There is quite literally, an endless supply of thieves with a seemingly endless array of ways they will target our stores. One method that has gained some steam recently is off the floor refunds. Chances are your store has a return policy, but is it designed to be anti-shoplifting? It most likely isn’t, and a faulty return policy can really have a negative impact on your bottom line.
A few days ago one of my stores contacted me with an interesting theft. After getting the pertinent information, I began my investigation. The first transaction I looked at was a refund to a customer for a large ticket item. It was a very expensive piece of clothing that was brand new to the stores. Upon reviewing the CCTV footage, I could still very clearly see the Checkpoint Tag that was used to secure the product in the store. Surely we would’ve taken this off for a customer at the time of purchase. So, the next thing I did was review any sales of that particular sku for that store since that merchandise had arrived. Shockingly enough, there were none. A little more research showed that this customer had arrived to the store empty handed. Video showed her select the item from the rack and present it to the service desk. Due to the inattentive cashier, we gave away a $400 store credit.
You can have all the anti-shoplifting devices money can buy in your store, but it doesn’t mean a thing if your employees are complacent in their roles. Had the cashier paid just a little more attention, they would’ve noticed the anti-shoplifting device still affixed to the product. They also would’ve noticed that the product hadn’t been tagged with a return sticker from the associate at the front door.
It’s no surprise that this customer came back a few days later and did the exact same thing to the exact same cashier. Again, a large ticket item, still secured with a Checkpoint Tag. This time, it was a $300 store credit. This individual then conducted that very same act nearly a dozen times before a manager had a suspicion and reported it to me. What’s more disturbing is how negative this act is to the store’s bottom line. Not only did the thief get a $400 store credit, they then purchased additional merchandise with that credit, causing in reality, an $800 loss. Times this by 12 and the total quickly topped the thousands of dollars range.
So what can you do in order to prevent your store from being the victim of this fraud scheme? For starters, have a solid return policy in place. Whatever make sense for your business. You have to take returns back. It’s just a matter of doing business, but you can limit the number of non-receipted refunds or outright deny them. Also train your cashiers. If a customer presents an item that still has a Checkpoint Tag attached to it, they should probably contact a manager. You want to find a balance of having an anti-shoplifting refund policy, all while keeping your honest customers happy. By doing so, you give your customers the ability to shop with confidence all while sending the thieves to a store down the road with looser policies.
For more information, contact us at Anti Shoplifting, or call 1.770.426.0547