How to Prevent Retail Theft During the Holidays: Part One

December 8th, 2016

retail theft prevention

Photo: Mike Mozart, Flickr Creative Commons

While the holiday season heralds an increase in sales at retail establishments, it also brings higher rates of shoplifting and employee theft. Retailers refer to this loss of inventory from shelves or storage as “shrinkage” and it cost U.S. retailers $42 billion in 2013 alone. This increase in theft is due, in part, to crowded stores, stressed employees working long hours, and poorly-trained seasonal employees. This year take time to educate yourself and your employees on how to prevent your products (and profits!) from walking out the door. With Philadelphia corporate training from Know It All, your business can beat the retail theft odds.

Prevention Starts With Employees

Unfortunately, America leads the world in employee theft. From manipulating transactions to failing to ring up items, there are many creative ways for employees to steal. Employee theft can range from isolated incidents of a few dishonest workers to organized theft rings.

The best way to prevent employee theft is with pre-employment screening from Know It All. Our Philadelphia-based pre-employment screening services will help you choose qualified, honest, responsible employees. This is especially important when screening the large influx of seasonal employees: it is easy to overlook something when hiring a short-term employee.

Once you have a staff you can trust, you must focus on training. Teach your employees common behaviors to watch for that can mark a potential shoplifter. If a staff member notices these behaviors, they should approach the customer and ask if they need help. This tells the potential shoplifter they have been noticed and will likely deter them from stealing.

Suspicious behaviors include:

  • Avoiding eye contact.
  • Spending more time watching staff and other customers than actually shopping.
  • Walking with short or unnatural steps. (This can indicate that they are concealing lifted items.)
  • Lingering in a location that isn’t well-monitored.
  • Wearing bulky, heavy clothing during warm weather or wearing a coat when it isn’t necessary.
  • Picking up random items without showing interest in them.
  • Appearing nervous.
  • Frequently entering and leaving the store and/or wandering around the store without making a purchase.
  • Entering dressing rooms or restrooms with merchandise and exiting with none.
  • A large group entering the store at one time, especially juveniles. (Members of the group may distract sales staff while the others shoplift.)

Philadelphia Corporate Training from Know It All’s Loss Prevention Experts

Know It All’s team of experts is available to train your management and staff in everything from loss prevention and customer service experience, to safe hiring techniques and general workplace safety. All the Philadelphia corporate training is done at your business by qualified individuals with specialized experience. We can also tailor training programs to your company’s individual needs.

If your company can benefit from our corporate training in Philadelphia, reach out to us today.

Find Us


The Constitution Building
1950 Street Road – Suite 402
Bensalem, PA 19020

Phone: (888) 281-9535
Fax: (215) 352-4469
Email: investigations@knowitallgroup.com

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