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Help Employees Keep an Eye on Shoplifters

Although most customers are honest, unfortunately, there may be a time you suspect someone of trying to shoplift from your store. One of the best ways to keep potential thieves at bay is to make sure your employees are aware of any questionable customer behavior. By keeping a close eye on these customers, you can cut down on potential problems in your store. Read on for a few more tips:

  • Use a code name. “We have a code customer named ‘Mr. West,’” says John Fix, owner of Cornell’s True Value in Eastchester, N.Y. “If any employee suspects a shoplifter in the store, he’ll page ‘Mr. West’ needing assistance.”
  • Offer exceptional customer service. Shoplifters want to be left alone; the last thing they want is for an employee to help them out. “We offer very personal customer service and follow them around,” Fix says.
  • Set up cameras in your store. Even if you don’t find out about a shoplifter until it’s too late, checking close-circuit cameras once you realize something has been taken can help you recognize that person in case he or she comes back.
  • Decide if you’ll prosecute shoplifters. Your first impulse may be to prosecute, but sometimes it’s not worth the time and hassle. “It’s a misdemeanor offense in most cases, and it takes me more time at the station than the thief is usually held,” Fix says. When he or his employees catch a shoplifter, that person is photographed and told to leave the store and never return. Regardless of your decision whether or not to prosecute, have a policy in place, stick with it and make your employees aware of it.
  • Use signage. A sign in the window may deter potential shoplifters. If they know there’s a policy in place, they may be less likely to try to shoplift at your store.

About Liz Lichtenberger

Liz Lichtenberger
Liz is the special projects editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and trends, visits retailers, and attends industry events. She graduated from Xavier University, where she earned a degree in English and Spanish and was a member of the swim team. Liz is a Louisville, Kentucky, native who lives in Indianapolis with her husband and two children. She enjoys swimming, reading, doing home improvement projects around her house and cheering on her two favorite basketball teams, the Kentucky Wildcats and the Xavier Musketeers.

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