One aspect of retail theft prevention that is often overlooked, is using your environment and surroundings to control loss of merchandise. It may sound like a lot of work, but it’s really quite simple. It’s about reducing opportunities for the shoplifter, and making it as difficult as possible to steal from your store. Used in conjunction with other options of merchandise protection and employee awareness, environmental control can be a strong addition to your strategy.
Devices such as Checkpoint Tags work great if the shoplifter goes out the front door, but besides being a visual deterrent, they have little effect on merchandise that doesn’t pass through the doors where the antennas are located. One particular store I used to work for had several opportunities in regard to controlling the surroundings in order to stop shoplifting. Although not all stores have the same layouts and opportunities, this will give you an idea of the kinds of things to look for in your store.
First off, the garden department was a huge opportunity for theft. The area that contained the plants was surrounded by a fence, but there was no roof on it, which created an irresistible opportunity for thieves to throw items over the fence and pick them up outside later. We recognized this as a big problem, and ordered new shade screens that helped reduce the amount of space that was open in the top. If that wasn’t enough, the entire chain link fence had an opening under it that allowed merchandise to be passed underneath it to the outside. Some of the openings were blocked by wooden planks, but for some reason there were many spaces that were not secured. So of course people would go out there and kick DVDs and other merchandise under the fence. You can probably guess what we did next, which was to buy more wood planks to block the remaining openings in the fence.
There was a similar situation in the front of the store. This particular store was attached to a mall and there was a gap in the wall that separated the store from the mall. It was close to the exit doors, but was behind racks in the clothing department. Shoplifters would use this gap to push merchandise through to the other side. They would then exit the store, and retrieve it from the other side, which was well past the EAS antennas.
The next area we looked at was the electronics department, which shared a wall with another department and there was an open space in wall in the back of the aisle. This allowed shoplifters to select merchandise in the electronics department and place it on the shelf near the opening. They would then go to the next aisle over, where they knew there was less camera coverage, and steal the items there instead.
These are only a few examples of the opportunities that I have observed in stores. Like I said before, every store is different and comes with its own opportunities. Your best move is to survey the areas of your store and make sure you aren’t having similar problems with your surroundings. After all, if you are serious about trying to stop shoplifting in your store, your retail theft prevention plan can only be successful if you look at all of your opportunities and take action where it is needed the most.
For more information contact us: Retail Theft Prevention or call 1.770.426.0547