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April 07, 2012

Shoplifting - store design and Customer service Management

Store design to reduce shoplifting: It has been reported that employee theft and shoplifting combined account for the largest source of property crime committed. The easiest way for retailers to discourage theft in a store is by taking away opportunities to steal. A little thought into the store's layout and design can prevent theft before a loss occurs.
Here's How:
1.      Checkout: Design the store lay out so customers must pass the register area and staff to exit the store. Never leave the register unlocked or unattended. Do not display merchandise near the store exits.
2.      Tidy Up: Keep the store neat and orderly. Full displays and straightened shelves allow employees to see at a glance if something is missing.
3.      View All: Use mirrors to eliminate blind spots in corners that might hide shoplifters. Maintain adequate lighting in all areas of the store; keep fixtures and displays low for better visibility.
4.      Under Lock and Key: Place small, expensive items in locked cabinets or behind the counter. Rest rooms and dressing areas should be watched at all times. Keep dressing rooms locked and limit the number of items taken in by each customer. Use alarms on unlocked exits and close or block off unused checkout aisles.
5.      Signage: Signs and posters reinforcing security messages should be used. Post anti-shoplifting signs like 'Shoplifters Will Be Prosecuted' in clearly visible locations.
6.      Security: Use security equipment such as closed circuit television, security tags and two-way mirrors. Uniformed security guards are also powerful visual deterrents to the shoplifter.
Customer service to prevent shoplifting: Good store management can be an effective tool against shoplifting. Retailers should also use store layout, adequate inventory controls and follow common security practices to combat shoplifting. Another form of prevention is to use customer service techniques to take away opportunities to steal.
Here's How:
1.      Staffing: Schedule an adequate number of employees to work at one time.
2.      Greetings: Greet every customer that enters the store. This lets the customer know you are aware of their presence.
3.      Be Attentive: Make yourself available to all customers and never leave the store unattended.
4.      Receipts: Give each customer a receipt for every purchase. Require receipts for refunds for cash. Trash any discarded receipts immediately.
5.      Stay Focused: Don't allow customers to distract the cashier while another person is being checked out.
6.      Bag Check: Implement a policy and procedure for backpacks and bags brought in by customers.
7.      Code 3: If you notice suspicious activities, alert other employees immediately. Many stores have a security code to alert staff of possible shoplifters.
8.      Helping Hand: Approach the suspicious person and ask if he/she is finding everything okay. Mention that you’ll be nearby should he/she need your help. Make the shoplifter feel watched.
9.      Tag Swap: Cashiers should watch price tags and be on the lookout for price switching. Ask for a price check if something seems out of place.
10.  Hidden Items: Shoe boxes, pocket books, baskets with lids and any other product easily opened should be inspected by cashiers to be sure it does not contain other merchandise.
11.  Sealed Shut: Every bag should be stapled closed, with the sale receipt attached.


  1. Great article. Another aspect is 'legal compliance'. In USA, cigarettes are kept under lock and key. Unlike other items, only store keeper has access to these. This is due to legal requirements - cigarettes cannot be sold to minors.

  2. Good Take.Sai. I wish we Indians learn the fine art of policing with out intruding into visitors privacy. It is a very delicate balance being cautious at the same time being hospitable. A tight rope walk indeed!

  3. Nice Blog, thanks for sharing the valuable information.