Loss Prevention for Your Store

 In Retail Tips & Trends

Shoplifting and employee theft make up the bulk of a $45 billion annual problem for the retail industry. Retailers continue to invest in new technology to reduce inventory shrinkage. But typical losses still hover around 2% of annual sales. That’s a big issue for retailers, especially those with tight margins already. Electronic item tags, high-tech surveillance and facial recognition, you name it — retailers continue to search for a one-and-done, slam-dunk-way to curb inventory loss. But the reality is that an effective loss prevention plan is your best bet to limit your retail store’s losses. It’s the only way to effectively fight problems like shoplifting and employee theft.

But, how do retailers accomplish this?

The most important tactic for getting your team invested in loss prevention is simple: be transparent about the problem. Communicate shrinkage numbers across the organization. Help your team conceptualize how much you have to gain by addressing shrinkage. Share loss prevention goals and connect them with the progress you make.

For most senior level managers, the benefit of loss prevention comes down to the numbers. 

Empower store employees to take responsibility for the store’s success. Set clear benchmarks and reward employees who reach and surpass their goals. Share team success with every member of the organization.


Tactics to Prevent Shoplifting and Theft

Now what tactics should you consider for reducing theft and shoplifting? Every store, no matter how big or small, faces the threat of theft.

Larger retailers often have trained loss prevention personnel. Their entire job is to prevent shoplifting. If that isn’t a realistic option for your store right now, there are several changes you can put in place to make life harder for shoplifters.

Deliberate store organization: Aisles overflowing with disorganized merchandise are like a playground for shoplifters. They make it easy to grab any number of items without leaving a trace. After all, how can employees tell something’s missing when products don’t have a designated place where they should be? Keep your store well organized, and have employees restock and tidy up shelves regularly throughout the day.

Top-notch customer service: It’s good business sense to focus on great customer service – but it can also help deter would-be shoplifters. Regular customer service best practices (like greeting customers as they enter the store and adequately staffing the floor) serve a dual purpose. They let well-meaning customers know they’re welcome and can find help when needed, and they assure less well-meaning visitors that they’re seen.

Conspicuous surveillance and signage: Speaking of letting customers know they’re seen, it’s always good practice to have surveillance throughout your store. Conspicuous surveillance cameras, uniformed security, and signage making visitors aware of both are a powerful deterrent against shoplifting.

Retail shrinkage is a huge, industry-wide problem. Retailers both large and small grapple with finding new and efficient ways to prevent shrinkage, particularly that from shoplifting and employee theft. Despite the stubborn nature of inventory shrinkage, it’s a problem worth investing in. Implementing a top-down loss prevention strategy can help your business restore the 2% of annual sales lost to inventory shrinkage — boosting efficiency and revenue across the board.

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