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A major contributor to shrinkage, shoplifting poses a big threat to store owners and managers, whether they run a small boutique or a major supermarket.

In fact, according to the British Retail Consortium, the total direct cost of shoplifting grew to £700 million in 2017. And it continues to rise across the UK, with a 3 percent increase in reported instances of shoplifting in the year to March 2018.  To help retailers reduce losses, we’ve listed five easy techniques to prevent shoplifting.

1) Welcome Every Customer

Welcoming each customer serves two functions. Firstly, it makes genuine customers feel welcomed and looked after. Secondly, it demonstrates to potential thieves that you’re paying attention – and that may be enough to dissuade them from stealing from you. A shoplifter’s worst fear is confrontation, and most would rather move on than risk getting caught.

2) Keep Your Products “Faced”

A cluttered store is far easier to steal from than a tidy one. “Facing” means placing all merchandise on the edge of a shelf, so that there is a solid wall of product. When people take things from this wall, you will be able to tell quickly who’s taken what. If they’re a genuine customer, they will approach you to purchase the goods. If not, you will be aware of any would-be shoplifters as soon as they attempt to leave your store.

3) Consider Your Store’s Layout and Design

Though you may occasionally meet a “grab-and-run” shoplifter, more common are those who spend longer concealing items on their person. Such shoplifters need time and space, so you need to make sure your store doesn’t make it easy for them. Eliminate blind spots with mirrors and adequate lighting. Position your checkout area near the store exit. Keep fixtures and displays low to increase visibility. And keep tabs on the number of items customers take into changing rooms.

4) Put Up Anti-Shoplifting Signs

Shoplifters look for soft targets. Unfortunately these are often small shops and boutiques, which lack the resources to properly protect themselves. But there’s a reason large retailers put up “SHOPLIFTERS WILL BE PROSECUTED” signs. And that’s because they work. Though they may not fit with your store’s aesthetics – though quirkier anti-theft signs are available – putting up anti-shoplifting signs is a cost-effective means of keeping shoplifters at bay. You can place these signs high up on the wall, where CCTV cameras may be installed, since shoplifters are far more likely to look at these areas than legitimate customers.

5) Professional Retail Security

Hiring professional retail security guards is the most effective way to reduce losses. Professional security guards act as an efficient deterrent, as well as an effective first-response to any genuine theft. By carefully monitoring your store, security guards are able to quickly identify any suspicious shoppers, monitor their behaviour and detain them if they commit a crime. Additionally, night security can be provided by overnight security officers who will keep your property protected 24/7.

Churchill security is a nationwide security firm. We provide a range of retail security solutions, including store detectives, CCTV installation and monitoring, retail security guards, night time security guards and night security officers.

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John Melling is a Director for Churchill Security Ltd. John is a highly motivated, determined and decisive security industry professional. Drawing on his extensive experience gained within the security industry whilst working on the coalface John has operated at all levels within the industry. He has a proven track record for motivating and leading high performance teams and has helped mentor and develop many people at Churchill who now hold key or senior positions within the business. John is committed to delivering only the finest services, exercising compelling leadership, maintaining good internal morale and striving to resolve any challenges efficiently and effectively.