With The Increase In Aggression Should Retailers Try To Stop Shoplifting?
With all of the recent stories on aggressive shoplifters, it is fair to ask if it makes sense to try to stop shoplifting. Preventing theft has to be a focus of store owners and managers. When store shortage on average is 1.33% and approximately 35.7% of that shrinkage is due to shoplifting, it only makes sense to try to stop it. According to the 2018 National Retail Security Survey, page 5, “Shoplifting has again surpassed employee theft as the leading cause of shrink for the fourth year in a row.” Think about what this means, more than one third of all of the losses your store is experiencing is caused by criminals walking in and taking your merchandise without paying for it. This leaves store owners with the following alternatives; allow theft to continue unabated, raise prices on merchandise to make up for the losses or teach staff how to prevent shoplifting through employee theft reduction training. The only solution that makes any real sense is to train employees and here are my reasons for it.
• If you allow theft to continue and make no effort to combat it, thieves will take advantage of your store. When an easy target is identified crooks will return to it because the rewards far outweigh the risks to them personally.
• Doing nothing to deter or stop shoplifting is an invitation to other more serious crime. Don’t think that word doesn’t spread in the criminal community about locations that are easy pickings. It may begin with shoplifting but it is not unheard of that car break-ins, robberies, purse snatchings and assaults creep in these places over time.
• When criminal activity grows around a store or a mall customers will stop shopping there. This in turn leads to reduced sales and at some point if sales go too low shops close up their doors…permanently.
• Increasing prices to make up for shortage rather than addressing root causes hurts customers not the thieves. Clients may be willing to spend a bit more cash for merchandise in a store with great customer service or a pleasant shopping atmosphere. Increasing prices too much and regardless of how wonderful service is, shoppers will eventually revolt and take their money elsewhere.Ignoring shoplifting is not going to make it go away and worse, it may discourage customers from shopping in your store(s).
The concern that is then placed in front of store owners is how to address shoplifting if doing so is a potentially dangerous prospect due to violent offenders. The first thing that responsible business owners MUST do is provide employee theft reduction training to their workers. Employees are the first line of defense against criminal activity. That greeting and eye contact go a lot further than you may think in stopping a crook from snatching your merchandise. Additionally small things such as how to talk to a customer and how NOT to talk to them can make a difference in theft prevention. Is it the job of an employee to “identify” who may or may not be a criminal? To keep staff members safe while improving sales and driving out theft related shortage stores need to invest in training by a company that “has been there and done that.” Loss Prevention Systems Inc. CEO, Bill Bregar has put together that training program. As a Director of Loss Prevention for national retail companies Bill used his experience to design a program that is guaranteed to bring results and keep employees safe. As a Loss Prevention professional with years of experience training employees and teaching them how to stay safe, I have seen the training offered and I am totally impressed.
Installation of closed circuit television cameras, public view monitors, and retail anti-theft devices are all pieces of a shortage prevention strategy that owners should consider to stop shoplifting. Unfortunately none of these pieces guarantees the safety of store workers. Employee theft reduction training is the one thing that owners can do to add safety as well as security to their stores. Remember, when employees feel they have the tools to stay safe and still deter theft they are going to be willing to offer customer service that will also enhance sales. That is a winning combination for you and your team.
For more information on employee theft reduction training, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547