With US retail enduring one of the worst economic landscapes witnessed in recent years, it’s easy to imagine that loss prevention and other standard store practices may fall by the wayside.
But in a time when retailers are being called on to innovate and adapt, theft prevention, accurate stock-taking and shrink mitigation have never been more critical to protecting retail’s bottom line.
Here are five reasons why loss prevention matters now more than ever…
Shoplifting may increase
With household income dropping, experts have indicated shoplifting may increase in the months ahead. Research shows that after both the GFC and September 11, retail experienced an increase in employee theft and shoplifting as desperate times resulted in increasingly desperate measures.
That makes now the time for retailers to brace for a rise in theft, ensuring their loss prevention strategies are ready to weather a possible storm.
Reducing out of stocks to accommodate online retail
The past few months have required retailers to innovate and adapt to changing consumer habits. One big area which has emerged a winner is online retail.
For bricks and mortar retailers embracing the e-commerce arena, loss prevention pays a crucial role in reducing out of stocks.
Accurate stock counting and loss mitigation work hand-in-hand with retail trends like Buy Online Pick Up Instore (BOPIS), ensuring retailers have sufficient stock available when the customer orders.
Improving the customer experience
Retail loss affects the customer in a host of different ways – from the out of stocks mentioned above to increased product costs.
It can also impact the customer experience in other ways, including the delivery of good customer service.
When your staff are busy protecting a store against loss and keeping a watchful eye out for shoplifters, they are being taken from the key role that offers real-world retail a distinct advantage over online stores – face-to-face customer service.
Theft prevention measures like EAS and lockable product displays allow store associates to continue catering to the customer without the distraction of remaining hyper-vigilant against shoplifting.
While staff engage with the consumer, they can rest assured the EAS system will be monitoring items and alerting them to potential thefts, while the displays will physically prevent thieves from taking goods.
At a time when consumers are increasingly anxious about entering the real-world environment, customer service and the customer experience are critical to drawing people into a store.
Safety is now front of mind for all consumers entering populated environments. This encompasses both their health in terms of hygiene measures and social distancing, and their physical safety in terms of how secure they generally feel within the retail environment.
Loss prevention tools play an important role in this perception of safety and security. Many strategies employed in loss prevention, like traffic counting, heat mapping and CCTV, can assist retailers to manage crowd numbers in-store, while theft prevention like EAS helps mitigate the risk of crime.
The bottom line is crucial
Retail has been one of the sectors hit hardest by this recent pandemic, with many stores seeing their profits fall away dramatically.
That means every dime counts now and will continue to matter in the months ahead. Importantly, the cost of shrink affects retailers far beyond just the $50 billion in lost sales.
It affects the customer experience in-store, the price of products, and ultimately a brand’s reputation. In a time of crisis, no retailer can afford that cost.