Have you figured out what’s being stolen in your stores and how it’s being taken? What are you doing about it now and what will you change when the shoplifters figure out the way around that? We have a large arsenal of anti-shoplifting tactics at the company I work for now, but I’ve seen that change many times throughout all my years in retail.
First we learned to count our items and have a greater knowledge of the balance on hand. We now watch what we buy and sell more closely and compare the two figures. We’ve upgraded from having VHS recording systems in only the high theft inner city stores to DVRs in every location. The pedestals at the front doors have been upgraded to Checkpoint with the more advanced tags. Then there is my personal favorite of all, the Alpha Keepers. These things are the most valuable items in my tool-chest. They are versatile for item protection, easy for staff to use and customer friendly. If you need to step up your anti-shoplifting efforts in your business, Alpha Keepers should be near the top of your wish list.
I was in a store today that is considered a high risk location in our company. Their shrink results are notoriously bad, and the external theft is through the roof. It’s hard to retain managers and cashiers at this particular store because of the stress the shoplifters put on the staff. I was walking the store with one of the managers, and she was showing off a lot of her store’s improvements made over the past year. However, we soon came to a display that was empty except for one piece. This store has a family planning section that is in a glass case, and they are required to have a small condom section adjacent to this locked case that is accessible to customers. I asked her why the section was so empty, and she explained that those packs are stolen on average within two days of being put on display. We looked at it a moment, and I asked her what she planned to do now to reduce the theft in the section. She said she could check the section more often or better tag the boxes that she hung there. I asked her how that would really change the outcome and she didn’t have an answer. So I suggested she try to think of it a different way. These packs of condoms are the small three-pack boxes. They slip easily into someone’s pocket, and the staff has no idea who takes them. So I asked her what if she simply reduced the facings of items on this display. How about instead of twelve to fifteen items, cut it down to eight of them and put them in Alpha-Keepers. They are still visible and accessible to the customer so they meet the regulatory need, and if they are in the boxes, they do not just slip into one’s pocket very well. She looked like I had just told her the meaning of life. If your anti-shoplifting ideas stop working, you have to change them.
Eventually they’ll have to do something different at this store. The shoplifters will change their behaviors, and you have to learn to keep up with them. Take a look at your biggest opportunity and think about what you can do to make a real difference, and not just bandage your problem.
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