How Does Your Leadership Style Impact Your Store?

Leadership. It varies from person to person and company to company. As a business owner how you lead your team impacts the overall health and prosperity of your store. Does your team work for you and follow direction out of a feeling of obligation or fear? Do your employees do what they are told to do because of a concern that failing to do so could result in the loss of their job? If this is the feeling of the store associates they may not be doing more than the minimum to get their jobs done. This affects customer service and how employees interact with patrons. Poor service results in poor sales and inefficiency in operations. Leadership is as important as customer service and I would argue the two go hand in hand. I cannot think of a customer service driven business where the delivery of customer service thrived when the managers were loud, bossy or came across as distant.  

     Personally I have attempted to incorporate in my own management style a mix of a couple leadership influences. One is advocated by John Maxwell. The first book of his I read was, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”. In his book he lays out what he describes as 21 principles that apply to leaders. There were a couple of his points that I made a conscious effort to apply (some were already an integral part of who I am) when I was leading my Loss Prevention team, my freight unload/ stocking team and as a Manager on Duty. Two of the characteristics Mr. Maxwell lists, “The Law of Solid Ground” and “The Law of Empowerment” are dimensions I believe can make a major shift in how a store team functions. The first idea is that people have to trust their leader. As a leader do you follow through on commitments to your team? Do you treat every person equally and fairly and do you provide honest feedback even when it may be difficult? The second is that strong leaders are not afraid to give power to others. As you empower your team to make decisions you build their trust in you and you are developing them into leaders. This means you train your team, set expectations and as they are learning, you correct and provide recognition to them.  

     Another leadership style I embrace is servant leadership. This manager is the leader who leads by the example he/she sets. It is also a manager who invests in the development of others. I have incorporated this in the course of my careers. Rather than ask a team member to clean up after a child has been sick in the store I have done it myself. As a freight team manager I frequently came in on a day off to help my team unload a truck and push freight. It is the willingness of the leader to be seen doing the unpleasant tasks alongside the rest of the team. A 70 foot trailer gets awfully hot and humid in the south during the summer. When your team sees you willing to get in that trailer first and rotate others out to avoid exhaustion they are willing to work harder to get the tasks done. Servant leadership does not mean supervision does not take place or that discipline is not occurring. It only means that the manager/supervisor attempts to be empathetic to situations where discipline may be required. These leaders do not allow themselves to be doormats but do look at individual circumstances when the situation warrants it. Think about how an employee is likely to respond to this manager as opposed to the heavy-handed supervisor who gives orders and barks directions.  

     Leadership styles directly influence the way a business operates and how employees function on the job. Yes, you can be the owner and expect workers to do what you tell them to do, but it won’t foster a happy workforce. A leader who cares about the staff helps in their development and empowers them to make decisions will get far better results than the other leader. As customer service improves, productivity improves and the atmosphere of the building is one where shoppers enjoy spending time. It also creates a customer-focused climate where sales associates are actively engaging clients and that leads to a reduction in theft. Happy employees are also less likely to steal and that can impact up to 30% of where shortage traditionally takes place. 

     Evaluate your leadership style. Are you leading the way YOU would want to be led and are there adjustments you can make that can enhance nearly every aspect of your business? Leadership determines how successful your store can be. 

Preventing Shoplifting In Your Store

A Target or Walmart store can and are able to fight shoplifting in their stores every day of the year.  The expense associated with shoplifting has for many years been known to be passed down to the consumer, and the increase in prices has been an expense that gradually has affected consumers around the globe.

In the United States retail shrink which includes shoplifting, employee theft, administrative errors and vendor fraud cost the US retailers close to $50 billion in 2016 alone. More than 36% of shrink was due to shoplifting, and 30% was due to employee theft.

Many local businesses across the United States have taken different approaches to prevent shoplifting.  From investing in Facial recognition software to shoplifting prevention training, many businesses have taken different approaches to the prevention of this crime.  But, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) even as the average inventory shrink rate has increased by close to 1.5% the budgets for loss prevention personnel has decreased or remained flat.

