There’s a lot to think about when opening a shop and security should be high on the agenda. Besides getting a quality shop insurance plan organised, to protect your business should something happen, there are a number of budget-friendly ways to make your shop safer and less prone to crimes such as shoplifting.

Expensive moves such as introducing a state-of-the-art surveillance system, security tagging all products and hiring a security guard are not an option for many small retailers starting out on the high street.

While it’s impossible to make your shop completely theft proof, there are some simple and affordable measures you can take to help reduce the risk.


The more clearly you’re able to scan your shop floor, the less shoplifting-friendly it will be. When you’re designing the floor plan, try to avoid creating areas that are essentially blind spots. Instead, focus on a layout where you’re able to see what’s going on as much as possible.

If you run a fashion boutique, one of your biggest blind spots will be the changing rooms. Having a member of staff manning and monitoring how many items people are trying on, especially during busy periods, is the ideal situation.

However, if you’re not yet in a position to recruit shop assistants, try positioning the changing rooms close to the till area so you’re at least able to keep an eye out. But unmanned changing rooms will always be a great vulnerability and having cover during your busy periods is highly recommended if not essential.

Engaging with customers

Shoplifters like to remain under the radar and will get nervous if they’re getting any attention. Therefore it’s in your best interest to engage with as many customers as possible when they enter your shop.

This could be anything from a casual greeting on their arrival or approaching them to see if they need any help to simply adding a bell on the door so that a new customer’s presence in known immediately.

There’s obviously a thin line between appearing helpful and driving people away, so always keep any interactions friendly and low key. Quite often, seasoned shoplifters will be adept at not arousing any suspicion so don’t assume that they will necessarily have a sheepish look about them.

Protecting luxury items

If you stock luxury products, extra attention needs to be given in protecting them from potential shoplifters. Options include storing upscale goods in locked glass cabinets that allow visibility without direct access or keeping the most expensive items behind the counter.

The point is to avoid easy access to your most prized products without actually hiding them away too much.

Befriend local shop owners

Being in the loop of the local business community means you can keep more abreast of any security issues in the area and even get some advice. From attending networking events to simply having a chat with the neighbouring shop owners, investing time in building relationships is worthwhile.

If a renowned gang of shoplifters has been spotted in the area, you’re more likely to receive a warning about it if you’re on people’s radar.

This is only intended as a general guide for small retailers on tight budgets. To ensure the survival of your shop in scenarios such as theft, stock damage or if a member of the public sues for damages after being injured on site, you’ll need strong business insurance in place that’s tailored to your needs.

For further information and shop insurance quotes, get in touch with The Insurance Octopus today.