Retail Security Systems: How to Reduce the Risk of Theft

Securing of merchandise plays an important role in the retail. The term product security is understood to mean that goods are to be protected against theft. According to EHI statistics from 2021, inadequate anti-theft devices in the retail sector cause damage amounting to 3.23 billion euros every year. These can be divided into three groups of perpetrators:

1.     Customers cause damage of 2.1 billion euros
2.     Staff cause damage of 810 million euros
3.     Suppliers and service workers cause damage amounting to 320 million euros

Good-to-know: What Types of Product Security are there?

Product security is divided into three categories: mechanical, electronic and chemical product security.

With mechanical product security, products are secured with a wire. This secures them against unauthorised removal. In most cases, the interested party has the opportunity to test the product. This security makes it more difficult for the thief to steal the product. The protection against theft is increased if, in addition, a loud noise is heard.

Chemical product security involves attaching a chemical to the product in a fragile container so that if the security is inappropriately removed, the container will break and the chemical security (e.g. washable paints, stench diffusing substances or artificial DNA) will affect the product.

Labels, antennas and magnetic detachers are part of the electronic product security. There are two methods of theft protection:

Visible attachment of a RFI label
The RFI label can only be removed with a tool. The advantage is the psychological effect, as the customer perceives the goods as secured and casual thieves are deterred.

Concealed attachment to or in the merchandise
Only when a product is purchased the anti-theft device is deactivated, but not removed. The advantage is that the thief does not know where to find the security device. This method distinguishes between adhesive and hard tags.

Source tagging is planned for the future. This means that the products will already have an integrated product security label during production or assembly. Of course, it must be possible to activate, deactivate and reactivate it.

Minimise the Risk of Theft: What products does VKF Renzel offer?

Hook Lock "Faby"

  • For anti-theft protection for double hooks
  • Sturdy hook lock made of plastic
  • Optimal for pegwall hooks
  • Available in large quantities and various colours

Link to Product »

Stay on Top of Things: Make targeted Use of Salesroom Design


An entrance to the shop already minimises the risk of theft. At the entrance, the customer should be informed of video surveillance in the shop by signs. For visual interior design, shelves should not be higher than 1.70 metres. Too many and too high advertising boards should be avoided. These block the view and the thief has a better chance of remaining undetected.

Surveillance mirrors are available for ceiling and wall mounting. They should be hung accordingly to avoid blind spots and to be able to see into angled areas. Make sure there is enough light in the shop and a good overview from the checkout area. Tip: Place the checkout area slightly higher than the rest of the shop. In addition, surveillance mirrors should also hang in the checkout area so that cashiers can see if the customer is "taking" something.

If you sell high-value products, place them where many employees are. This way your products are permanently under observation. Also, keep as few items as possible in the showcases. Investing in vending machines also reduces the risk of theft. This way, the customer only comes into possession of high-quality goods when they have already been paid for.

Deter and Attract Attention with Striking Alarm Sounds

It is possible for every customer to receive a chip transponder at the shop entrance. After shopping or when leaving, this chip must be returned. The chip transponder is connected to the shopping baskets and trolleys as well as to the shelves. This means that the chip registers when the customer takes a product from the shelf.

If the chip is not handed in at the checkout and the goods are stolen, it makes a shrill loud noise. The same applies to the vending machines containing high-value products. If these are damaged, a loud shrill sound is emitted as an alarm signal.
Security Box Size L

Possible Applications of the "Security Box"
  • Jewellry
  • Glasses
  • Accessories
  • Cosmetics
  • Fragrances
  • Medical products
  • High-value tools
  • Smartphones
  • And other high-tech products

Prevention in the Field of Digital Product Security


Place a TV at the entrance that broadcasts live images from the surveillance cameras so that thieves know you are under constant observation. When potential thieves know they are being watched, they are often deterred from stealing. Place security systems such as cameras and dummy cameras visibly in the shop to deter shoplifters.

