You may think that after you apprehend a shoplifter, you would want to get them out the door as fast as possible, but it may be in your best interest to have a conversation with them instead. After all, who could give you better information about how to stop shoplifting in your store, than the shoplifters themselves? Although not all shoplifters want to talk to you (especially about ways to keep them from stealing from you), there are some that can’t help but tell you their whole life story.
When I apprehend a shoplifter, I obviously want to get all of their personal information, but I also like to ask additional questions during the interview. First of all, ask them why they are taking the merchandise from your store. I’ve had some shoplifters tell me that they know people who have gotten away with it at the store, and they said it was easy to steal there. You may be surprised by their answers, and it may give you some good ideas for improving your retail theft prevention strategy. If the shoplifter tells you that they need the money to support a drug habit, you could also recommend organizations in the area that could help with the problem. After all, your goal is to get them to stay away from your store, so why not try to get them help so they don’t continue stealing from you.
Next, if it’s not already obvious, try to find out what is happening to the merchandise once it leaves the store. This is a big opportunity to get valuable information to stop shoplifting in your store. The reason is that even if you catch a shoplifter, more are going to replace them, especially if there is a local buyer of stolen merchandise that is sending them out to stores for specific merchandise. If they tell you where they are selling the stolen merchandise, you can share this information with the local police, who can start an investigation on the location or person. If a local buyer is taken out of the equation, it is likely that you will experience less shoplifting at your business.
A shoplifter I caught years ago did his homework on the store, and was happy to share his thoughts on the subject. I asked him why he chose our location to steal merchandise. The first thing he pointed out was that no one ever pays any attention to him, so he is able to get in and out quickly without being bothered. He then said that there was a lack of merchandise protection or anti-shoplifting devices on the products he steals. Next, he noticed that there were certain areas of the store in which camera coverage needed to be improved, or was nonexistent. He typically picked up merchandise from other areas of the store, and brought them to the spots where he knew that there weren’t any cameras so he could easily conceal the merchandise.
This interview gave me important information on ways to improve the way we used anti-shoplifting devices were used in the store, and what merchandise to keep under watch. It also gave me ideas about how to improve our camera strategy to ensure there was sufficient camera coverage throughout different areas of the store. Overall, a few minutes of talking with a shoplifter could save you a lot of money in the long run.
For more information contact us: Stop Shoplifting or call 1.770.426.0547