Theft is local retail businesses is expensive for retailers. But, this theft by shoppers if often not considered or acted-on by retailers until they understand the real cost of this theft by shoppers.
From what we see, theft by shoppers can cost retailers between 3% and 7% of sales revenue in value. We have seen this across a range of retail business types and in a range of retail situations.
This year, in 2021, we have seen some evidence of co-ordinated theft, groups working together to shop for products they can flip online and air local markets.
The key to reducing theft by shoppers is through a managed process, adopted by the business leaders and implemented by everyone working in the business.
Here are seven steps we suggest to cut the cost of shopper theft in your retail business. While there are other steps you could take, these seven are most valuable from our years of working with retailers.
- Use your POS software. Spot stock take. Understand the cost of theft. This is critical for once you understand the scope of theft by shoppers in your business you are more likely to act. In our experience the evidence is that items being stolen are not those you think are being stolen. Data is key here. hence our advice to use your POS software.
- Look at people as they enter. Eye contact is key. Ideally, say hello to them. The more they think you have seen them the better.
- Have a screen near the entrance / exit so people can see that you filming them with your security cameras. The more people think they will be caught they less likely they are to steal.
- Work on the shop floor. That is unpack and price new stock on the shop floor, and not in the back room. This puts you or your employees among shoppers and heightens the chance of detection of theft.
- Walk the floor. Every so often, do a circuit. Be present. Talk to people.
- During peak shopping periods, station someone outside the business looking. Ensure they are trained on appropriate action should they see misbehavior.
- Bring in a security guard on a casual basis during your most busy periods. A good starting point here is to hire someone to look at the business under-cover, to see what they see, that you are not seeing.
The more likely people are to be caught the less likely you are to experience shopper theft.
Tower Systems has many years of experience in helping independent small business retailers mitigate em ploy theft and shopper theft. We leverage this experience for our customers through excellent POS software, free training, group training workshops, data analysis and expert witness support for authorities in specific cases.