surprising.  From Infant formula to razors, people are stealing these items to sell them for quick cash or because they are shoplifters that are dedicated to doing this crime. Valentine’s Day is approaching, and some of the items that seem to be gifted during this day are among the most commonly stolen items in the United States.  A shoplifter will steal any time of the year, whether the opportunity presents itself or not, or whether it’s a holiday or a weekday.  As a store manager or employee of a store, greeting and treating a customer politely can gain you a customer, and deter a shoplifter from stealing from your store.  Customer service has been proven time and again to be a great deterrent to shoplifters, and cannot hurt to be polite and competent with your regular customers.

Here are the ten most commonly stolen items in the United States:

1. Alcohol – It is not surprising that alcohol is one of the most sought items to steal.

2. Makeup– small items that are accessible on the shelves  and that can be concealed with very little work, makeup is one of the hot items to steal every day of the year, not only during the holidays

3. Fashion accessories -including creams, sunglasses, belts, and scarfs can easily be concealed and carried away between jackets or other loose fitting clothing

4. Mobile Accessories– From chargers to cases and everything you need for your smartphones and Ipads are some of the items many shoplifters can steal and that are easily sold elsewhere for a profit.

5. Beauty and Hygiene items but especially razors are one of the top items shoplifters seem to prefer to steal.

6. Lingerie – February 14th. is just two weeks away, and believe it or not lingerie seems to be very popular to give and receive during this sweet holiday.  If you are a retail store and sell Valentine’s day items, prepare your employees for the shoplifting that may occur.

7. Meat – Red meat is not good for our health, but apparently shoplifters like to steal meat from supermarkets and is one of the most commonly stolen items today

8. Baby Formula– One of the most stolen items today is baby formula. Shoplifting baby formula and then selling for a profit seems to be the way shoplifters prefer to do this and stores across the country seem to be feeling the pinch

9. Chocolate – For Valentine’s Day, chocolate is a favorite for many people.  Keeping a lookout for this item can probably reduce your losses a bit this February and throughout the year.

10. Over the counter drugs– With the price tags of some of these over the counter medications, it is not surprising many people are choosing to steal them instead.