How Stores Can Use Culture as a Loss Prevention Tool

Loss prevention is a huge part of retail. Regardless of size and the amount of shrink, controlling loss of products impacts retail as a whole.

This may be confusing to some outsiders, after all, some smaller stores don’t seem to have any dedicated loss prevention personnel. How can a store without loss prevention personnel possibly have solutions in place to deal with shrink?

The answer is simple; a great loss prevention program requires both physical loss prevention devices, culture among staff that both discourages employee theft and other employee related shrink issues, and encourages employees to keep an eye on suspicious shoppers and their actions.

Security personnel isn’t the only method by which shoplifters can be apprehended.

Loss Prevention Is Both Physical And Cultural

There are two primary aspects to loss prevention, and both are essential for successful implementation of loss prevention programs.

First, there is the physical element of loss prevention. This can include the following:

  • Security devices – alarms, magnetically-locked boxes, physical attachments, cases for valuable items, etc
  • Monitoring devices – CCTV, video monitoring, and other remote monitoring devices
  • Software that maintains accurate tracking of inventory and PoS systems that are accurate and communicate well with inventory tracking software

Then, there are cultural aspects to preventing loss, such as:

  • A sales team trained to monitor shoppers while providing excellent customer service
  • Cashiers and customer service representatives who understand and can apply basic loss prevention techniques and identify suspicious persons
  • A culture that diminishes the ability or desire for employee theft
  • Overall education of employees to be able to recognize, stop, and prevent shoplifters

Both of these elements are crucial to implementing a great loss prevention program. Without physical security devices, it can be impossible to stop every shoplifter, and without a corporate culture that is built around loss prevention, employees may fail to recognize the signs of theft whether by a coworker or by a shoplifter.

Of the two, physical security measures are easy to implement – and are already implemented in almost all retail stores of every size. So how do you encourage a culture that is focused on loss prevention?

Creating A Culture Focused On Loss Prevention

The single most critical element required to create a loss prevention culture is education. This can be through any number of sources. For example, electronic learning courses, basic training during the first several weeks an employee works at a store, and so on. Employees must be taught early that loss prevention is important to a company, and be encouraged to understand the basics of loss prevention techniques.

If a team of workers is trained on a day-to-day basis and encouraged to learn more about loss prevention techniques, the results can be spectacular. Great loss prevention personnel can teach other employees how loss prevention is related to every aspect of retail customer service, sales, merchandising, inventory, housekeeping, and other related roles.

In addition, once the loss prevention culture becomes commonplace among workers, it’s impossible to escape when a new hire comes on board, those who were once students will become the teachers, naturally integrating their knowledge about loss prevention into the hands-on training of new personnel, and further increasing a healthy loss prevention culture that’s based on managing and minimizing shrink.