By Moe Lastfogel
Director of Sales and Marketing for The Retail Observer
Yes, the Holiday Pirates have arrived, and they are giving consumers a bad name. These pirates come in all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and cultural beliefs. No, they don’t have eye patches and peg legs or a parrot on their shoulder — yet they are still Pirates. Who are they and how do you know when one is in your store? You don’t, and that’s the problem. In the old days of looting pirates, at least you knew when they were coming. They would sail into your harbor, row ashore and fire a few shots off to make you run, and plunder and pillage with very little chance of escape, but at least you knew it was coming. Today these pirates have refined their stealing ways, as they no longer make noise and let you know they’re coming, yet there is no doubt they are present, as the numbers don’t lie.
Loss prevention continues to meet challenges on all fronts, from highly skilled cybercriminal operations to solo shoplifters who nimbly pocket low-value items. Overall, risk is becoming more of a priority to retailers, and that cuts a broad swath: ecommerce, return fraud and internal hazards. All areas have seen increases in prioritization from retailers, particularly in organized retail crime, cybercrime and ecommerce fraud.
The 2020 National Retail Security Survey finds shrink at an all-time high, accounting for 1.62% of a retailer’s bottom line — costing the industry $61.7 billion. It cuts deeply across the industry too, with seven in 10 reporting a shrink rate that exceeds 1%.
Increasing boldness on the part of shoplifters due to current unemployment, bail reforms and criminal justice reforms, more attempted theft without fear of consequences, gift card scams, self-checkout, mobile checkout, the frequency of phone scams which is way up, including activation of gift cards.
The National Retail Security Survey is an annual poll of loss prevention executives that benchmarks retail shrinkage and operational information about how retailers are combating losses. The survey also showed that the Consumer Electronics and Home Improvement side of Retail were the least affected, but it’s still something to look at. Proper training and setting up a task group to look into how secure your operation is are two suggestions that will help you begin your loss prevention program. I'm sure you can see the monetary reasons for making this a priority conversation.
Happy Retailing, Mates-