You’re in business to make money. But do you have all of your bases covered? Preventing retail theft and limiting shrinkage should be a year-round focus, yet the holidays bring a new set of concerns. With higher store traffic, are you doing everything you can to protect your assets?
Holiday Shopping Trends
Retail shopping is on the rise. Based on their 2018 consumer survey, the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that the holiday season will see a 4.1 percent increase in spending over the previous year. On average, customers said that they would spend around 60 percent of their holiday shopping total on gifts, over 20 percent on items like decorations and greeting cards, and the final 15 percent on non-gift holiday deals and promos.
With these types of holiday shopping trends, what do retailers need to be watching? To start, it helps to be aware of the items shoplifters usually steal during this season. The list includes electronics, accessories, and children’s toys. But you also have to watch for smaller items too, like chocolate. Even the less expensive items can add up and hurt your bottom line. When you know where the “hot spots” are around your store, you can be better prepared to watch your merchandise and keep those losses low.
Retail Shrinkage Review
Shrinkage affects businesses of all sizes, across all industries. According to the 2018 National Retail Security Survey, responding retailers experienced a 1.33% loss on sales due to shrink costs. Fortunately, there are a handful of proven ways to reduce shrinkage. It just takes a little education to stay on top of your game.
1. Conduct proper training
Loss prevention needs to be a team effort, and that starts with employee training. Encourage your employees to greet customers as they come into the store and to check in with your patrons while they shop. A watchful eye can help stop certain individuals from pocketing merchandise. You should also remind your team members of some tell-tale signs of theft. Noticing that someone is lingering in a certain aisle or acting nervous might be good reasons to go over and say hello.
2. Verify store inventory
Working with a third-party service for your annual inventory count can help make you aware of specific items or areas of the store that need to be better protected. Scheduling regular inventory checks throughout the year will help you manage loss, too. When you train employees to conduct an inventory on small merchandise groups, you can catch mistakes sooner and make the necessary updates. And who knows—you might have more product on display than you thought!
3. Reconcile your registers
Along with the threat of shoplifting, you also need to be on guard for problems with internal theft. A quick review of the cash draw between shifts can help ensure that employees stay honest. You may also need to pay attention to more discreet signs of theft. If you have a register with a high number of “no sale” transactions or suspicious returns without receipts, it’s probably time to take a closer look at your employees.
4. Review store layout
If shrinkage seems to be happening frequently in certain sections of your store, you'll want to reconsider your layout. Making sure your cashiers can see customers throughout the store from the checkout counter is key. An open floorplan with your displays can help them maintain a clear line of sight. You can also reduce retail theft by keeping more expensive items near the front of store.
5. Update your EAS system
Electronic article surveillance (EAS) can be implemented for just about any product in your store. Whether you need tags for clothing items and delicate garments, or something to monitor your gift items and other merchandise, EAS systems can be a great line of defense against theft. The tags themselves can be covert to fit your regular product labels, and the antennas at the front of your store will be a great deterrent for shoplifters.
Ready to reduce shrinkage? We can help!
The sooner you get these practices in place, the better. Even if you’ve missed a few steps this season, it’s not too late to make a change. Consider revamping your process for the new year. Improve your employee training, adjust your inventory counts, and then give our team a call to review, update, or install your EAS system.
Stopping theft at the door and discouraging would-be shoplifters gets a whole lot easier when you have the right tagging in place. We can help. Enhanced Telecommunications is proud to offer a wide product portfolio to support your needs. Contact us today to schedule your consultation, and let our solutions help protect the profitability of your business!