One of the risks that come with putting up a gadget store—or any store, for that matter—is getting targeted by money-hungry shoplifters. The chances are a little higher for stores that have more expensive items, and for obvious reasons. This is particularly common in the retail industry and can lead to losses in inventory or sales (also known as shrinkage).
People steal certain items or objects for a variety of reasons. These can range from kleptomania to other factors such as financial constraints and emotional problems. Store owners should make it a point to look out for certain theft behaviors, whether it’s working in pairs or groups, or the misappropriation of funds or goods.
Not to worry. In this article, we’ll be tackling different ways on how to prevent these from happening in your gadget store. From having the latest security devices to implementing necessary policies, we’ve got you (and your store) covered.
But first, here’s how you can spot those pesky thieves in your store:
How to Spot a Shoplifter
Anybody can be a shoplifter, but you may still be able to spot them among the crowd. Train your employees to be suspicious of any person who:
- Avoids eye contact
- Watches the staff more than the merchandise
- Hangs out in hidden corners
- Wears caps or hoodies, shades, and oversized clothing
Professional shoplifters are much harder to spot and would probably be experienced enough not to show these behaviors. Therefore, it helps to better understand how they operate. Here are a few of the most common methods for shoplifting:
- Noisy groups of people entering the store to distract the staff
- Shopping during peak hours (opening, closing, or during shift changes) when the store is likely to be busy
- Wearing oversized clothes and bringing strollers, large shopping bags, or umbrellas where they can conceal items
- Using booster bags lined with foil so store detectors won’t be triggered by alarm tags on merchandise when they’re sneaked out past store exits
- Talking to or distracting the staff while the other steals
It’s imperative that you or your employees don’t make the mistake of wrongly accusing a person of being a shoplifter. What you can do to deter a potential theft is to approach the suspect and politely ask them, “Can I help you?” Shoplifters don’t want any attention, so they’re likely to run off or stutter in response when they get it.
If things escalate, don’t be afraid to get the manager involved—and the police, as soon as you confirm the presence of a thief.
CCTVs: Where To Install Them
A CCTV (or closed-circuit television system) is a type of device that offers video recording for both surveillance and security purposes. In this system, communication takes place between cameras and monitors through private cable or wireless connections. This is where the term “closed-circuit” comes in.
CCTVs also depend on where you’re going to place your monitors and cameras in your store. Here are a few ideal locations for your CCTV system:
Entrances and Exits
Most stores place their CCTV systems near their entrance and exit points in order to clearly identify who’s going in and out of their establishments. It’s also easier for you to capture faces in high quality if you put your monitor and camera at your store’s entrance—just make sure that your security camera can cover up to three feet of an area’s width.
Customer Transaction Points
It’s also important that you add a CCTV camera at your store’s transaction counters, kiosks, or any other area where your customers are most likely to pay for or look for any item they’re interested in. It’s also been suggested that you place CCTV cameras at about seven feet above a transaction point, so it overlooks the whole area.
Targets refer to items that can be easily stolen, like cash drawers, jewelry cabinets, safes, and even your merchandise on display. You can put CCTV cameras facing areas that have these items, so you can have a better view of who comes near them.
Placing CCTV cameras in areas such as parking lots and back alleys can help prevent thievery and even acts of violence and vandalism. Making the devices visible can keep criminals from committing illegal activities as they’ll be worried about being watched.
Protecting your store and merchandise is a priority, so it helps to have devices that are designed to offer varying levels of security for your items while blending in inside your store. Our list of below can help you out in your hunt for anti-theft products.
An electronic article surveillance system (EAS for short) is comprised of items that use sensors to alert employees of a possible theft within the store. These include security tags, stickers, and labels. It also has four basic categories: electromagnetic, acousto-magnetic, RFID, and microwave systems.
Display cases are containers where you can put your merchandise or goods for customers to see. They may not be compatible with some types of electronic gadgets, like tablets and phones that need to be held to be appreciated, but they’re still effective for keeping a wide variety of valuable items safe.
Security Locks and Keys
These can be used all around your store—from cash registers to shelf cabinets. Locks, and especially keys, are very important since you’ll be leaving copies of these to your staff. They not only protect your store from theft but also keep lockouts from happening. It’s also a good thing to have a list of persons that have spare keys, for security purposes.
Other kinds of locks that you may need to invest on are those that are specifically designed to keep your gadgets secured on tabletops and other surfaces while offering customers the freedom to hold them, like MacLocks for your Apple devices on display.
Buzzers alert you and your staff whenever a customer goes through your store’s entrance and exit points. They also draw attention to intruders and shoplifters, making it easier for you to catch them in the act.
Retail stores often use convex mirrors to easily monitor any suspicious activity inside the store. They’re also present in less visible or hidden areas of the establishment. You can even make use of mirrors to get shoplifters’ attention and stop them from taking any of your items or merchandise.
How Store Lighting Can Affect Customer and Burglar Behavior
Several researchers have conducted studies on how store lighting affects customers’ behavior. One study points out that it has a huge significance in a store’s ambiance. However, it can also have a negative impact on sales.
Another study also finds that store lighting can affect customers’ buying behavior. Insufficient or dark lighting can discourage customers from buying a store’s products, while good lighting encourages customers to shop at a store more frequently.
Interestingly, store lighting can also affect thieves’ behavior. Lighting systems with too much glare enable thieves to carry out suspicious activities, which is why experts suggest that you should acquire lamps or bulbs with enough light to reduce glare. At the same time, have them installed in areas where you need bright lighting for well-exposed CCTV feeds and to discourage thieves.
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