Where there are retail stores, shoplifters aren’t far. Shoplifters generally fall into two categories; the one being ordinary customers, and the other being professionals who steal for a living. Unfortunately, most shoplifters are professionals and are extremely difficult to detect and catch.
That being said, there are a few tips on how to identify a potential shoplifter and prevent them from taking something without paying for it.
How to Identify a Shoplifter
Shoplifters can be of any age, race, gender and social class. Therefore, it is important to focus on the behaviour of people rather than stereotypes.
Look for someone who does not fit the description of your typical customer. If your typical customer is a middle-aged man shopping for formalwear, a group of teenagers walking into your store should be a red flag, and you should keep an extra eye on them.
Shoplifters often carry oversized bags such as backpacks, grocery bags or purses. This makes it easier for them to store multiple items without it looking strange. Big bags aren’t always a sign of a shoplifter, but it is worth watching someone with a big bag while you search for any other signs.
Groups of People
Watch out for groups of people, especially when they split up. Often shoplifters will work in teams to accomplish their goal. While the one distracts the sales staff, it is easy for the other to steal merchandise. Be aware of people asking excessive questions or asking for multiple out-of-stock items.
Observing Staff and Security
If someone is paying a lot of attention to staff movement and your security measures, then there is a very good possibility that they are planning on shoplifting. They may also try to avoid areas that are under camera surveillance and opt to huddle in corners.
Lack of Eye Contact
Shoplifters tend to avoid eye contact with staff members, especially if they are being questioned. They will also typically display general nervous behaviour. This could include fidgeting and looking around constantly.
Methods to Identify Shoplifters and Stop Them
There are multiple methods one can use to identify and stop shoplifters, however, electronic article surveillance is a proven way to protect your merchandise. Tagging products will ensure that stolen merchandise is detected as it leaves your store. Implementing multiple levels of security and anti-shoplifting systems will also act as a deterrent for potential shoplifters as it will be more difficult for them to successfully steal from you.