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Protecting store assets

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1Protecting store assets  Empty Protecting store assets on Sun Dec 21, 2014 8:14 pm


Protecting store assets

In this post I want to discuss how retailers can protect their assets. Where I will discuss Big Box stores I want to basically talk to smaller stores who do not have huge budgets but still want to protect their assets. However these tips can be used by any retailer with same effects.

First a little about myself I am a Retail theft Professional (consultant) who has worked on and off in security and/or retail theft since late 1970's I have been an LPO (Loss Prevention Officer) as well as LPM/LPS (Loss Prevention Manager or Supervisor). I have worked privately with retailer and/or private citizens to reduce theft, find retail theft answers, work on internal thefts and much more. I was the primary person involved in taking down a HUGE threat Target had many years ago called “Target Sucks”. I have owned and ran Websites that dealt with Retail theft and still work privately for retailers or private persons on their Retail theft related issues. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

Ok lets talk about how you can protect your store. I have enhanced and/or created for retailers means and methods to reduce theft both internal and external as well as create and develop safety programs which also create “shrink” (buzz word for loses). How you can do this varies so I want to break it down into groups.

Big Budget stores:
A Big Budget store is your Big Box stores like WalMart, Target, JC Penney and more. They can afford some of the equipment. Personnel and, training to protect their assets. You can do too if you can afford or find cheaper versions of their means. These stores employ LPO's who monitor their stores both on and off sales floor. They are trained in how to use equipment (mentioned below) and how to spot and stop theft. They may or may not be able to make stops (arrests). I will discuss later on how you can use these people without a huge cost factor. These LPO's also normally use a CCTV or the like system to monitor store as well. While in a camera room they can survey entire store to watch for theft or other issues. There is likely more than one LPO per shift with one always in camera room and one or more on sales floor. They will be in contact with each other in some manner. Various stores have various polices so how they proceed or act on floor may vary. They may run audits while on floor or take a stealth approach. Due to the payroll, equipment costs and training this can get costly. However since retailers lose over 15 Billion to shoplifting alone its can be worth the cost. Where I like a retailer who can make stops or at least confront shoplifters it should not be the focus in my view. A shoplifting stop done right can take a couple hours to deal with. This means you lose watch over the store to some degree during this time period. Many Big Box retailer use a dollar value system before calling Police. Example if one steals under $40.00 worth of merchandise the retailer does not contact Police and just documents event and issues Civil Demand. All the aforementioned is how a typical Big Box retailer may deal with theft. There is more but this will suffice for now.

So how can store without a big budget protect their assets? Read on to find some inexpensive tips to deter theft and reduce shrink.

Customer service:
Customer service is your number means to reduce theft! The one thing all shoplifters have in common is they want privacy. Train your staff (all staff) to greet all customers as they enter store. Tell them to make eye contact as they greet them. Shoplifters don’t want staff looking at them! As your staff walks about store for whatever purpose tell them to greet and/or engage each customer they see. Even if heading on or off break. If your staff sees a person or persons acting oddly or they think they are up to no good then again 'customer service” them. Where this wont totally remove thereat it will greatly reduce it long as your staff does their job.

High visibility:
Your Loss Prevention staff (if you have one) needs to be seen! No one robs a liquor store if there is a cop inside! Stores like Ross and Best Buy have their Loss Prevention staff at door and have them wear shirts or vest that are clearly marked Loss prevention (or the like). They are out in open not hiding in corners or camera rooms. You want your staff and Loss Prevention team to have HIGH VISIBILITY. If would be shoplifters see these Loss Prevention Officers they are less likely to steal.

Reward system:
Have a reward system for the staff member (recommend monthly) who does the most to reduce shrink (in any form). This reward can be a small gift-card, day off with pay or whatever you like. If your staff knows they can be rewarded for reducing shrink then they are even more likely to act and not ignore issues they might not feel are their job. While on this topic a party or the like for entire store is good idea also if you remain “accident free” for a period of time. Safety (discussed later) is also part of any stores “shrink”.

Have your Loss Prevention team and management conduct audits during the day. These can be cash register audits, fitting room audits, quizzing staff on safety or shrink issues and/or policy etc. If the staff knows they will be audited or could be they are less likely to try to steal from you. When your Loss Prevention team is walking floor they should engage staff and audit or quiz them. They then report results to Manager on duty. If you have a fitting room you should have a fitting room policy that can be audited. This audit is also reported to manager on duty.

These are just some brief simple ways to reduce shrink in your store. Feel free to email me with any questions. You can also hire us.


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