Why Not All EAS Systems Are Created Equal

As with a lot of other things, when it comes to surveillance equipment, not all systems are created equal.

In an age of the Cloud, the Internet of Things and Big Data, companies must take steps to systemize their operations in a measurable way. And that requires turning away from outdated technology and embracing new advancements.

Compared to other technologies, such as the aforementioned cloud computing, loss prevention technologies have made remarkably little progress in the past decades. Analog and electronic-based tools are still prevalent in most retailers across the country.

These archaic surveillance methods leave much to be desired. Their inherent lack of intelligence, analytics and integration makes it easy for theft to occur — from casual shoplifters to organized retail thieves.

Each of these aspects plays an important role in the imbalance of equality.

Electronic-Based Systems Lack Intelligence

Electronic-based EAS systems are ineffective because they rely on your employees’ motivation to test and monitor them to prevent theft. According to a study by Hayes and Blackwood, only 60% of EAS pedestals were able to read products with a soft tag inside — and even more shockingly — in 91% of stores visited, there was no form of acknowledgment by any person in the store when an alarm was activated!

When an alarm sounds, theft prevention depends entirely on whether someone chases down the customer and asks them to open their bags. If this doesn’t happen, people learn they can steal things from the store without repercussions.

Meanwhile, no data gets communicated or stored into your ERP. This leaves you lacking insight into potential weak areas. What if you knew that more thefts occur during peak hours in the middle of the week? You could increase your staff accordingly. Or which item was stolen, so you could replace the floor model in order not to lose more sales.

But you don’t.

Relying on an electronic-based system creates gaps where items get lost or stolen, and no one knows about the losses until the next inventory audit. It’s simply not an efficient way to run your business in today’s society.

You Cannot Measure, Analyze or Report On Anything With Electronic-Based Systems

Measuring, analyzing and reporting are critical factors to the success in today’s extremely competitive retail world. But electronic-based surveillance systems do not provide these capabilities.

You can’t get any insights into the performance and health of your security systems. You can’t see how your customer dwell times and peak shopping times play a part in your security strength.

Instead, you’re left guessing and hoping that your protocols and technology work.

And this inequality is another area that makes software-based solutions stand out. Modern surveillance systems are equipped with retail analytics that allow you to:

  • Monitor store locations remotely.
  • Access vital information 24/7 from the web or mobile device.
  • See real-time analytics, reporting and dashboards on loss prevention performance.
  • Benchmark and compare all stores within your organization.

This level of monitoring allows you to start focusing on what really matters.

Electronic-Based Systems Do Not Integrate With Other Systems

In the era of big data, it’s important that all your solutions communicate with one another. This helps to keep everything aligned, systemized and unified.

With software-based solutions, you get access to a complete suite of integration technology. Processes such as enterprise resource management, warehousing, point of sale systems, staff planning and customer relationship management can all work alongside your loss prevention solution. This opens the door of opportunity for a wealth of knowledge and insight.

On the other hand, electronic-based solutions cannot communicate and integrate with other technologies at all which keeps it isolated from other valuable information.

Having solutions interconnected helps them reinforce each other and gives you valuable insight. It’s a win-win situation that you just can’t achieve with electronic-based systems.

Are You Ready for Software-Based Solutions?

More and more retailers will turn to software-based systems in the coming years. It’s the only logical pathway along this journey of technological advancement.

If your company isn’t thinking about the future, it will get stuck in the past. And that will not only lead to an increase in shrinkage but will do immense damage to the entire infrastructure.

It’s time. Start making plans to pitch a loss prevention upgrade to the C-Suite at your company. They’re the biggest thing standing in the way of your vision.

50 Tweetable 2015 Loss Prevention Statistics

I love data! I like to measure, analyze and report on progress made, challenges mastered and new opportunities pursued. In the loss prevention and retail field, a lot of professionals share this love of data with me — for an excellent reason. It makes us more confident in the decisions we make; it makes us sound smart, and it allows us to provide tangible proof to an argument.

Because we love data so much, we put together a list of 50 statistics and data points that all center on loss prevention, shrinkage, and the retail industry.

To make sharing a lot easier, we also made them tweetable. To tweet a statistic, simply click on the Twitter icon and a new window will pop up — ready with the tweet — just click tweet and it will post the update to your Twitter account.

