How to Reduce Shrink in Retail

    Wondering how to reduce shrink in retail? How about 50 one-minute conversations a day that will directly affect your Shrink Results, change behaviors, and help you become more successful as a loss prevention professional?

    This idea may not be new, but it was to me. In fact, a former colleague introduced me to this practice. In my fifteen years of loss prevention experience, this was a concept I never considered, nor anything I’ve ever observed being practiced. It wasn’t until I tried it that I saw immediate results. The concept is extremely simple, and it applies to both single and multiple store LP professionals.

    Most store associates learn quickly the role LP plays in any organization. They have a basic understanding of what we do; they often see firsthand, or learn about the results of a successful investigation from their peers. They cheer when a shoplifter is escorted out of a store in handcuffs, and gossip about a dishonest co-worker that was caught, often wondering why LP didn’t catch them sooner. And, sometimes, they just don’t like LP at all, no matter what we do.

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    There seems to be a huge disconnect in many organizations between LP and associates. Some feel as if we are the “enemy.” Some feel we’re above them with what we do. Some are afraid to approach us, because they just cannot figure us out. And as LP professionals, often times we play into that stereotype, becoming authority figures, unapproachable, and sometimes disgruntled.

    But do the associates ever know why we do what we do? Do we, as LP professionals take time to talk to them and explain why we do what we do? I would say that most often, we do not. When we talk to associates, we direct or dictate policy … expecting changes in behavior. We seldom take the time to be human.
    We often don’t include them, and explain “why”.

    It’s an easy fix: 50 – 1

    Each day, regardless of your title, try your best to hit the sales floor. Try and talk to 50 associates for one minute at a time. Be personable. Be human. Talk to them about concerns they may have regarding LP. Explain reasons why LP is necessary in the store. Share quick stats and numbers relevant to their department. Ask their opinion and their help. Enlist their help in becoming part of the shrink solution. Speak about challenges relevant to their department, your organization.

    The hard part for you will be to keep it down to one minute. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in that one minute and it’s amazing what can happen when they see their LP person as being human.

    It works! You’ll see immediate results in associate behavior, improved relations in any location, and results in shrink reduction. I challenge you to try it, see how to reduce shrink in retail and leave me comments on how it worked for you.

    This article was originally published in 2013 and was updated November 10, 2015.

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