Monday, April 18, 2011

Augment Loss Prevention with Psychology

An ABC News report about the shoplifting of liquid gold underlines the importance of a multifaceted approach to loss prevention. Liquid gold? That’s the nickname given by law enforcement agencies to powdered baby formula. It’s stolen because the resale value is high, and it’s often used in diluting street drugs.
     Because of the extraordinarily high theft rate, there’s a move to make it a federal racketeering crime. Strict laws and law enforcement do help curb shoplifting and the related crime of employee theft. So do measures such as setting up mirrors to increase visibility, keeping high-value items in locked cabinets, and alternating the direction of hangers on clothing near doors.
     How about having uniformed guards patrolling the aisles of your store? You’re not doing that? No wonder! You’d irritate the devil out of your shoppers, and you’d add to payroll expenses.
     You can limit the expenses and intrusiveness by using what research says about the psychology of shoplifting:
  • Some shoplift for the thrill. Take special caution in stores and areas that generate excitement because of loud rhythmic music, bright colors, and/or fast movement. Recognize that merchandise classes associated with the forbidden are especially likely to be stolen: Tobacco products and underwear are among the most frequently stolen items. Products that are illegal to use are also targets of shoplifters.
  • Some shoplift because affection and attention are missing in their lives. So feel sorry for them and let them steal all they want. No, that won’t work. But there’s evidence that when you treat all customers with respect, concern, and empathy, people prone to shoplifting are less likely to steal from you, even when the opportunity is there.
  • Some shoplift to show off to friends. Doing it on a dare is most likely among teenagers, so without hassling the teens or prejudging, you’ll want to be alert when a group of teenagers enter the store together.
  • Look at shoppers and great them as they enter your store or department. In this way, they know you know they’re there. It’s said that Sam Walton introduced the idea of using elderly men and women as Walmart greeters because they’d be easily approachable by customers looking for assistance, but that Mr. Walton was most firmly convinced to keep the greeters because the losses from shoplifting dropped so dramatically. “Nobody would steal from their grandmother,” he’s been quoted as saying.
For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more:
Use Shopper Psychology to Curb Shoplifting
Eyeball Shoppers So They Behave Themselves

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