Prevent Retail Theft Using These 5 Speedy Low-Tech Tips

As a small business retailer, it isn’t always possible to throw money at problems such as shoplifting. While large retailers have access to costly hi-tech equipment such as door scanners, facial recognition software, and the latest CCTV, this isn’t something that fits with a small business budget. So the question is…what can you do as a small-biz retailer to prevent stock losses? Here are 5 tips you mighty want to follow.

Keep an organised store with well-placed products

A tidy store makes it very easy to identify when something has gone missing. Empty space on the shelves is usually enough of a visual clue that you may have been targeted. Conversely if your store is untidy, disorganised, and problematic to walk round, you probably won;t notice anything has gone walkabout until it’s too late.

Top tip – Ensure all merchandise is faced – e.g pulled to the front of the shelf to create a solid wall of product. This way if someone cleans the shelf, you can tell straight away.

Have an understanding of common shoplifting methods and traits

It’s often said that the best loss prevention personnel are those who have moved in those kind of circles


Because they have a good understanding of the methods used and can therefore be on the lookout for them. Naturally, you don’t have to become a shoplifter, but it helps if you can get into their mindset.

For instance, they often work in pairs or groups so that they can use a distraction technique. They will often bring in items to conceal merchandise. Some of the most common objects are

  • Prams

  • Handbags

  • Umbrellas

  • Clothing

  • Plastic bags

You should also keep an eye on other common shoplifter traits including

  • Closely watching the cashier or sales staff rather than looking at products

  • Appearing nervous and randomly picking up items without any particular interest.

  • Loitering around a particular area or section.

Once you know these you’ll soon develop your own sixth sense so you’ll know better when to act and when to play it cool.

Leverage the use of co-ordinated customer service

Although controlling stock losses may well be your ultimate responsibility, it’s teamwork that will win the day. As such look to utilise your staff in the fight against shoplifting. Here are some pointers…

  • Say good morning/good afternoon or a simple ‘hi’ to each person that comes through your store. This way they know that you’re fully aware of their presence

  • Maintain an adequate number of floor staff at all times

  • Implement a policy around bags brought in by customers and ensure all staff are aware

  • Train cashiers to watch out for price tags that may have been switched

  • Develop a code which allows staff to alert others of any suspicious activity so that they can do so without being rumbled

Create a store design layout that hinders theft

We’ve already mentioned that a tidy store makes it easy to identify theft, but you can also hinder shoplifters by giving your store an inexpensive facelift. Here’s what you should keep in mind…

  • Always ensure checkouts are placed near exit points so customers must pass them before exiting

  • Ensure there are no blind spots by installing mirrors and eliminate dark areas by fitting spotlights.

  • Keep any displays to a minimum to avoid theft

  • Keep high value or high ticket items under lock and key.

  • Have a system where any items taken into dressing rooms are monitored.


More often than not, visual cues can be enough to ward off most opportunist shoplifters. So you can never have enough signage. Ensure it’s prominently displayed such as at the entrance because it’s usually the first place customers will look. In addition ensure the language of the sign reflects your company brand while considering your target clientele. Finally consider featuring images of eyes. Believe it or not, research has proved that this type of visual impact doubles the likelihood of compliance.

So there you have it, 5 quick low-tech tips to help in your quest against stock loss!

If you would like further assistance them contact MA Security. As well as providing security personnel, we also carry out due diligence testing, so why not give us a call on 1300 202 406 today and start the fight back against the war on stock loss.

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