Whether its shoplifting, employee theft, cyber theft or organized retail crime, all theft is on the rise. In fact, more than 13 billion dollars worth of merchandise is stolen each year. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 1 out of 11 Americans shoplift. Habitual shoplifters steal an average of 1.6 times per week and are only caught an average of 1 out of every 48 times they steal. It is an epidemic and as a shop owner, you need to tackle it head on.
According to The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP), shoplifters often do not plan to steal in advance. Almost 75% of both teens and adults made the decision to shoplift once they got into the store. They seized the moment. Curiously, shoplifting may be the only crime they’ve ever committed. So what can you do to make sure the “moment” never comes?
No store owner wants to confront the possibility of employee theft. However, consignment and resale shops are especially vulnerable because the intake of their merchandise is so unusual. There are a lot of opportunities for stealing if the right processes and the right people aren’t put in place.
Having solid checks and balances in place is the best medicine when it comes to cyber attacks. Read 5 ways to protect your shop online.
Surprisingly, less than 4% of all shoplifting is done by “professionals.” According to Face First, a facial recognition technology solution, robberies and burglaries are up 8.6% from 2016 though. In fact, for larger big box retailers, Organized Retail Crime (ORC) has overtaken employee theft as the #1 cause of inventory shrinkage. Independent retailers (resalers) have not been as affected from ORC, but the problem is growing. ORC members are well trained, beginning with “boosters.” These are the individuals that actually steal. The boosters hand off their items to “fencers” who pay for their stolen goods. The merchandise is then continually sold to a higher level of “fencers” until it reaches its final buyer.
There are a number of things you can do to protect your store overall.
This article has been updated and modified from 2 previous posts How to prevent employee theft from happening to you and Bold shoplifters upset more than your bottom line
Some images and information taken from The Price Gun Store
According to the Annual Retail Theft Survey, there are anywhere from 500 to 600 shoplifters stealing every minute! It’s no longer just a candy bar either. The average shoplifted amount is $50. Shoplifting is on the rise and it effects more than dollars and cents. Protect your shop and those who enter from the devastation of shoplifting.
“Shoplifting for most individuals is rarely about greed or poverty. It’s about people struggling with their own personal conflicts and needs,” cites The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP). Approximately 25% of shoplifters are kids, 75% are adults and 55% of those adults say they began shoplifting in their teens. There is no profile of a typical shoplifter.
The business of Organized Retail Crime (ORC) is responsible for much of the growth of shoplifting. Because of the internet, it’s easier to sell stolen merchandise. Shoplifting is no longer socially unacceptable as it used to be. Plus, shops have reduced the number of employees on their sales floor. Sadly, dishonest employees steal 6 times more than shoplifters.
So how can you guard against shoplifting in your resale shop? Here are a few tips to be prepared. An article titled, 10 Tips to Prevent Shoplifting, suggests the following:
Having an adequate number of employees on the sales floor by staggering breaks and lunch times is key to curbing shoplifting.
In a 2013 article by the National Federation of Independent Business, Bonnie Kallenberg, owner of 4 Finders Keepers consignment shops in Atlanta (and a wonderful SimpleConsign customer) says, “The more you make it evident that you’re aware of and trying to prevent shoplifting, the more shoplifting you’ll discourage.” Kallenberg reveals four tactics she uses to discourage theft. She recommends investing in cameras and a full-time dressing room attendant. Her use of security tags helps too. Plus, she’s trained her staff to be attentive at all times.
Your employees should never accuse someone of stealing or try to physically stop a shoplifter. Always give the person the opportunity to pay for the item they “forgot” to pay for. Ask questions like, “Are you ready to pay for that?” or “Can I ring you up?” Posting signs that say “Shoplifters Will Be Prosecuted” is another way of letting potential shoplifters know you are watching. Shoplifting is a devastating crime affecting not only the shop owner, but their employees and shoppers as well. Be diligent and make sure everyone is aware you’re willing to fight fire with fire.