Retail Loss Prevention: Is Treating Your Customers Like Thieves the Way?

The secret is out: The issue of retail loss prevention is a major concern in almost every retail store. It’s good to know that many retail stores are taking measures to curb theft and promote safety, but many retail stores can become overly cautious in this regard. In other words, this would mean treating customers like potential thieves and suspecting every single person. This level of experience may not be what customers or high-spending consumers are looking for when purchasing everyday items.

The Pain Points of Retailers

It’s no secret that the mass layoffs and unemployment rates are high in Canada, which is a leading cause of theft. According to the Retail Council of Canada, some members have noticed a 300% increase in theft after the Covid-19 pandemic. Industry data suggests that an average-sized food in Canada suffers annual losses of between $2,000 and $5,000 due to shoplifting. British Columbia’s situation has gotten even worse, and their shoplifting numbers have increased with the inflation. Emily Boston, a policy analyst for CFIB in BC, mentioned that “Almost half of BC businesses have been impacted by crime and safety, and another third of people are worried about it.” As a result, many businesses have installed various security measures, such as surveillance cameras, to prevent ongoing theft.

Stats and Evidence

A recent poll found that Canadians are divided over retailers’ anti-theft measures, and this debate has gained traction due to the current ongoing housing crisis. The financial strain on many individuals and theft is on the rise, which has led many retailers to re-evaluate their loss prevention strategies.

However, a recent poll by Leger revealed that 88% of Canadians are most supportive of retailers implementing security cameras. 85% are in favour of anti-theft alarms, and 78% of security guards. Interestingly, 32% of customers are not in support of retailers implementing limits to the number of customers allowed in the store. Only 17% of people were supportive of requiring customers to show ID to make a purchase.

On top of it, more than 45% of Canadians think retailers are implementing the right security measures to prevent theft, while 27% think they are not implementing enough. Only 10% think retailers are implementing too many security measures and eliminating self-checkout machines.

Pain Points of Buyers and Sellers

The key consideration here is whether the current practices, such as treating customers as potential thieves and sending them to different checkout points based on their purchases are truly effective. Such troubles can directly implicate innocent customers and add an extra layer of inconvenience.

Turns out, retailers need to have a retail loss prevention strategy to address these challenges without compromising on the customer experience and satisfaction.

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