How Small Retailers Can Stop The Infamous Five-Finger Discount

In the retail industry, businesses can lose thousands to millions of dollars each year thanks to shoplifters. Loss prevention policies are typically put into place for bigger companies, but small businesses may not have the resources or know-how to put a stop to shoplifting. There are several things small retail stores can do to help minimize the damage, ranging from high-tech retail security systems to the implementation of simple policies that can make it less tempting for shoplifters to run away with goods. Here are some ways smaller retail stores can use security tactics to reduce loss as a result of theft.

The 'No Bag" Policy

Retailers who don't have security tags attached to their merchandise may have a more difficult time keeping thieves from stuffing items into their shopping bags when no one is looking. Posting a sign at the door that asks customers to leave their bags at the front of the store with an employee can help prevent this problem. Customers can choose to leave their other shopping bags in their car or check them in with someone at the front of the store. This keeps people from having an easy way to slip items into the bags they're carrying, and it's essentially a no-cost or very low-cost way to quell shoplifting.

The "Watchful Eye" Policy

Employees should be fully trained on how to recognize the signs of a potential shoplifter. By keeping a watchful eye on customers, you're making your presence known. That alone will often encourage thieves to try elsewhere. People who seem nervous, roam the aisles aimlessly, or continually look for or look at store employees could be exhibiting signs that they're about to grab and go. Make sure you have someone monitoring changing rooms so that the number of items people take into the dressing room is the same number they come out with. By maintaining a good presence at all times, you're letting people know that you won't tolerate or miss anyone who tries to walk out with your merchandise.

The "High Tech" Policy

Even if your company can't afford high-tech cameras, you can still discourage shoplifters using some other techniques that will help monitor activity. Use magnetic sensor tags; while these may be a bit of an investment for your small business, they can be removed when checking out merchandise and reused, so they will pay for themselves in the long run. Use large circular mirrors in all corners of the store so you can see people from different angles as they're shopping. Fake cameras, also known as "dummy cameras," are much less expensive than real ones and look just like the real thing. Combine that with signs stating your store is monitored by cameras and you'll most likely reduce the number of thefts by employing these simple tactics. Using simple psychology and being diligent are simple and affordable ways that smaller retailers can use to prevent loss from shoplifting and increase their bottom line.