The Impact of Theft on Small Businesses

We know better than most here in Amelia Island that small businesses play vital roles in local communities; contributing to local economies and providing jobs. We are all for peace, love and good vibes at Color it Green. But unfortunately, there is an ugly side to owning a small business (especially in retail) known as shoplifting. Shoplifting is the theft of retail products by customers and is the second leading cause of inventory loss for retailers. As state and local governments relax laws and penalties involving retail theft, small businesses owners are suffering from major annual losses. Shoplifters are cumulatively responsible for roughly 36.5% of revenue loss for small businesses. Nearly half of all states have boosted their thresholds for retail felony theft since 2012, and 38 states no longer consider shoplifting a felony unless $1,000 or more of merchandise gets stolen. Shoplifting by customers has a number of direct and indirect effects on both businesses and the community.

Minimizing the effects of theft is an important factor in retail safety, store design and customer service. Often subsequent to the hit a business takes on profits, the products and services we offer customers may also endure a price increase to compensate for profit loss. Sometimes this is the only alternative to address the loss of inventory other than the business owner taking the financial hit. For small businesses, the need to raise prices because of regular shoplifting issues is problematic given disadvantages that already exist against larger big-box companies with more buying power.

Shoplifting also has indirect influence on employee morale and the work culture. Employees may feel a sense of paranoia if they constantly hear the store has a shoplifting issue. The negative measures taken to deter shoplifting can impede employee instincts toward a positive and welcoming attitude with customers. Employees also may become overly suspicious of customers and get overzealous in their efforts to protect the store's inventory. Overall, it can create a poor work environment for the employees and a bad customer experience. Believe us, we’d love nothing more than to not have to worry about shoplifters

Keeping in mind the holiday season is approaching quickly, 53% of small retailers say that their businesses experience more shoplifting or theft during the holiday season. So much for holiday spirit! We hope this shines some light on the impacts of shoplifting for not only small businesses, but the community as a whole. In all honesty and to end on a positive note, we love being a part of this tight-knit, small business community! We are so thankful for our patrons and everyone’s continued support for our little shop on the corner!