Retail loss continues to be a major problem and plagues virtually every business from retail to the service industry, from the small “Mom and Pop” store to the large chain store. With the downturn in the economic conditions a substantial increase in retail theft has been reported in virtually every retail sector, with shoplifting leading the way. In Canada, it is estimated that over 3.5 billion dollars were lost to various criminal activities against retailers last year. In the United States that figure was more than 13 billion dollars. According to the RCMP and FBI shoplifting is the fastest growing property crime and shoplifting is considered one of the major sources of loss for the retail industry. In a growing number of cases retailers have been forced to close their doors because losses exceeded profits. But even if it has not reached that level in your establishment, retail shrinkage can cause considerable financial damage to your business.
It is estimated that a shoplifter will steal an average of 50 times before finally getting caught and in the year 2009 shoplifters stole an average of $270.00 per incident These figures are extremely disturbing for all retailers especially in today’s fragile economy.
Not only has Shoplifting increased but Credit Card Fraud, Check Fraud, Counterfeit Money and even Armed Robbery is taking a toll on retailer's bottom line jeopardizing both profits as well as safety.
Learn How to Reduce Retail Loss
in Less than 3 hours
Our team of retail loss experts developed a training program to give you the retailer and your staff an opportunity to effectively fight back, through awareness and education. This program will help you recognize and eliminate the vulnerabilities that can make your business an easy target. It covers all the major areas of retail loss, including Credit Card Fraud, Check Fraud, Counterfeit Money, Armed Robbery with a special emphasis on Shoplifting. The program was designed to be easy to understand and generally can be completed in only a few hours. Once the online training program is completed you and your staff will be better equipped to deal with these common forms of retail loss. You and your staff will gather valuable knowledge and skills to better prevent, detect and to immediately reduce retail loss.
During the designing phase of this loss prevention training program we not only worked closely with various law enforcement agencies, merchants, security companies, retail associations along with other retail loss experts. We also interviewed more than 300 shoplifters in an attempt to learn more about their secrets and techniques. This is the ultimate key that gives our program a distinct advantage. We discovered a great deal of information from the thieves and included this information into our program. Our goal is to provide you with an easy to follow, well balanced approach towards reducing consumer theft. Upon completion you will immediately begin the process of reducing hundreds, perhaps even thousands of dollars from walking out your door each month.
How to Best Deal with Retail Shrinkage
It is important for all retailers to take a proactive approach to dealing with retail crime and retailers should begin by re-evaluating their current Loss Prevention policies. Remember that times have drastically changed and shoplifters as well as other thieves are better equipped to "get away with" their crime of choice. Even establishments with the latest sophisticated security systems are experiencing more losses than ever before. It is now highly recommended that all staff members, (management, employees, and part-timers) be fully aware of the increase in retail loss and be trained in various retail loss prevention techniques. The latest research is suggesting that even basic training is having a positive effect on minimizing all forms of retail loss, especially shoplifting. Shoplift prevention is considered to be a very effective method perhaps even the best method of dealing with a growing problem (shoplifting has doubled since 2000) and a well trained staff should be considered an inexpensive investment in reducing theft. Many security experts now view Prevention as a preferred method of dealing with retailer crime over detection and apprehension because it is the most cost-effective manner to deal with this problem. It saves the retailer valuable time and money, it saves the consumer money, (Each Canadian pay's an estimated $250 each year because of crimes against merchants) and it saves the local police and the court system. Everyone except the thief wins when preventable strategies are properly utilized.
Retail losses can directly contribute to the financial failure of a company as well as jeopardize the safety of all staff members within an establishment. Retail shrinkage continues to be a major problem facing virtually every retail establishment yet many employers and employees have had little or no formal training in loss prevention. In fact in a recent survey it was discovered that retail employees often will not respond to a retail loss incident. Almost 50% of employees claim that they will “look the other way” because they are too uncomfortable to confront a thief. Many Shoplift Prevention Experts now agree the best defense in reducing loss due to consumer theft is a well trained staff. Many shoplifters also agree, when encountering an alert well trained staff, they tend to move on to an easier target.
Due to budgetary cuts local police and RCMP no longer have the manpower, or financial resources to effectively educate retailer and their employees in loss prevention. Often crimes against merchants are not viewed as a priority amongst law enforcement agencies and are more often viewed as an inconvenience and a nuisance. Since the economic downturn all forms of retail loss especially shoplifting and employee theft have drastically increased. Today's thief has more resources available to more successfully shoplift from virtually all retail outlets, even those with sophisticated security systems. This course will provide the necessary skills to enable all staff members to better prevent, detect and react to retail loss situations.
