13 Essential Tips for Preventing Shoplifting

Rob Suddaby
Posted by Rob Suddaby
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Shoplifting costs retailers billions annually. Here are 13 quick tips for store owners and security managers to help tackle theft and reduce shrinkage.

1. Use Clear Signs

Visual cues make sure shoplifters know what preventive measures are in place and dissuade them from shoplifting in the first instance. 


Also use signs to highlight your store’s shoplifting policy and the maximum punishment a shoplifter could end up receiving.

2. Train Staff to Recognise Suspicious Behaviour

Give staff guidance on how to detect shoplifters and distinguish between normal and suspicious behaviour.

Suspicious behaviour includes:

  • Spending more time watching staff than actually shopping
  • Taking several items into the dressing room but only leaving with one
  • Loitering, appearing nervous and avoiding eye contact

3. Eliminate Blind Spots 

Optimise your store’s design and install mirrors in areas which are otherwise concealed from view. Make sure there is adequate lighting in all areas.


4. Avoid Tall Display Cases 

Placed along the aisles, taller display cases obstruct the staff’s view of potential shoplifters. Place taller displays along a wall instead.

5. Use Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) 

EAS tag and alarm systems are ideal for preventing shoplifting.


  • A tag is attached to an item of clothing or merchandise
  • On purchase this tag is either removed or deactivated
  • If the tag has not been removed or deactivated when the item is taken out of the store, then special antennas placed in the store exit will sound an alarm

6. Acknowledge Customers 

Make sure staff are visible and attentive. Greeting each customer as they come into the shop lets them know that a member of staff is aware of their presence.

Shoplifters tend to avoid stores with attentive sales assistants.

7. Keep the Store Well-Organised 

A clean and tidy store signals that there is control and dissuades shoplifting.

8. Install Video Surveillance 

CCTV is a useful tool for preventing and detecting shop thefts.


  • It is important that the camera is of sufficient quality as blurred and unclear images cannot be used later as evidence
  • Always consult an expert in the area as legislation on CCTV is complicated and regularly amended
  • Shoppers must be made aware if cameras a being operated in a store, so use clear signage

9. Control Access to Store Rooms 

Don’t allow shoplifters to enter storage areas. Use access control to protect parts of the store which are off-limits to customers.


Only individuals with the right authorisation will be granted entry. A whole range of different identification methods can be used including cards, tags, PIN codes or biometric data, such as a fingerprint.

10. Maintain Staff Levels 

Stagger lunch and break times among sales assistants to always have more than one employee working.

11. Be Aware of Common Shoplifting Methods 

Shoplifters often try to hide merchandise so keep an eye out for places where items can be quickly concealed.


The most popular hiding places are inside clothing, handbags, prams and umbrellas.

12. Plug the Gaps 

Protect open and unmonitored entrances to your store with speed gates.


They allow passage into the store but prevent shoplifters from going back through the entrance with stolen goods.

13. Compare Notes with Your Neighbours 

Consult with the other stores around you and see what tips they can give you based on their own experience.

Download How to Prevent Shoplifting Guide

Topics: Retail Security

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