SHOPLIFTING 101

The detection, apprehension, and prevention of shoplifting is an important responsibility for many retail personnel. With the retail environment rapidly evolving due to e-commerce and globalization of the economy, the focus on shoplifting has increased with many retailers. Controlling expenses is important in retail operations.

One important expense is called “shrink”. Shrink is the difference between recorded and actual inventory. Retail shrink is generally caused by internal theft (employee theft), external theft (shoplifting) and administrative error (loss due to paperwork and human error). Internal theft and administrative error are addressed through training, auditing, and loss prevention personnel. Shoplifting is addressed through the training, policies, and procedures implemented by store personnel. Proper shoplifting policies and procedures should provide for the safety of customers, employees and shoplifters.

Many retailers focus their shoplifting training on deterrence instead of apprehension, especially retailers without loss prevention personnel. Deterrence measures focus on implementing customer service by identifying and interacting with suspicious shoppers. This is done by approaching the customers and engaging them in conversation that is directed towards proper customer service. An example would be a store employee approaching a customer and saying: “I noticed you were looking at the new shirts; we have some matching ties I’d like to show you”. Some retailers without loss prevention associates have policies and procedures that state only a manager or supervisor can stop and detain a person for shoplifting. Some other retailers may not allow the apprehension of shoplifters. Larger stores usually have loss prevention personnel.

Shoplifting laws allow retailers to stop and detain a person who has stolen merchandise. Properly stopping a patron for shoplifting requires:

  1. The employee must see the customer enter the area where the subject item is displayed.
  2. The employee must see the customer select the item.
  3. The employee must see the customer conceal, carry, push, or pull the item from its location.
  4. The employee must maintain constant and uninterrupted observation of the customer from the original location of the item to the point of detention.
  5. The employee must see that the customer failed to pay for the item.
  6. The employee must approach the shoplifter outside the store or after the last point of sale. This may be identified by a governmental entity.

Retail employees can use reasonable force in the apprehension of a shoplifter, and may pursue shoplifters. Some retailers specifically define when force can be used and may prohibit pursuits. The use of handcuffs should be addressed by the retailer and proper training of those employees who may use them. Some retailers alert other company stores with a description of the shoplifter and the product. This is because shoplifters often return the product for a cash refund or a gift card.

Retailers should have policies and procedures regarding the disposition of detained shoplifters. Retailers can notify the police, or recover the merchandise and release the shoplifter. Issuance of a trespass notice is sometimes part of the policies and procedures of the retailer. If the decision is made to notify the police, the police should be contacted within a reasonable period of time. The detention of a shoplifter should be for a reasonable length of time. Searching a shoplifter for weapons and recovering the stolen item(s) should be done in a reasonable manner. Notification of the police, detention of a shoplifter, and searching a shoplifter should be in compliance with the applicable governmental entity. A report should be done for all detentions regardless of the final disposition.

Civil demand statutes in many states allow stores to recover monetary damages in addition to either of the two aforementioned custodial outcomes. The retailer’s policies should identify when a civil demand is implemented.

By properly addressing shoplifting incidents, a retailer can effectively manage that portion of shrink that is caused by shoplifters and provide good customer service at the same time. Proper policies and procedures, and adequate training and management of personnel regarding those policies and procedures ensure a reasonable response to shoplifting incidents.

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Podcasts ……….. an interesting way to gain information

Recently I have been looking for new ways to drive new traffic to our website – http://www.lpsconsulting.org, along with our Facebook and Twitter pages, etc.  With that, I discovered podcasting …….. nothing new I realize, but it is to me.  I soon discovered that if you have a question on anything, more than likely there is a podcast somewhere that was published by a podcaster on that subject.

I then found Rachel Rofe – http://www.rachelrofe.com, who puts out some highly inventive podcasts with great information as well.  Her podcasts range in a broad spectrum of information, but tend to usually stay focused on business or motivational, self help subjects.

One of her latest podcasts proved to be so helpful, I wanted to take a moment to share it with you today – “55 ways to drive more traffic to your website”. Hopefully you will also find this beneficial as well.  I found several of the ideas listed to be very innovative.  A PDF copy of this can be found on her site – http://www.rachelrofe.com.  If you find insight and would like to share a favorite podcaster that you follow, please comment and let me know!

Thanks – have a great day!

Hello ………. Welcome to our blog

I believe that this will be the first official blog that actually posts to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Our website – http://www.lpsconsulting.org also has a “connect” button so that visitors can also access the blog content as well.

We hope that you find the information that is presented to be helpful, insightful and useful in your organization.  Please respond with comments or recommendations, we love to communicate with our followers.

The not so SKINNY on business today!

Today, businesses face many different factors that can cause them headaches. One such issue is losses due to employee theft and fraud.  Organizations that have employees, sell product / merchandise and have any sort of inventory face this reality everyday.  It is imperative that every business leader come to grips with these face to face, or suffer the consequences.

Here are some staggering facts that leaders need to know:

  • Businesses lose an estimated $600 billion each year in the U.S. due to theft.
  • It is estimated that these losses total $3.5 trillion worldwide each year.
  • 1/3 of all small business filing bankruptcy do so because of theft and fraud.
  • 80% of all employees will steal from an employer at least once in their life.
  • The average loss is $43k up to $106k, before that person is ever caught
  • Only 1 in 30 will ever GET caught!

Potential dishonest employees look for things where they work – lack of controls in the workplace, opportunity and rationalization of why they should steal from their employer.  This typically is the basis for when someone begins to take advantage in the workplace.  Get educated today!

Hello from Loss Prevention & Safety Consulting

Hello,  welcome to our blog.  Hopefully you will find the information helpful and insightful.  Business owners and leaders today need resources in order to keep them on the right path to organizational success.  This no doubt also includes a sound loss prevention program to detect and deter employees that may be taking advantage of their organization.

If at anytime you feel that you have advice or feedback, or would like to share a story in relation to your business – please do, we look forward to interacting with you!