What are some of the steps local businesses have taken to prevent shoplifting?

Signage – A Spokane Washington local business has signage that lets you know from the time you enter their store that they have Video surveillance in use and they will prosecute you in case of shoplifting, and they also have a policy of taking your name when you enter their fitting rooms. If you shoplift, they already have your name.

Customer Service -has been proven to be one of the major loss prevention strategies businesses have adopted that can also benefit them in the long run. Be aware of the difference between offering great customer service and stalking a customer.

Training –  Trained personnel cannot only help you prevent shoplifting but can prevent incidents from getting out of hand.  Knowing the laws, regulation, and the process when a shoplifting incident occurs can save lives and prevent lawsuits.

Facial recognition software – If you are using facial recognition software in your stores, caution has to be taken into consideration.  Using facial recognition improperly can lead to too many problems and too few rewards.  Properly trained personnel are one important aspect of using this kind of security measure.

There is probably a fine line between great customer service and making your customer feel like a criminal.  Losing customers because your employees follow them and are constantly asking them if they need help or making them uncomfortable is not a good solution.  If you are also targeting people for no apparent reason, the probability that the bad experience will find an outlet that will carry bad publicity for your business is very likely.

Let us know if some of the above methods you are using seem to be working for you.

Theft And Fraud Can Bankrupt A Business; Contact Us For Training Seminars That Will Help You Reduce Shortage And Remain Profitable

 According to the Jack L. Hayes Annual Retail Theft Survey, released June 2016:

  • 1,170,056 shoplifters were apprehended in 2015 resulting in over $150 million recovered from apprehended shoplifters
  • 75,947 dishonest employees were apprehended in 2015 resulting in over $55 million in recoveries
  • One out of every 38 employees was apprehended for theft from their employers in 2015.

This survey was based on information from 25 large retail companies with 21,228 stores and over $700 billion in retail sales (2015). Combine this with information from the 2015 Global Retail Theft Barometer (GRTB) Report that placed shrinkage in North America at 1.27% or $36.79 billion dollars (pg. 50) and you have some scary statistical data if you are a small business owner. The 2015 GRTB also reported that shoplifting was the cause of 36% of retail shrink and dishonest employees were responsible for 45% of shortage (pg. 53). According to 37.5% of employees have stolen from their employer at least twice. The same website reports 33% of all business bankruptcies are the result of employee theft. THAT is a lot of theft! What is an employer supposed to do? If the 25 large companies surveyed by Jack L. Hayes are being impacted like this and they have access to Loss Prevention resources, how can a smaller retailer prevent this kind of theft? Is there a way for small to medium stores to address theft and fraud, reduce shrinkage and improve profitability?

     The answer to the question is yes, there is a way for small businesses to reduce shrinkage due to shoplifting and employee theft. Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. has training seminars available that will provide information on various forms of employee theft and the real impact they have on a business. The seminars don’t simply instruct on how the activity occurs but also on how it can be prevented. Additional seminars are available on shoplifting and the methods you can use to protect your merchandise and your profits. How do you detect shoplifters? Do they all act the same? Should you approach them and attempt to get your merchandise back? All of these questions will be answered by Bill Bregar, President of Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. 

     Bill’s extensive background in Law Enforcement and Loss Prevention gives him the expertise to ensure you and your staff receive solid training that can make an immediate impact on shortage reduction in your store(s). Bill’s career in investigations began when he served in the U.S. Army as a Military Policeman and in the U.S. Army Reserve as a Military Intelligence Officer. He worked for 2 years as a Police Officer for Central City Colorado. Bill has held positions of increasing responsibilities starting as a Security Manager for a grocery store chain, advancing to two different Regional Loss Prevention Manager positions, working as a Director of Loss Prevention for two different companies before becoming the President of Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. Bill’s professional competencies include being an “Expert Witness,” a Licensed Private Investigator in the State of Georgia and a Private Detective and Security Agency Training Instructor since 1998. Bill also holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology, Private Security Administration & Management from Metropolitan State College, Denver, Colorado. Finally, as someone who has conducted over 2300 employee theft investigations, Bill has the proven field experience that is a testimony to his ability to speak on issues of retail theft and fraud.

