Shoplifting and employee theft account for a hefty $45 billion annually in the retail industry. Retailers continue to make investments in new technology to reduce this shrinkage.
It is a major issue for retailers, particularly those with slim margins. RFID labels, surveillance equipment, and facial recognition software have all been tried by retailers to keep a close eye on stock shrinkage.
Nevertheless, a loss prevention plan is your most logical option to restrain your retail store’s inventory shrinkage. It’s the best way to battle issues like shoplifting and employee theft adequately. Employee theft alone accounts for up to 34.5% of retail shrinkage.
What Is a Loss Prevention Plan, and How Do You Create One?
A strong loss prevention plan implies more than installing a couple of surveillance cameras on the roof. Your store needs a top-down, strategic spotlight on loss prevention if you want to reduce shoplifting and insider theft at your retail store.
The Harvard Business Review examined loss prevention strategies among some of the country’s top retailers and recognized several essential points of an effective loss prevention plan, including:
- Responsibility at the senior management level
- Loss counteraction installed at all levels
- Proof-based strategies
- Communication about shrinkage throughout the organization
- Qualified and responsible store workers
To summarize, effective loss prevention isn’t the duty of just one department. It is the responsibility and commitment of the entire organization. Retailers who are successful at diminishing shrinkage do so by adopting an excellent strategy and reinforcing it, beginning with the most senior officials and streaming down throughout the company.
What Is a Loss Prevention Officer?
A Loss Prevention Officer (LPO) is part of a security team working mainly with in-store retailers. In the case of a huge retail chain such as Walmart, they usually contract and train each loss prevention officer directly. Smaller retail stores typically contract this role to experienced security organizations.
Unlike other in-store security guards, loss prevention officers aren’t usually in uniform and do not roam the shop floor. Instead, LPOs work from a back office or surveillance room where they do surveillance work. The thought is that while keeping a close watch on store security, they can also go onto the shop floor and watch unnoticed when it is warranted.
You can hire a retail Loss Prevention Officer to help prevent stock loss for retail fronts and other stores. They help recognize and avert shoplifting activities, theft, damage from neglect, and other types of loss that can potentially drive a retail outlet or store out of business.
Here is a list of reasons you should hire an experienced Loss Prevention Officer:
If shoplifters and criminals can wreak havoc on large retail chains, imagine what they can do to smaller retail stores and shops. A professional Loss Prevention Officer can recognize potential crooks and shoplifters and stop crimes before they happen, leaving your products safe and available for law-abiding customers to purchase.
Sometimes crimes are well-planned and require more than just initial suspicion. To thwart further issues and apprehend criminals, investigative work might be necessary. A good Loss Prevention Officer will get to the core of the crime so that all culprits are identified, and no future violations can be carried out by the same person or team.
The work of Loss Prevention Officers is not limited to preventing theft. Careless workers and negligent customers can damage merchandise and property. This might cost as much or more than theft and might also negatively impact the store’s reputation. Smart surveillance with modern-day tools can enable the Loss Prevention Officer to mitigate any damage-causing situation.
Stop Insider Theft
Unfortunately, a significant portion of annual theft is carried out by store employees and company insiders. A Loss Prevention Officer understands what to search for so that the store’s valuable products and hard-earned cash aren’t taken by dishonest employees and their accomplices.
Better Inventory Management
Profit and loss in a retail store depend on excellent inventory management. After all, any retail store makes its profit by selling their products. By overseeing and tracking stock, and monitoring those who handle it, loss prevention officers can reduce or eliminate theft, damage, and loss, consequently increasing profits.
A Loss Prevention Officer who is good at their job knows that an alert group of employees in a store is a valuable asset. Since no one can be present in two places at once, an efficient Loss Prevention Officer will train the staff to be their eyes and ears, and to be familiar with theft recognition, counteraction tactics, and what and where to search if circumstances indicate damage or loss of inventory. The Loss Prevention Officer often acts as the store’s staff consultant and trainer for protecting the store against theft.
Every store faces problems, large and small. Sadly, for many retailers, theft is a big problem that threatens the health of the business. To keep their merchandise and money safe from damage and theft, stores hire a retail Loss Prevention Officer. Hiring a trained LPO will reduce theft and shrinkage and can spearhead a return to higher profits.