The rain was threatening and I was in a hurry. Grabbing the pen and ready to sign the receipt, I was stopped when the shop owner asked to see some identification. I dug in my wallet for my drivers license and waited while he examined it.
Well, I was for a moment, I admit. Then he smiled and said, “Thanks, we’ve gotten a couple of stolen cards in the past few months and we just decided to be more cautious. It protects both of us, you know.” Yes, I do know.
And in these times it is becoming more important that all of us, retailer and customer, be more cautious.
Retail theft, including shoplifting, employee theft, administrative error and vendor fraud, is up, according to the recent National Retail Security Survey annual survey*. The increase in retail theft breaks a previous six-year decline.
Employee theft is still the largest problem, although as a percentage it decreased slightly while shoplifting increased in 2008.
Take a step back from your busy schedule and survey your store for danger signals:
– Is your cash counter located so you can see most of the sales floor activity? Are there wrapping papers or receipts stored where you have to turn your back to retrieve them?
– Do you display small items close to the cash counter and in a central location?
– Does your staff engage a wandering customer in casual conversation and make certain they see what she is doing?
– Do you check for customer identification on checks and credit cards?
–Does your staff clearly understand your policy on theft? Do they know to call 911?
– Can staff members come and go from your store without your seeing them?
– Do you have a policy about employee packages?
– Do you and fellow retailers in the area have a system for alerting each other if a shoplifter is spotted? Protecting your store and your staff is a major responsibility as well as crucial to your bottom line. You must pay attention.
* Conducted by the University of Florida with a funding grant from ADT Security Services. The survey only reflects in-store retail crime and does not measure crimes such as cargo theft or merchandise stolen in transport.