It doesn’t matter whether you run a small business in a British backwater or an exclusive boutique in Beverly Hills, shoplifting is nearly always an issue that must be faced. There are very few retailers ‒ if any at all ‒ that do not face losses as a result of light-fingered ‘shoppers’, but there are an increasing number who are unwilling to accept these attacks on their livelihoods.
The most recent figures available from the Centre for Retail Research reveal that customer theft cost UK retailers £2,206m between 2012 and 2013. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that business owners, police, and security companies are taking increasingly drastic action in a bid to prevent such vast losses. In many stores, simple threats of prosecution and CCTV are sadly doing very little to get committed thieves to the tills with everything they have picked up off the shelves.
New tactics on trial
From cardboard cut-out police officers to shop security with undercover children, it seems that the retail industry and its partners, such as security guards in Gloucester, are seeking ever-more innovative and unusual ways to fight back in the war against the thieves.
Being nice to beat theft
These alternative actions include the ‘killing with kindness’ approach of makeup store Sephora. According to the New York Post, Sephora staff attempt to shame wealthy shoplifters into paying for their goods through outstanding customer service.
Another case recently reported in the British press involved a store security team cornering a Hema homeware shop’s 10,000th shoplifter and throwing a celebration party. The security team got out the balloons and flowers in a bid to deter other thieves from taking items in the future and filmed the whole incident to make matters even worse for the hapless thief. The thief didn’t seem impressed with the sandwiches and cakes, and much less so with the party hat that was placed on her head, but what was she to do? Her answer was to storm out of the shop, setting the alarms off as she went!