Shrinkage can be a huge problem in the retail trade. Supplier fraud, employee theft and shoplifting can all destroy profits. Here are a few ideas to help stem the problem.

1. Get your staff on board

According to research, only 27% of shoplifters plan their crime in advance. You can help them to resist the temptation by having a strong customer service presence on your shop floor. Get your staff into the habit of walking around the shop floor, especially along back walls. They should watch out for customers who appear nervous, stare at employees, wander aimlessly around the shop or hang out in hard to monitor areas. Monitoring shopping activity costs nothing and discourages shoplifting.

2. Training

As well as teaching your staff that their alertness can prevent shoplifting, you also need to show them how to handle incidents if they do occur. They should never accuse anyone of stealing but call security or management instead. It is also recommended that you give the person a chance to pay for the item that they ¨forgot¨ to pay for.

3. Maximize visibility

Try to make sure that merchandise is visible. Use mirrors to eliminate any blind spots and make sure that the shop is kept neat and tidy so that you notice if something is out of place. Also put shorter displays close to the register so that you can keep an eye on them. It also helps to lock up expensive merchandise and limit access to display cases.

4. Have visible security systems

Whether you use false cameras, security mirror, motion sensors or security guards, make sure they are visible to customers. Knowing that you have security measures in place will ward off shoplifters. Posting signs such as ¨shoplifters will be prosecuted´ can also be a deterrent.

5. Relocate your register

It is a good idea to place your cash register next to the door as customers are forced to walk past employees as they leave the shop. Make sure registers are manned at all times and that employees know to keep a watchful eye on customers.

6. Target internal theft

Most internal theft happens at the cash register. Drawer shortages, missing cheques, too many ´no sale¨ transactions and transactions without receipts should alert you that something is not quite right. If you are not always at the premises, make random visits and spot check the register. This lets employees know that you are keeping your eye on the ball. It can also be good idea to have a reward scheme for tips that an employees is stealing from the business. Then everyone knows that their colleagues will report suspicious activity.

7. Have a delivery policy

When you have a delivery of goods, make sure you do on-the-spot checks of quantities ordered and received before any stock is moved on to the shop floor and double check all invoices.