To keep this page handy, we recommend bookmarking it and feel free to refer to it in any blog posts you write. 

General Loss Prevention Statistics:

  • In 2014, American retailers lost $44 billion in potential sales due to shrinkage. (Source: NRF Retail StudyTweet: American retailers lost $44bn in sales due to shrinkage in 2014 #retail http://ctt.ec/2e0eQ+
  • #Shoplifting is #1 cause of shrinkage (37%) for US retailers in 2014. (Source: NRF Retail StudyTweet: #Shoplifting is #1 cause of shrinkage (37%) for US retailers in 2014. http://ctt.ec/4T5_k+
  • Employee theft contributed 34.5% to $44bn lost #retail sales in 2014. (Source: NRF Retail StudyTweet: Employee theft contributed 34.5% to $44bn lost #retail sales in 2014. http://ctt.ec/fx34I+
  • Admin errors (16.5%) and vendor fraud (6.8%) contribute to $44bn shrinkage problem. (Source: NRF Retail StudyTweet: Admin errors (16.5%), vendor fraud (6.8%) contribute to $44bn shrinkage http://ctt.ec/33R7z+
  • Retailers lost about 1.38% of retail sales to shrinkage. (Source: NRF Retail StudyTweet: Retailers lost about 1.38% of retail sales to shrinkage #lossprevention http://ctt.ec/Rpcr3+
  • Technology matters. Shrinkage % down in US for 1st time in 24 years. (Source: NRF Retail StudyTweet: Technology matters. Shrinkage % down in US for 1st time in 24 years. http://ctt.ec/ULwdd+
  • Shrinkage costs US shoppers about $300 per household every year! #lossprevention Tweet: Shrinkage costs US shoppers $300 per household every year! #lossprevention http://ctt.ec/85u6g+
  • 1 out of 11 Americans (approximately 27 million) shoplift. (Source: NASP)  Tweet: 1 out of 11 Americans (approx. 27 million people) shoplift. #retail http://ctt.ec/3eJ93+
  • More than 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the last five years. (Source: NASPTweet: +10mn. people have been caught #shoplifting in the last 5 years. http://ctt.ec/5foYc+

Data To Effectiveness Of Loss Prevention:

  • Only 60% of EAS pedestals were able to read products with a soft tag inside (Source: Hayes and Blackwood Study) Tweet: Study: Only 60% of #EAS pedestals read products with a soft tag inside. http://ctt.ec/9fx3J+
  • In 91% of stores visited, there was no form of acknowledgment by any person in the store when an alarm was activated. (Source: Hayes and Blackwood Study) Tweet: Study: In 91% of #retail stores, there was no reaction after EAS alarm! http://ctt.ec/05F2b+
  • Only 5% of staff responses to a #lossprevention alarm is “meaningful” e.g., checking the receipt or identifying the product that triggered the alarm. (Source: Hayes and Blackwood Study) Tweet: Only 5% of staff responses to a #lossprevention alarm is “meaningful” http://ctt.ec/SX4ba+

Loss Prevention Budget Statistics:

  • #Lossprevention budgets represented less than 1% of overall 2014 sales. (Source: NRF Retail StudyTweet: #Lossprevention budgets represented less than 1% of overall 2014 sales. http://ctt.ec/W1gJI+
  • 39.4% of retailers increased their #loss prevention budget for 2015 (Source: NRF Retail StudyTweet: 39.4% of retailers increased their #loss prevention budget for 2015 http://ctt.ec/4XYe1+
  • Over one third (36.6%) of US retailers keep #lossprevention budgets the same in 2015. (Source: NRF Retail StudyTweet: 36.6% of US retailers keep #lossprevention budgets the same in 2015. http://ctt.ec/H_fiW+
  • 23.9% of retailers in the US decreased #lossprevention resources.(Source: NRF Retail StudyTweet: 23.9% of retailers in the US decreased #lossprevention resources. http://ctt.ec/lfM9b+
  • Specialty apparel retailers spent an average of 0.63% of sales on loss prevention measures (Source: NRF Retail StudyTweet: Specialty apparel retailers spend 0.63% of sales on #lossprevention http://ctt.ec/tyUBd+
  • US grocery stores allocate only 0.36% of sales to reducing shrinkage. (Source: NRF Retail StudyTweet: US #grocery stores allocate only 0.36% of sales to reducing shrinkage. http://ctt.ec/mB6dx+