Meanwhile, artificial intelligence (AI) can be called in to secure goods in shops. Several tasks can be performed with it, such as:

The AI can trigger alarms by monitoring the goods. For example, when a customer takes a certain number of products off the shelf.
The AI can access the cameras, detect suspicious activity (unnatural, inhibited or tense posture) and send warnings and signals to responsible staff accordingly.
The AI can collect and analyse information from various sources. The material is used to secure the shop and detect security threats. The detection triggers an alarm and an employee is informed.
The AI can trigger alarms by monitoring the goods. For example, when a customer takes a certain number of products off the shelf.
The AI can access the cameras, detect suspicious activity (unnatural, inhibited or tense posture) and send warnings and signals to responsible staff accordingly.
The AI can collect and analyse information from various sources. The material is used to secure the shop and detect security threats. The detection triggers an alarm and an employee is informed.

Trust is Good, Control is Better - Involve Your Employees


The security of the shop is also heavily dependent on the employees. Therefore, they should be educated about common theft methods in regular courses. Employees should also be encouraged to observe customers during their shopping activity.

Involve your staff and educate them on how to proceed in certain situations. In addition, you could also ask your staff for suggestions for improvements and implement useful tips. This will strengthen the bond and possibly reduce the rate of employee theft.

Involve employees in the salesroom

Shoplifting is not only committed by strangers, but also by your own employees. To prevent this from happening, care should be taken to ensure that employees feel comfortable, but also that strict rules of arbitration prevail. First, employees should be told honestly that thefts by employees are also reported.

Meanwhile, self-service checkouts are becoming more and more popular and for this reason there should always be employees in the checkout area. Of course, it can happen that the customer accidentally does not scan a product or scans it incorrectly.

He is not immediately a thief, that should be distinguished. It is also the task of the employees to point out the customer's misconduct in a nice way.

Point-of-sale areas should be protected with a Scan-It-All anti-theft system that uses video technology. This means that the self-service area is under video surveillance. When products are scanned, this is recorded to enhance security. In addition, the areas should be demarcated so that the customer can only leave the shop with a receipt.

In order not to give thieves a chance to steal, there should also be staff at the changing rooms to check the number of items being tried on. Cards with numbers can be distributed there to indicate how many items of clothing the customer has taken into their cubicle. After the fitting, the amount of garments given away and kept is checked. Swinging doors or curtains in the cubicles that end 15-20 cm above the floor additionally reduce the risk of theft. 

To further increase safety, security staff could be deployed at the shop entrance and shop detectives in offices to keep an eye on the shop through the cameras.

Conclusion on the Subject of Product Security in Retail


The measures a shop decides on depend on the risk of theft of the assortment, the type of business, the location, the social environment, the structural conditions and the financial possibilities. Especially where easily stolen goods, premium articles or technical devices as well as relatively small high-value products are offered, product security becomes more and more important.


1. Loss of turnover is avoided
2. Potential thieves are scared off at the entrance
3. Relaxed staff
4. Video recordings facilitate the preservation of evidence and identification of the perpetrator
5. Making it more difficult for thieves to escape by employing security personnel

Frequently Asked Questions at a Glance

A distinction is made between three types: mechanical, electronic and chemical product security.

Shop detectives must observe attentively and closely. In addition, you must behave inconspicuously and quietly when directly observing potential thieves in the shop. The use of cameras provides additional support for shop detectives. They can analyse the live images in a separate room and intervene in the event of suspicious customer behaviour.

There are a few types of anti-theft devices. Either the product is attached with a wire cable, labels, antennas or magnetic releases. There again, a distinction is made between visible or hidden attachments.

A product security device is attached to the product to protect it from theft in the retail environment.

The anti-theft antennas permanently emit electromagnetic energy. When a customer passes in front of the antennas with an item, the label, if not deactivated, emits a short electromagnetic signal that is detected by the antennas and causes the alarm to go off.
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