        If you want your business to be successful you have to ensure you are prepared to address all areas of shrinkage, especially those areas that impact you the most, employee theft and shoplifting. Ignoring these factors or trying to manage them without the proper knowledge and training is a recipe for disaster and you may find your store(s) in that 33% that declares bankruptcy due to employee theft. Contact Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. and schedule your training seminars with one of the premier experts in the industry today. 

Managing Retail Shrinkage – Atlanta Georgia

Retail shrinkage is like death and taxes – inevitable. If you spend all your time beating your head against the wall trying to lower your shrink in your shoe department to zero, you can be sure that there will be big screen TV’s from your electronics department marching freely out your front door. You’re not going to be able to stop it all; to even entertain that thought is folly. What you need to do is find an acceptable way to manage your retail shrinkage so that your business remains a profitable one.

First you have to realize where your retail shrinkage is coming from. These days it is measured that 70% of losses in the retail industry come from theft, either shoplifting or internal theft. Believe it or not, that’s the good news. The bad news is that number seems to be on the rise. It is believed that this increase is a result of the global economic crisis mixed with unstable energy costs which get passed on to consumers raising the prices of goods across the board. Higher prices + lower income = more theft.

Now, I’ve found that the best way to manage retail shrinkage is to learn to think like a shoplifter. Anticipate the merchandise that will be most attractive to them place a priority on the security of that merchandise. For instance, if you run a children’s clothing store there’s no point in wasting your efforts securing your Elmo merchandise when SpongeBob is the hottest thing out this year. When it comes to internal theft I suggest surveillance, surveillance, surveillance. In the words of Niccolo Machiavelli, “It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.” Let it be known that you are watching and that you will prosecute any violators to the fullest extent of the law. Practice this and you’ll find your retail shrinkage becoming more manageable each day.

For more information about retail loss contact us at Retail Shrinkage or call 1.770.426.0547 – Atlanta Georgia

Retail Shrinkage – Atlanta Georgia

 When it is your job to combat shoplifting and retail shrinkage you must stay forever vigilant. There are a number of people in this world that will use any opportunity to relieve you of your hard earned goods. Not long ago a friend and colleague of mine was working in a department store when one of the associates, a kind elderly lady, began complaining of severe pains throughout her body. Several of the managers, a few other associates and my friend went out to help. They made her comfortable and called 911. The paramedics arrived within minutes and quickly took the elderly woman to the nearest hospital.

 Upon returning to his office my friend noticed, via CCTV, a huge mess on the sales floor. He reviewed the footage and found that while he had been helping the elderly associate a group of shoppers (who apparently recognized him) figured that while he was on the floor that nobody was minding the store. They were correct. They grabbed handfuls of clothing and merchandise and simply walked out of one of the side exits. Everyone had been so preoccupied that they never noticed the group of thieves. Retail shrinkage isn’t always caused by premeditated acts, sometimes they are simply crimes of opportunity.

 That being said, I’ve heard of criminals who will work in groups. One will have an accident, or in some way cause a commotion, while the other robs the place blind. You can never be too careful. Even in times of stress or chaos it is important to always be mindful of the possibilities and construct a plan to combat retail shrinkage in any and all situations.

