Shoplifting: Post 2011

The 2011 Global Theft Barometer predicted there would be a rise in shoplifting during the four weeks prior to Christmas, up 6% from 2010 and estimating a $1.84 billion in merchandise losses. The majority of merchandise loss is from theft; a store’s customers steal 36% and employees contribute to a surprising 44% of the stolen goods.

The growth of theft around the holiday season has a lot to do with the increase in customer traffic which makes it difficult for employees to keep track of who and what is coming and going. Another factor is that winter coats, bulky sweaters and customers carrying extra shopping bags create additional opportunities to hide stolen items.

What are some changes that can be made to reduce shrinkage in 2012?

A recent article from Convenience Store News hones in on the major difference that employee training can make, pointing out that, “Shoplifters are more apt to steal when an employee ignores them, appears unfriendly, or behaves as if the customer is an unwelcome guest.”

Managers who meet consistently with their employees to discuss issues which have a negative effect on business growth and why certain company policies are in place to avoid those can make all the difference when it comes to customer service and employee satisfaction (CSNews, 2012).

In 2011 there was an increase in multiple offender crimes, like flash robs, where a group of people organize, often using social media, to steal by overwhelming store security with large numbers of shoplifters crowding a store at once. Situations like flash robs call for a staff fully trained in customer service, communication and conflict resolution.

In these situations, security goals become aligned with business and marketing goals, with or without a security breach, efficient customer service and a highly trained staff makes for more sales, customer satisfaction and return business. Additionally, gaining top level support in a company for advocating for security incentives is much easier when the security program goals are based on the company’s goals as well – which is vital when considering investing in higher levels of security like surveillance and video intelligence.

Thinking outside of the box and creatively solving security issues is vital for loss prevention in the retail industry. What can be done better in 2012, how should retail staff be trained to insure both marketing and security goals are met?

3VR firmly believes in security solutions that are tailored to fit the customer’s needs. Multilayered security solutions are central to preventing crime and apprehending retail shrinkage. Even better, when security and business goals converge, the added value for the company can make all the difference in meeting financial and business growth goals in 2012.