Tackling the Problem of Shoplifting and Retail Shrink

As an owner, general manager, or store manager, shrink and shoplifting within your retail establishment can be an area of concern. No matter which way it occurs, whether a customer or employee, theft hurts. It affects your bottom line, and it’s frustrating when you can’t pinpoint the source.


According to the National Retail Federation, inventory shrink amounted to $44 billion in losses for retailers in 2014. Of that $44 billion in losses, customer shoplifting accounted for 38% and employee theft 34.5%. With this in mind, shrink is one of the most financially impactful issues retail store owners face every day.


When it comes to reducing retail shrink and keeping your business successful, you don’t want to be shooting in the dark for remedies to eliminate the losses. Having a plan of action to address shrink and shoplifting can help greatly.


Seven ways to reduce retail shrink from shoplifting


  1. Be proactive and work to deter theft from the beginning. Often, visible security cameras can deter would-be shoplifters and let them know they’re being watched.
  2. Evaluate to find a pattern. Is theft occurring at the same time of day or within the same aisles? Are certain product types disappearing more frequently than others?
  3. Once you’ve narrowed down where the problem is occurring, place a camera to capture further information. The type of camera needed will depend on the items and the surveillance area. You will need to consider the best camera angle and resolution (here’s the best way to do that).
  4. Install cameras in both employee and customer areas. Adding strategically placed cameras and access control measures to stockroom areas is a great loss prevention tool when employee theft is suspected.
  5. Set alerts on your video surveillance software. For example, you can set an alert for motion based on time of day. With a camera placed at your entrance and exits, you can catch after-hours theft taking place when the business is closed and doors should be locked. The alert can enable you to pinpoint the exact time the door was opened.
  6. Once you have video footage to review, dig into the analytics. If you have a product you believe to be a targeted shoplifting item, take a picture of it and smart search within the software for that particular item within any of the footage.
  7. Compare notes with neighboring retailers. Theft from your store could be taking place in other stores in your area, as well. Talk with surrounding shop owners about their shrink levels and any suspicious behaviors they may have witnessed.



An integrated security solution can help reduce shoplifting


For retailers, it often takes an innovative approach to retail security to reduce shrink and anti-shoplifting. An integrated security solution can help create a safe environment for shoppers and employees, while helping you reduce shrink and provide the detailed security reporting to keep your business successful.

Doug Jones
ITech Digital offers experienced security professionals who partner with organizations across the nation to design custom security solutions for industries like retail, restaurants, and commercial properties.
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