7 Ways to Prevent Shoplifters


Preventing shoplifters is a challenge for most businesses. However, shoplifting can be most problematic for small businesses. While you might not be able to invest in video surveillance, closed-circuit television, security guards, or other anti-theft devices, there are plenty of measures you can take now to reduce your risk. Here are seven ways to prevent shoplifting.


You may have some preconceived ideas about who is and isn’t a shoplifter. The truth is, most assumptions aren’t based on reality. Shoplifters can be male or female and from any racial group. Even the assumption that shoplifters often operate in groups or teams has been proven to be wrong, with 74.8% of shoplifters conducting theft alone.

You should never assume someone is going to steal based on their age, race, or gender. If you profile a specific category of people, you create a self-imposed blind spot that can lead to even more shoplifting and theft. You can be writing a free pass to those who don’t fit your profile. By keeping your eyes and ears open to everyone, you can catch more cases of shoplifting.


It should be easy to identify when something has gone “missing” from your store. If your store is messy, disorganized, or a maze to get through, it can be almost impossible to notice anything missing until you do inventory months later. Be sure to keep your shop organized so you can properly keep track of what goes in and out of your store.


Not only is getting to know your customers great for improving your customer service and satisfaction, but it can also be a helpful tactic on how you can prevent shoplifting. When customers feel like you know their name and know who they are, there’s less of a chance they will steal from you.

This can include getting to know your customers when they walk in the door and creating an online community with them. With smart social media usage, you can stay in touch with your customers and create a community that can help prevent and catch shoplifters.


Shoplifting and theft don’t come only from your customers. According to the National Retail Security Survey, internal employee theft accounted for 30% of of inventory shrinkage. It’s important to make sure you get to know each of your employees and make sure they understand their value to you and the company. If your employees feel engaged and valued, they are less likely to steal, and feel more invested in protecting the store when you’re not around.


The layout of your store can change how easy or hard it is to shoplift. Something as simple as the location of your checkout can play a major role in preventing theft. You should always have your checkout in front of the store, near the entrance. That way, your register is in the public eye and can help prevent shoplifting.

You can also improve your layout by making sure there are no blind spots. No matter where your customers are in your store, you should easily be able to see what they are doing and make sure they can’t shoplift. You might have to install some mirrors to make it easier to see what’s happening, but that’s a minor cost to your loss prevention plans.


You should never be afraid to let your customers know how you feel about shoplifting. You should place signs that reflect your company’s brand and voice, while still stating the consequences like legal fines. A store that emphasizes punishments for shoplifting is less likely to see theft.

Involving the police might sound like overkill when small objects like a soda or candy bar are involved, but the more you establish your store as a place where shoplifting is not permitted, the better protection you can establish against it. Thieves don’t want to steal from a place with a high risk of prosecution.


You shouldn’t be alone in preventing shoplifting. Your staff needs to be trained to understand how they can help prevent theft and why it’s important to be on the lookout for shoplifting.

While training your team is an important part, it’s also important that they apply the skills they’ve been taught. In peak times where there’s a higher chance for shoplifting to occur, make sure you have staff there to help your customers and help protect the store.


Trying to manage loss prevention while managing your business can be complicated, but you don’t have to do it alone. ACS Security provides Small Business Security to help you keep your hard work protected with intrusion monitoring, video surveillance, patrol services and more. See what we can do for your business today.