store designPut security systems aside. Have you ever considered how your store design is affecting the safety of your store and employees? Is it deterring shoplifters or making it easier for them to attack? Seasoned shoplifters weigh the pros and cons of the situation before they decide to attack. And for some shoplifters, the assessment period may only last a matter of seconds before they make their decision based on the opportunity for risk.

Fortunately, ongoing research by the University of Florida and the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) has shed some light on the subject and is encouraging retailers to explore retail design strategies in their store environments.  Thanks to this new industry information, business owners, managers and store designers can work together to create an environment that not only increases sales but also prevents opportunity for theft. When mapping out your store environment, consider these three theft-preventing elements:

Product Positioning

Item accessibility plays a huge role in whether a thief will strike or walk away. It’s important to allow the ability for your consumers to touch, feel and experience your products; recent studies have proven that unrestricted access to merchandise improves sales.  However, be mindful with the placement of your hottest products. Keep your trendiest and theft-worthy items in visible areas to improve your natural surveillance. Items out in the open are less likely to be stolen.

Fixture Design

In addition to where you position your products, it’s important to consider how you display them. Consider fixtures that incorporate locks, cases, and cords. Although it may seem that these displays may limit access to your products, they also increase supervision. In fact, studies have proven that consumers do not necessarily respond negatively to these types of “target hardening” methods as long as they are still able to see and test the products.

Store Layout

Integrating layout plans into your store to minimize blind spots also helps reduce shoplifters’ opportunity of theft. Try decentralizing employee stations throughout your store. Positioning staff throughout the store helps increase visibility and sight lines while creating the feeling that offenders are being watched.

Having the right store design can not only enhance your sales, but also safeguard against inventory shrinkage. VPG has extensive knowledge and experience with creating store designs that will optimize sales while decreasing the opportunity of theft.

Reach out to our loss prevention strategists for more information on preparing your store’s environment.