I work for my company’s corporate Loss Prevention department. I hear from managers almost every week that they need more Loss Prevention associates in their store to curb shoplifting. In most big corporations, the LP department is pretty small and it’s even smaller at stores that operate only a few locations. In either situation, it’s impossible to add headcount without facing other budget restrictions (anyone out there have a payroll budget?). My answer is simple. Every time I get asked that question, I respond with two of my own. First, how many employees are in your store at any given time? Second, who’s responsible for Loss Prevention in your store? The second answer should always be “everyone”. The first has some thought behind it.
If you went out and hired someone catch thieves, you would have one person looking for dishonest customers. If you have ten employees in your store every day, then technically, you should have 10 loss prevention associates, since they all should be aware of their surroundings and know what to look for in a dishonest person. That’s why adequate loss prevention training for your store employees is so important to the success of your business. I’m in no way suggesting that you train everyone to catch apprehend a shoplifter, but giving them basic training can pay off in ways that you might not have ever imagined.
In my current role, I routinely conduct loss prevention workshops in the stores that are under my responsibility. These training sessions focus on two groups; store employees and store managers. I have the most fun with the store employees. Believe it or not, most employees are eager to learn ways to save their store money. This is especially true when you relate a $100 loss to money out of their pocket. If your payroll is based upon your store sales, that $100 theft can mean a reduction of 5-10 hours. You tell that to any hourly employee and you’ll have their attention. What I like to do is called a “cart test”. Try this out next time in your store and see if you’re not surprised by the results.
Take a walk around the store and start shoplifting. I like to switch prices on higher end product and conceal merchandise inside coolers, or tackle boxes. Think of all the ways in which someone could commit fraud through your point of sale and then demonstrate that technique. Have your cashiers, one at a time, ring you up as a normal customer. Don’t tell them something is amiss. Chances are, even your most tenured cashiers will allow an item to get passed that shouldn’t have. While it’s not always the fault of the cashier, it will definitely show you the potential for merchandise loss through your register.
After you do this with your entire cashier team, you will most likely get an idea of what opportunities lie in your store. Maybe none of the cashiers opened up a tackle box to find that $200 reel you placed in there. Maybe, none of them caught the price switch on a $300 cooler that rang up for $25. Whatever the case, you will be able to respond appropriately and then tailor specific loss prevention training to ensure that these issues don’t happen in the real world where they could potentially cost you hundreds, or thousands of dollars.
For more information, contact us: Loss Prevention Seminar, or call 1.770.426.0547