Any retail business is a target for shoplifters, which can have a hugely detrimental effect on profits. Losses must be covered, often resulting in higher prices having to be passed on to other customers. Businesses that are repeatedly targeted may find profitability so low that closure is forced, resulting in further damage to the high street. Implementing an effective anti-shoplifting policy can help to minimize these risks.
A crime on the rise
There has been a huge increase in losses reported by businesses due to shoplifting, with the British Retail Consortium stating that shoplifting cost the retail industry £511m between 2012 and 2013. This can be attributed in part to the soaring cost of luxury goods, leading to a thriving black market; however, concern over welfare cuts, rising food prices and increased poverty levels mean that even basic household items are now targeted by thieves.
The electronic tagging of products is one of the most effective methods of preventing shoplifting. Although the implementation of these systems can represent a significant initial outlay for retailers, the benefits are substantial. RF(radio-frequency) stickers will protect smaller items from most amateur thieves, whilst ink tags and hard plastic packaging are a deterrent for more valuable items and visible electronic article surveillance can be a powerful deterrent. Installing security cameras in vulnerable areas, both visible and discreet, can also to help to prevent losses and can prove to be invaluable should evidence of theft be required.
One of the most powerful deterrents is a substantial employee presence on the shop floor, and offering high levels of customer service can help to prevent theft. Ensure that all staff are trained to approach any customer showing an interest in a product, encourage them to engage in conversation and offer to take the item to the till, which will deter potential thieves and provide great service to genuine customers.
Many businesses use a combination of undercover operatives and uniformed staff. If you are looking for security guards in Gloucester, companies such as Gloucester security guards Cuff Group can offer an effective solution and provide advice on other loss-prevention systems.
Implementing strategies such as security guards and electronic article surveillance can help to prevent shops from sustaining significant losses due to shoplifting.