For more information contact us at Retail Shrinkage or call 1.770.426.0547 – Atlanta Georgia

Retail Loss Due To Vendor Fraud – Atlanta Georgia

Retail loss can come in many forms. Most of the time we attribute this loss to either external theft (shoplifting) or internal theft (employees stealing merchandise, taking cash from the registers, etc.) However, shrinkage is defined as a reduction or loss in inventory due to shoplifting, employee theft, paperwork errors and supplier fraud. It is often assumed that when we purchase a product or products from a vendor or supplier that they will send exactly what we asked for. After all, we’re providing them with business and paying them for it. This is a terrible assumption.

You must always be aware that there are some organizations that have some rather unscrupulous practices, and in nearly every organization there exist one or two unscrupulous employees. Therefore, it would behoove you to keep a close eye on your receiving processes and perform regular audits every time you receive a shipment to manage any retail loss. Why? I had a case a few years back where a store’s jewelry department was seeing some extreme inventory losses. Of course we explored the usual suspects but the department was locked down tighter than Fort Knox, making shoplifting virtually impossible. The young lady who ran the department did so with an unrivaled zeal that made the idea of employee theft quite unlikely.

So, we examined their receiving processes and found that on many different occasions, dating back nearly 2 years they had been shorted on shipments; just an item here or there at first but the shortages had progressed to an enormous level. We coordinated with the vendor and law enforcement and found that an employee in the vendor’s organization had nickel and dimed several stores out of nearly $200,000 worth of jewelry in the previous years. If any of those stores had done proper and continuous receiving audits they would have been able to stop this retail loss much sooner.

For more information about retail shrinkage contact us at Retail Loss or call 1.770.426.0547 – Atlanta Georgia

Risk Factors in Retail Shrinkage

Retail shrinkage is defined as a reduction or loss in inventory due to shoplifting, employee theft, paperwork errors and supplier fraud. Depending on where you’re located it is very important to gauge the risk factors in apprehending shoplifters. If you’re interested in seeing the dregs of the shoplifting community spend a little time in an establishment that sells alcohol. While most of us enjoy libations, or as my grandmother used to call it “Satan’s bath water”, recreationally there is a growing portion of our society who a tendency to overindulge. This overindulgence leads to bad decisions, a reduction in inhibitions and far too often plain old stupidity.

 I am often employed by a supermarket chain that boasts great sales in its liquor departments. However, on a near daily basis I see someone stagger in off of the street on a busy day – they’ve obviously already had 1 too many. They drift awkwardly down the aisles, select a bottle and slide it down their pants or up a coat sleeve and head for the door. Others simply run in, grab two handfuls off of the closest display and head, full speed, out into the parking lot. You can obviously see how this type of activity can increase the retail shrinkage in this establishment.

As a result we’ve stationed a uniformed security officer at the entrance to the liquor departments to prevent this type of brazen theft. This, however, still hasn’t completely stopped the already intoxicated from trying their luck and attempting to slip past the guard. Furthermore, an already impaired individual tends to have a “Superman complex” and is far more likely to become belligerent or altogether violent when you attempt to apprehend them. For this reason it is important to be extra cautious when working in this type of environment. Retail shrinkage will always be a battle in any retail environment but you must always take appropriate precautions and make intelligent decisions.

For more information about retail loss contact us: Retail Shrinkage or call 1.770.426.0547

Retail shrinkage and retail loss, the effects of owning inventory – Atlanta Georgia

Retail shrinkage and retail loss are one in the same. No matter which term you use, they equal the same… Bad News for the business owner or manager.
I’ve been part of many inventories over the years and have seen lots of ways retail shrinkage affects business. I have to say, the losses all seem to occur the same way at every company.

There can be a solution, but management must be willing to incorporate specific policies, procedures and create a proactive loss prevention environment. Retail shrinkage will ALWAYS happen but it can be controlled and kept to manageable levels. For this to occur, management MUST incorporate some sort of retail loss prevention program and make them accountable for a large portion of the inventory shrinkage. This will encourage the program to dig deep to the root causes of retail loss and build a solid plan or shrink reduction strategies.  

