3 steps to reduce shop lifting and reduce employee theft in your store

3 steps to reduce shop lifting and reduce employee theft in your store

Reduce shop lifting and employee theft

Reduce shop lifting and employee theft: A report by the Association of Convenience Stores 2018 Crime Report has revealed that there were over 950,000 incidents of theft reported in corner shops over the past year! That’s a huge increase comparing to the 2017 figure of 575,000… this means that more than 200 thefts are being reported in an hour, with many more going uncaught! Don’t be fooled, it can happen to anyone, anywhere.

Small stores have been battling against fraudulent payments in the forms of counterfeit notes and credit and debit card fraud, amounting to £24 million in costs last year! These figures are scary, that’s for sure. That’s why we’re bringing you our top tips to reduce employee theft and shop lifting in your store. Every little helps!

Where are your losses coming from?

It’s an important question to ask yourself…. before you can reduce retail theft, you need to know who is responsible for the losses so you can target that problem, with a solution. The National Retail Federation conducted a study in 2017 that found 3 main culprits for retail loss.


reduce employee theft and shop lifting pie chart



Majority of retail theft is accounted by customers. They take items for personal use or resale, it’s very common. You need to make sure that crime coverage is included in your insurance.



There are various reasons why employees steal from their companies, some want to impress friends with a discount deal, others are unsatisfied with their benefits or colleagues and some just simply want the extra cash…


Other: Contractors, Suppliers, Admin & Management

You might be thinking… really? But pay attention. Suppliers and contractors might overcharge you. Management and admin errors can include things such has, mismanagement of inventory or wrongly priced items.

Educating Employees

Educate your employees on how to prevent shoplifting and employee theft. How they can spot dodgy behavior from a customer and approach the situation carefully.

Some common ways to help employees help with shoplifting prevention include things such as:

  • Paying attention to shoppers who are spending too much time watching staff, those entering and exiting the store without purchasing anything and multiple people in dressing rooms.
  • Keeping an eye on shoppers with bulky clothing.
  • Being more aware during opening and closing times.
  • Being aware of common tactics such as label switching, returning merch and theft in changing rooms.

Don’t panic because most of the time you won’t even need to intervene! Just ask them if they need any help and watch them sweat, then you’ll know. If you do need to intervene it’s probably best to get a manager or call the police.

The best way to preventing employee theft is to educate them on the measures you are taking for prevention. It’s important to explain about your inventory tracking system so they are aware that if anything is stolen, you will know, almost like a warning! When something goes missing, let them know what it is or how much as well because being specific will let them know that you are on top of all of it. There’s no sneaking past you!

Lastly you need to describe any measures you will/are taking to prevent employee theft such as video cameras. It’s important that they know they are being watched with every move so the temptation won’t get the better of them.

Organisation and placement

The majority of theft is down to impulse and temptation, but with proper deterrents in place it will reduce the temptation. Here are some ways to organise your store for better shoplifting prevention:

  • Have your checkout near the front of the store rather than the back… this way you can keep an eye out at all times through their theft journey.
  • Have an open floor layout so that majority of the store is visible.
  • Keep on top of the lighting, making sure that there are no dimly lit areas.
  • With the easier to steal items keep them closer to the cash register/you.

Make sure that you have mirrors positioned all around the store so you can see what’s going on down each aisle. Security cameras are always a great idea so these are a definite need as well as warning signs to deter them from taking the risk.



So to sum up this blog, though retail theft is quite common… there are a variety of theft-reduction solutions out there for small businesses to use for protection.

  • Identify where your losses are coming from.
  • Educate your employees.
  • Organisation and placement in the house is important.


Now get on your superhero cape and get ready to fight thieving customers, employees and possible external suppliers.

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