How to Prevent Shoplifting

How to Prevent Shoplifting


Prevent Shoplifting scale

One thing all shop owners want to know is how to prevent shoplifting. Shrinkage is a major problem for the retail industry and shoplifting is just one form of this loss. There is no fool proof way to eliminate shoplifting, but there are a number of things you can do to significantly reduce it. Some of these ways are even completely free to implement; so, read on and get started reducing your retail loss.


Build Relationships

You should try to build relationships with both your customers and your employees. The better you know people the less likely they are to steal from you. This doesn’t mean you won’t still have shoplifters but it’s a major deterrent if they know you can ID them. Another benefit is that if you have really good relationships with your customers, they might report suspicious behaviour to a member of staff. Internal theft can also be a big problem in the retail industry, but did you know the number one way this is detected was through a tip from another employee? Making your employees feel valued and appreciated, both reduces turnover and strengthens your relationship with them.


Staffing and Customer Service

Scheduling the right amount of staff for different times is a delicate balance. You don’t want to have staff on the floor when they’re not needed, but understaffing can be a green light to shoplifters. It’s important to have enough staff to cover all areas of your shop and allow for breaks between staff to be taken as well. Make sure to schedule more staff for times that you know the store will be busier, like weekends and holidays. Your staff can act as a key deterrent to shoplifters, and good customer service is one way to enact this. Why not read our article on ‘How Customer Service Can Stop Retail Theft’ for some tips?



The layout of your shop is instrumental in the prevention of shoplifting. You should ensure that no high value or frequently stolen objects (such as cosmetics) are displayed near to the exit. Another deterrent is to have a checkout at the exit so that customers have to pass it in order to leave the store.


Reducing opportunities for shoplifters means thinking about your layout in terms of visibility. Is it easy for your staff to see the customers in your store? If not, you may need to think about changing up your displays or installing some expertly placed mirrors. Remember to bear in mind the layout of your displays, including your promotional signs is to make sure they don’t block your CCTV cameras or alarm sensors. It’s great to have these security measures in place, but they’re of little to no use to you if you don’t think about them when moving displays or putting up signs.



Having some sort of CCTV system in your store is a must. Not only is it the biggest deterrent to shoplifters but it also helps you to catch them afterwards. It can identify the shoplifter to the Gardaí and act as evidence of the theft. While CCTV is probably the most expensive suggestion in this article, it can have numerous benefits. CCTV has hugely improved in the last few years and can now act as not only a security tool, but also as a marketing tool. Some IP cameras can tell you which areas of your store attract the most attention allowing you to optimise sales, by placing deals or difficult-to-sell products in these areas. They can also count your footfall and tell you what time of day is busiest in your store; hence allowing you to better schedule your staff. While these are amazing benefits, standard CCTV will also make your store much more secure. It monitors your store 24/7 and insurance companies may even reduce your premiums if you have it installed. A good tip is to make your cameras obvious as shoplifters are less likely to steal if they know they’re under surveillance.



One way you can make your CCTV obvious is to have signs informing customers that you have CCTV in operation. Having warning signs telling shoplifters they’re being watched and what the consequences of theft could be, is a good way of spooking shoplifters. Signage is a very cost-effective method of deterring shoplifters, but it’s important to strike the right balance between scaring off shoplifters and not intimidating your customers. The language of your signs should be consistent with your brand and you should place them high where a potential shoplifter might check for surveillance cameras.


Dressing Rooms

If you are running a clothes store, dressing rooms are a standard and necessary feature; however, they also offer shoplifters privacy to slip some items into their bag. This is why restricting access to the changing rooms is crucial. Customers should have to interact with a member of staff and receive a tag with the number of items they are bringing in with them, before entering the dressing room. Most stores have a limit on the number of items you can bring in at one time and an area where you can leave your basket as well. Staff can then easily make sure the customer is leaving with the same number of items they entered with. This also aids in keeping changing rooms tidy as customers know they must bring all their items back out with them. If you do run a clothes store tagging items with RFID tags can also be a useful security measure.



It’s important to keep your store organised and tidy. Make sure that stock is pulled forward and everything is picked up off the floor. This makes it much easier to see if something is missing. As well as this it makes shopping in your store easier and more enjoyable for your customers. Having stock pulled forward means that your customers don’t have to stretch to reach the very back of the shelf, and it also makes your shop more aesthetically pleasing as shelves and rails don’t look half empty. A tidy and organised shop makes it easier for customers to get around and find what they are looking for; meaning more profits for you.


Stock Takes

You should maintain an up-to-date inventory. It is hard to know if you’ve been stolen from if you don’t know what you had in-store in the first place. You should track what’s coming into your store via deliveries and do regular stock takes to help you identify any theft or patterns. A good Point of Sale (POS) system can help you keep track of your inventory and spot potential issues. 


Crime Prevention Officers

Each Garda Division has dedicated Crime Prevention Officers (CPOs) who are trained to encourage, promote and advise on crime prevention to both the private and business community. These officers offer a free service wherein they will come out and look at your shop and / or procedures and advise you on some things you can do to aid in your loss prevention efforts. Having an audit done by your local CPO can also help to reduce your insurance premiums. Why not find out who your local CPO is by checking out the directory here?



It’s easy to know how to prevent shoplifting, but how do you actually implement these measures? Knowing what to do doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the funds available to achieve this. If you need a finance boost to buy CCTV, rearrange your shop or any other security measures that you might want to take; GRID’s business loan is a great option.  GRID’s loan allows you to access up to €100,000 and its flexible repayments means that it doesn’t put a stretch on your cash flow. The repayments work by taking a small percentage of your credit/debit card takings meaning that if you’re earning less, you’re also repaying less. Another benefit to this option is that it can be approved in just 24 hours so you’re not waiting weeks for a decision on your loan and you can focus on putting the money to work in your business.


Find out more about this finance option or apply now!

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