How Small Stores Can Protect Themselves from Theft

It’s been all over the news lately – smash and grab incidents to the tune of $340,000 last year. These are growing in number and pose a real risk to shop owners. Not only are you losing thousands of dollars this way, but your lives could also be in potential danger in the worst circumstances. While smash and grab incidents are inherently more aggressive and harder to protect against without potentially aggressive responses, owners of small stores must protect themselves against simpler thefts. But what can you do?

The Best Measures Against Theft

1.     Keep All Your Products Organized

The easiest way to steal from any shop is if their products are all over the place. If someone comes to survey your shop with the intention of stealing, the first thing they’d notice is how neatly you’d have kept your items. If they’re not well organized, shoplifters can quietly pocket your items. Many come with grocery bags from other stores or wear loose clothing to hide goods under. It can be difficult to notice them carrying things out. When your store is well organized, it’s easier for you to notice something out of place or missing from where it should be.

That’s why you must ensure all your products are kept in aisles with signs on them. If you sell clothing, keep detectors on them. Make your staff do daily checks on how many items are there in the shop. You must be strict about keeping everything neat and well-organized. That way, you’ll be able to tell when empty spaces on your shelves look unnatural. Also, keep your products packed to the edge of your shelves so that it creates a wall of items. That will make it more practical to keep an eye on your goods.

2.     Keep An Eye on Peak Hours

Shoplifters strike often when your store is the most crowded. Keep an eye on your goods, especially when you’re experiencing a rush of shoppers. That’s especially true during the holiday season since that’s when you’ll experience a particularly large crowd of people. That means you must be the most careful during Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other seasons. What’s worse is many times, shoplifters work in groups so your staff will have to keep an eye out for groups of people acting in concert.

Consider keeping strategically positioned CCTV cameras angled at your products. The person at your counter or back in your security room would be able to check the security footage and catch any suspicious activity. You can also keep extra people near the corners of your shop so that no one can swipe items. You should take extra procedures during the holiday season as that would ensure you wouldn’t run into losses during what should be your most profitable time.

3.     Keep An Eye Out for Suspicious Behaviour

As a store owner, you’ll have to familiarize yourself with suspicious behavioral patterns. That can include someone who is closely watching your sales associates, taking more than one item to the dressing room but only emerging with single pieces, and someone touching random items and picking up many. Also look out for those with large shopping bags, handbags, umbrellas, strollers, and more. If someone is looking uneasy or shiftily around the store, you should be cautious as well.

Again, well-placed CCTV cameras would help you keep an eye on everyone. These are useful even after work hours, after locking up. Many of the smash and grab incidents reported happened when people weren’t in the store. These times are better for break-ins. You should also consider strategically placing staff at different points in your shop. Remember that these kinds of incidents can happen at any given time, so you train your staff to be alert and diligent as much as possible.

4.     Create An Optimal Shop Layout

It’s much easier to steal things when your items are hidden away in the dark corners of the shop. That’s why it’s always best to create your shop’s layout to deter shoplifters. Keep your checkout area secure, eliminate blind spots as much as possible, keep all your fixtures and displays at a low height, put your smaller and less expensive items in locked cabinets, and keep your dressing rooms locked. 

If you’re able to create a design that would make it difficult for people to steal items from your shelves, you’ll also be safeguarding your wares when no one’s at your store too. Try to position all your shelves, fridges, racks, or whatever, optimally. Ensure you have cameras pointed towards these at all times. Make sure your cameras are working as well. If you forget to change the tape or do the needful, your cameras will merely be showpieces and won’t protect you the way you want them to.

5.     Get Insured

Let’s face it, despite all care, unfortunate things happen. It can be difficult to be omnipresent, especially if we’re not Bruce Almighty. For situations like that, you’ll need to make sure you have your insurance in place. Find out what kind of policy would safeguard you in case of theft. It could be retail store insurance, commercial vandalism, theft insurance plan, etc. Find out from your insurance policy provider what would be the best option for you.

Your policy will differ according to your shop’s location, whether it’s in a vacant building or not, its copper content, your inventory, its general content, the property size, and more. Ask your insurance agent to calculate all these factors, while ensuring you’re covered for the worst-case scenario. This is possibly the easiest safeguard for everyone and especially businesses that are understaffed or don’t have the funds to renovate and reorganize the store. Getting an insurance plan that gives you ample coverage will act as a safety net for you in times of need.

Decide which of these works for you, and whichever combination you choose – get insured!