Since shoplifters come in all shapes, sizes, colors and ages, how can we prevent them from taking advantage of us?

We don’t know who is a potential shoplifter and who isn’t. First of all, most people are not shoplifters, so they shouldn’t be made to feel like one, so we’ll look at the more subtle ways to prevent this crime from happening in the first place.

Look at the arrangement of your store. Are there out of the way areas or blind spots where even the most casual shoplifter might be tempted to conceal some goods? Arrange fixtures to maximize the view from the register area or other areas where staff are present.

Know your merchandise so that someone intent on changing price tickets or barcodes will have another obstacle to overcome – a knowledgeable associate. Be sure all merchandise is correctly marked and priced.

Keep shelves, bins, and racks full. Arrange merchandise so that you will know when any is missing. Keep expensive, small, desirable items like designer sunglasses under lock and key. When demonstrating them to a customer, limit the number that are out of the case so that you can keep up with them. This will deter the casual thief, and your customers will understand.

If you use fitting rooms for customers to try on clothing, be sure to keep them clear of merchandise, hangers, and tags. This lets the shoplifter know that the associates are on top of their inventory, knowing what goes in and what comes out.

The most important deterrent to a shoplifter is exceptional customer service. Acknowledge each and every customer as they enter you area and anticipate their every need. A conscientious and alert employee is the single most effective deterrent to prevent shoplifting.