“Back to School” means big business for any retailer from electronics to office supplies as well as shoes, backpacks and apparel. The average family with school-aged children is planning to spend $684.79 on electronics, apparel and other school needs this year, according to NRF’s Back-to-School Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. For families with college kids, this number is even higher.
So, inventory is high, the crowds are large and the opportunity for thieves even bigger. Some even call the months of July, August, and September the “super shoplift season.”
With school starting anywhere from the middle of August to mid-September, businesses are busy running special sales. While last year most back-to-school shoppers took more time to prepare, the survey indicates that this year 37% of the back-to-college shoppers are planning to procrastinate until 3-4 weeks before school start this year. Families with school-age children are waiting even longer to buy supplies. This means more customers in the store at the same time.
However, whenever there are significant sales and many customers, there are also many opportunities for shoplifting and employee theft. Here are some actionable tips how you can prepare your business from a loss prevention standpoint:
Seize Every Opportunity To Remind Employees Of Your Shoplifting Policies
Schedule store-wide or departmental meetings before the rush begins to remind every single employee of your policy towards shoplifting. If you don’t have a policy regulating how each member of your organization should conduct themselves when facing a shoplifting or fraud situation, you should develop one as quickly as possible.
It should outline who is authorized to approach suspected thieves, what the protocol is for your security guards, and how you will deal with employee theft and sweethearting. If you have an EAS systems in place that does not automatically monitor its status, include a daily testing protocol as well.
Consider Increasing Your Tagging Levels
Most retailers that are using RF-based EAS solutions have a low tagging level of 20-40% of their high-value and most likely-to-be-stolen merchandise. However, by increasing the number of products that have a security label on them will help deter thieves as well as make your store overall more safe.
Getting Back On Track After Summer Vacations
Summer is vacation time and for many that means planning trips with their families, visiting friends or just getting out of the daily grind and onto some warm sandy beaches. But this also means, that the week before and after the vacation, employees are distracted with their preparations or having a hard time finding their rhythm again. And, while this is natural, it helps to be aware of it and plan around it. The Loss Prevention Foundation suggests having a simple, direct and goal-oriented summer plan in place.
Use Back-To-School As A Test Phase For The Holiday Season
Once the “Back To School” event is behind you, you will be gearing up for the busy holiday season! You can use this smaller-scale craziness as a test-run for your upcoming months. Keep a log of activities and their successes and outcomes and analyze what measures bore fruit and which need improvements. This way you are better prepared once November hits.
What Is Your Back-To-School Strategy?
Have you found a way to fight shoplifting in this busy time that was particularly successful? Or maybe you have tried something that did not go as planned? Please share with us and your peers below – we would love to continue the discussion.