Employee Shoplift Reduction Training Reduces Internal Theft
A staff trained in shoplift prevention has been shown to help reduce employee theft as well as shoplifting. It gets employees involved in the overall process of theft reduction and some psychologists believe that this involvement gives the employee a sense of responsibility. Employees will tend to police themselves more effectively. It also sends a clear message to every employee that the retailer takes all forms of shrinkage very seriously and is proactive.
Training as Effective as Many Expensive Anti-theft Devices
A recent study by the Institute of Retail Loss suggests that a staff well trained in shoplifting prevention may be as effective in reducing theft as many expensive anti- theft devices. It appeared that the retail outlets where all staff members, managers, full time employees as well as part timers who received training, were able to reduce a significant rate of shrinkage. This is considered a significant reduction considering that many of the best anti-theft devices will only stop approximately 60 percent of shoplifting theft.
How Retail Loss has Changed in Recent Times
Although retail loss such as shoplifting is still committed by those referred to as "in desperate need" it now has taken the backseat to "Shoplifting for Profit'. Individuals as well as groups steal and perform acts of fraud for the sole purpose of making a profit at your expense. These thieves are more sophisticated than ever before and have learned how to be more successful in stealing often even without your knowledge.
In the past retailers could minimize theft with some good basic common sense know-how as well as perhaps with the aid of a security device. Now this is becoming more challenging as thieves are learning the latest techniques and are better equipped to outsmart even the latest Security systems. The Internet is proving to be a common instructional resource for thieves looking at sharpening their skills and reducing the chance of getting detected. This should make every retailer very concerned. This may be why approximately only 1 in 50 shoplifters get caught and more thieves get away with all forms of fraud. This all translates to a figure between 1 and 8 percent in annual losses. Money that is rarely recovered. Money that should be in the hands of the retailer and not the thief. Click here to estimate your losses in your business.
In the past stolen goods were either used for personal consumption or sold locally (eg. the flee markets). Now an entire new method of "fencing" stolen merchandise has opened up. Numerous Internet auction houses, which for the most part are poorly regulated, make it a simple process to make a profit from shoplifted goods. Another method of distributing shoplifted goods that has recently come to our attention is " Setup Shops". Retail outlets have been set up for the sole purpose of reselling stolen goods. In other words stores through out North America are popping up where the establishments entire inventory consists of stolen merchandise. Generally teams of thieves will travel to different towns and cities stealing items from various locations. This merchandise is then brought back to the home base city for resale. By the time authorities discover this scheme, the thieves simply shut the doors and move the operation to another location.
Although professional thieves can cost the retailer substantial losses, it should be noted that they make up the minority of retail thieves.
Why Retail Loss Prevention Training is Important:
- Training reduces profits from walking out your door
- Training improves the safety of both staff and customers
- Training reduces the risk of being sued. As more retailers are being sued for the improper handling of theft and fraud suspects
- Training has been shown to reduce other forms of theft (for example employee theft)
Prevention is the best and most cost effectivce way to deal with a crime that is continually growing. This video looks at the six benefits of Shoplifting Prevention Training
- Shoplifting is Canada's # 1 property crime.
- Shoplifting has doubled since 2000.
- 1 in 11 people is a shoplifter. *
- In 2009 shoplifters stole an average of $270.00 per incident
- Shoplifters are caught only 1 in 48 times. *
- Most non-professionals do not plan to steal in advance.
- Shoplifting is most active in the month of December.
- Sophisticated security systems alone do not stop all shoplifting
- A typical retail business will suffer losses of between 1% - 8 % of total gross sales.
due to retail shrinkage. This figure is up from 1/2% - 6 % just 2 years ago.
- The tax base is reduced and jobs are lost as a result of shoplifting.
- Adolescents account for nearly 50% of shoplifters, but they only steal one-third as much as adults.
- Credit Cards stolen from their cardholders or lost by them account for 23% of all card frauds. Often, cards are stolen from the workplace, gym, and unattended vehicles.
- 80% of business-to-business transactions are made by check; that number is expected to decrease only minimally in the coming years.
- In Canada the $20 bill is the most commonly counterfeit banknote passed, closely followed by the $100 bill.
- It is a criminal offence to knowingly use or possess a counterfeit bank note, punishable by a prison term of up to 14 years.
The act of reducing the amount of theft and shrinkage within your business.
"You work way too hard to have profits walking out your door"
Retail Loss Stats and Facts
Virtually every business experiences shrinkage due to theft and fraud but today the retail industry’s vulnerability to fraud and customer theft, especially shoplifting is unparalleled.