Suspicious Behaviors in a Retail Setting

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What to Look for to Prevent Theft


When trying to reduce profit loss by shoplifting, consider training staff and employees on what to look for when trying to spot a shoplifter. Many shoplifters use the same tactics and can be easily identified by observant employees. Mitigate shoplifting and reduce profit loss by remembering these identifying suspicious behaviors that are typical of a shoplifter.

  1. Unfortunately, your employees must be observant of more than just the typical adolescent that shoplifts. Shoplifters don’t fall into a certain category, they can be any age or gender and come from any economic background. Whether a parent or a celebrity, they all have the potential to steal from your store.suspicious behaviors
  2. Train your staff to be especially attentive and cautious of patrons that move their eyes quickly, glancing around nervously and those that watch staff, cashiers and exits more than they are paying attention to merchandise. These individuals should raise red flags and if you notice this behavior, approach them and ask if you can help them. Approaching someone about to shoplift can deter their acts.
  3. Your staff should be especially attentive of potential shoplifters during times that staff is lighter than usual. These are most often right after opening, during lunch breaks, or right before closing time. Those who wish to steal from you want to do so without drawing attention and the more staff that are present, the harder it is for someone to shoplift.
  4. When shoppers wear inappropriate clothing for the season, such as a large, oversized coat in the summer, they are probably trying to conceal something that they stole from your retail store. Also be aware of those with many bags, or large, open purses. These individuals will often hurry toward an exit quickly, or even to the dressing room where they will try to conceal the stolen items better.
  5. Shoplifters often travel in large groups to distract employees, or to intimidate them. They might split up and come back together, or some may distract employees by holding a conversation while the others steal. Be especially wary of large groups of 4-8 persons that may be boisterous, and call the authorities if you feel the situation is getting out of hand.

Regrettably, shoplifting is something that retail store owners and managers must deal with daily and strive hard to mitigate. Shoplifting even the smallest of items can be disastrous for a business owner. Work toward preventing shoplifting in your retail store by training staff on the suspicious behaviors  that a shoplifter typically exhibits. What other ways do you prevent shoplifting in your retail store?



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