In most companies, Retail loss prevention is the department to turn to when you store is having inventory shrinkage or retail loss. As specialists, they will and should develop a program to help counter the retail loss a store may be experiencing. Focusing their efforts on employee theft investigation, shoplifter apprehension, operational accountability audits and front end controls, retail loss prevention offers many solutions. Now, for a retail loss prevention program to be successful, they must have and maintain a solid partnership with their operations business partners. This includes onsite managers, corporate level managers and business owners.

If a plan to counter retail shrinkage and retail loss is created, then a business can focus on what is most important… boosting profits. Keep your profits and seriously consider creating or incorporating a retail loss prevention program. After all, that’s why most businesses exist, to make a profit.

For more information visit us at retail shrinkage or call us at 1.770.426.0547

Retail Shrinkage in High Risk Areas – Atlanta

Retail shrinkage is defined as a reduction in inventory due to shoplifting, employee theft, paperwork errors and supplier fraud. These contributing factors increase exponentially when your place of business happens to be in a high risk area. What is a high risk area? Depending on where you live it may simply be a popular mall or busy part of town with enough foot traffic that a would-be shoplifter can easily blend in. More often it is a store located in a somewhat undesirable part of town; some place where the socio-economic status of the surrounding community lends itself to an increased crime rate.

Over time I have worked in a number of these types of places attempting to reduce the retail shrinkage in particular stores. As a result I’ve become acquainted with a number of drug addicts and boosters.

I consider these to be your 2 biggest problems in this type of area. Drug addicts steal either to maintain their high or to eat (any money they do make legitimately goes to drugs). They are often impaired at the time of the theft so they may or may not remember even being apprehended, arrested, etc. This is a problem because they may be back the very next day, unaware of what happened previously.

The real enemy of retail shrinkage is the booster. Unlike the drug addict they are fully aware of what they’re doing and normally consider it a business. Like any good businessman they make it a point to perfect their craft, know the industry, your limitations, etc. and exploit them in any way they can. In poorer neighborhoods boosters can regularly sell your merchandise for half of the price that you do. After all, they stole it so whatever they make is all profit to them. Your retail loss is their retail gain.

If you’re going to operate a business in a high risk area you need to make yourself aware of the causes of retail shrinkage in these areas. Do not let retail loss make your year of poor profits

For more information about retail loss contact us at Retail Shrinkage or call 1.770.426.0547 – Atlanta Georgia

The facts about retail loss – Atlanta Georgia

Retail loss comes in many forms. From the associates taking merchandise to distribution center mis-ships or mis-directs, losses occur. However, one form of retail loss that many companies seem to overlook is that of vendor fraud. Especially for those of you that sell food items. In my career, I have seen many instances where for years store management has disregarded the fact that vendors do contribute to losses in their stores, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

As an example, a general merchandise store I worked for always seemed to have an issue with the items they sold in the cooler section of the store. This includes a variety of sodas, soft drinks, beer and other beverages. Retail loss being huge in this particular store and this area contributing the most retail shrinkage , I looked at it closer.

The manager on duty, against the company’s policy, was simply blind receiving shipments of beer into their store. The vendor delivering the merchandise showed an invoice for 200 cases of beer, the manager would simply sign the invoice and send the vendor on his way. Talk about retail loss exposure. The next visit from this vendor, I did an audit. 25 cases of beer were missing from the shipment. I walked out with him to his truck, and literally found 25 cases sitting in the back of the delivery truck, almost as if he intentionally set the beer aside.

Deliveries in and out of your stores pose a huge potential from retail shrinkage . It is vital to the success of your business that you inspect every shipment of merchandise from vendors coming into your stores.

Later, after inspecting the cooler box, we found several empty beer cans contributing to retail shrinkage . We installed a covert camera, and within two weeks time, this same delivery guy was caught on camera guzzling a couple cans of beer after he stocked the shelves.

For more information about retail shrinkage visit us at retail loss or call 1.770.426.0547 – Atlanta Georgia