A retail people counter can point you in the direction of shoplifters, provided you know how to read a little further into your reports. In order to understand the report, you have to know how they work in general.

Retail people counters are devices that track how many potential customers are coming into your store. Most devices are set up to differentiate a one-way passage. That means the retail people counters will count the people coming inside, but not leaving the store. That prevents your data from being falsely inflated. Otherwise the device would trigger once when someone enters, and again, once when this same person left.

Now that your customer traffic has been counted, you can view your report. If you are using the VisiPlus system, you will have a report generated by hour of the day, for each day. When you divide your sales by customers, you can see what your average for the day is, and can further break those numbers down by hour. Over the course of time, you should be able to establish a baseline sales average.

Now, here’s how you spot a shoplifter by looking at your report.

Let’s say on a Saturday morning your VisiPlus report shows you (on average) have 20 people in between 10AM and 11AM. Your sales average about $200.00, for the hour leaving you with a $10.00 dollar ticket average.

You start to notice a trend on your VisiPlus report that you are consistently showing 30 people during this same time slot, but your sales are still only about $200.00. If you start to investigate, you might notice one person coming in and out several times, driving up your VisiPlus report.

Here is why: shoplifters are very nervous about getting caught. They will come in and out of a store frequently as they decide to steal, and then second guess themselves and decide not to steal. They are also looking to see who is paying attention as they go in and out. If no one pays attention, it boosts their confidence that they will not be caught.

If you see a spike in your retail people counter, but no corresponding sales, be on the lookout for potential shoplifters.