Employee Training Combats Back-To-School Shoplifting
By Erin Harris, associate editor
The back-to-school shopping season is among us, and parents and students are heading in your direction for deals on everything from backpacks to juice boxes to futons. The back-to-school/back-to-college shopping season is the second biggest consumer spending event of the year (winter holidays rank first). Undoubtedly, inventory levels are larger than normal, and your traffic has increased or will increase drastically in the next two weeks. As you stock your shelves to the rafters, remember that with increased inventory and traffic comes a need for additional antitheft and safety measures. Your LP efforts need to be stronger than usual to accommodate this busy shopping season.
July, August, and September are part of the “super shoplift season,” and it is due to back-to-school. Loss prevention experts always increase their vigilance during this time, primarily for shoplifters, but also for employee theft. If you’re unable to rely on video surveillance, EAS, or other LP technologies, rock solid employee training can be an effective deterrent to shoplifting. Some retailers train specific employees to identify shoplifters and to prevent any planned thefts by using simple and safe customer service and sales approaches (e.g. ensure adequate staffing, store managers should never leave the store unattended, be available to all customers, and ask suspicious customers if they need assistance so they know they are being watched). Industry averages state that 98% of shoplifters report that they will leave a store without stealing if the associates are vigilant and trained.
Take advantage of every opportunity you have to remind your staff to be aware that there will be shoplifters among the legitimate customers. Each time there is a storewide or departmental meeting, remind the employees of your policy toward shoplifters. If you don’t have a policy, develop one — now. Doing so educates your staff about who is (and who isn’t) authorized to approach shoplifters in the act, and what to do when a shoplifting event occurs.
Share some of your employee training best practices with us. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.