Cascade Alliance

Work the Problem: Strategies to Combat Shoplifting

 Strategies to Combat Shoplifting 

Theft is a continuous problem. The best deterrent to shoplifting is giving the best customer service possible.

Preventative strategies we employ: 

If we suspect someone is shoplifting: 

Closing thoughts: 

People donate to us because they believe in our mission and want us to do well; it’s very important for that to be part of the message communicated to staff. We want to respect the value of the product the way the donor wants it to be valued. Most theft is caught by line staff so it’s important to train them on how to handle it. Our goal is not just to protect our product, but to also protect our staff. We tell our staff to never chase someone or attempt to apprehend them.    


Tips from the American Alarm blog 

  1. Greet customers as soon as they come into the store. Addressing customers removes their anonymity. Shoplifters are known to avoid stores with attentive salespeople. 
  1. Watch for customers who avoid eye contact, seem nervous, wander the store, linger, constantly look at store employees or exhibit other suspicious behavior. Approach shoppers exhibiting suspicious behavior and ask if they need help, instead of walking away from them – that’s often enough to deter potential shoplifters. 
  1. Encourage employees to walk around the store, down various aisles, particularly along the walls instead of just down the center. 
  1. Maintain a clean and organized store, including racks, shelves and dressing rooms. A disorganized, dirty store tells a shoplifter the employees are not paying attention. Keep shelves and displays low, and install adequate lighting to maintain visibility throughout the store. 
  1. Keep commonly stolen items in plain view to discourage shoplifters. Place items that are often targeted in an area in the front of the store, near the cash register or another highly visible area. 
  1. Compare notes with your neighbors. Talk with other shop owners about any suspicious behaviors they might have witnessed. Ask employees to keep logs of suspicious behaviors to share with each other as well as with other shop owners. 
  1. Hire an adequate number of employees – enough to give customers personal attention. Stagger lunch and break times among employees. 
  1. Draft a shoplifting policy and enforce it. Post the policy so employees and customers are aware of it. Offer ongoing training for employees so they understand how to prevent shoplifting or how to handle a situation if it does occur. 
  1. Install anti-theft devices including security towers at entrances, security cameras throughout the store, convex mirrors in corners and anti-theft tags on merchandise. 
  1. Restrict the use of fitting rooms. Lock dressing rooms, and require customers to see a salesperson before using the room. Post signs in fitting rooms warning against shoplifting. 

If you suspect someone may be shoplifting, never accuse him, rather ask if you can help him or ring him up. Keep the person in your sight and contact security or a manager immediately. Never try to stop the shoplifter. If the shoplifter leaves the store, provide security with a detailed description of the person, including his vehicle, if possible.