Employee Theft & Organization-Wide Measures To Prevent Shrinkage:

  • 75% of employees steal at least once. (Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce) Tweet: 75% of employees steal at least once. http://ctt.ec/7c9ME+ #retail #lossprevention
  • US retail employees are responsible for 39% of inventory losses. (Source: Global Theft Barometer) Tweet: US #retail employees are responsible for 39% of #inventory losses. http://ctt.ec/Hayf4+
  • Worldwide, the rate of employee theft of overall shrinkage is 28%. (Source: Global Theft Barometer) Tweet: Worldwide, the rate of employee theft of overall shrinkage is 28%. http://ctt.ec/XucR3+
  • 89% of retailers conduct criminal conviction checks pre-hiring. (Source: NRF Retail Study) Tweet: 89% of #retail stores conduct criminal conviction checks pre-hiring. http://ctt.ec/PG7a9+
  • 86% of retailers conduct multiple interviews before hiring a new worker. (Source: NRF Retail Study) Tweet: 86% of retailers conduct multiple interviews before hiring a new worker http://ctt.ec/7IcVs+
  • 73% verify employment history of potential employees before hiring. (Source: NRF Retail Study) Tweet: 73% of retailers verify employment history of potential employees. http://ctt.ec/RdvT3+

Industry Specific Loss Prevention Statistics:

  • Meat, next to alcohol, is one of the higher-priced items in any grocery store — Purloined Sirloin being the hottest item. Tweet: Meat remains the most attractive category for shrinkage. #retailhttp://blog.nedapretail-americas.com/2015-loss-prevention-statistics
  • Men’s and women’s specialty apparel stores and supermarkets are pre-employment screening leaders, with 92% checking criminal convictions and 83% verifying past employment. (Source: NRF Retail StudyTweet: Specialty apparel stores / supermarkets do most pre-hiring screening. http://ctt.ec/7bfcL+
  • Grocery stores and supermarkets reported 100% criminal background checks (Source: NRF Retail StudyTweet: Grocery stores, supermarkets reported 100% criminal background checks http://ctt.ec/NV68e+
  • 83% of retail stores test for drugs prior to employment. (Source: NRF Retail StudyTweet: 83% of grocery stores test for drugs prior to employment.  #retail http://ctt.ec/mgDyU+

General Retail Statistics

  • 98.6% of all retail businesses have less than 50 employees. (Source: NRF Retail Impact Study)  Tweet: 98.6% of all #retail businesses have less than 50 employees. http://ctt.ec/oFdZK+
  • Nearly all purchases (90%) happen in a physical store. (Source: A.T. Kearney) Tweet: Nearly all purchases (90%) happen in a physical store. #retail http://ctt.ec/hn15C+
  • 28% of shoppers enjoy seeing what other customers have purchased. (Source: UPS Report) Tweet: 28% of shoppers enjoy seeing what other customers have purchased. http://ctt.ec/TZobG+
  • 30% of buyers appreciate seeing on-screen recommendations based on their listed preferences.  (Source: UPS Report) Tweet: 30% of buyers want on-screen recommendations based on preferences. http://ctt.ec/Eb06s+

Age & Gender Differences In Shoplifting:

  • Men and women shoplift about equally as often – but for different reasons. (Source: NASP)  Tweet: Men and women shoplift equally as often - but for different reasons. http://ctt.ec/fIEx2+
  • Approximately 25% of shoplifters are kids, 75% are adults. (Source: NASPTweet: Approximately 25% of shoplifters are kids, 75% are adults. http://ctt.ec/NUKC3+
  • 55% of adult shoplifters say they started shoplifting in their teens. (Source: NASPTweet: 55% of adult shoplifters say they started #shoplifting in their teens. http://ctt.ec/_EKB8+
  • Many shoplifters buy and steal merchandise in the same visit. (Source: NASPTweet: Many shoplifters buy and steal merchandise in the same visit. #retail http://ctt.ec/b92xy+
  • Shoplifters commonly steal from $2 to $200 per incident depending upon the type of store and item(s) chosen. (Source: NASPTweet: Shoplifters commonly steal from $2 to $200 per incident. #shoplifting http://ctt.ec/m0777+
  • Shoplifting is often not a premeditated crime. 73% of adult and 72% of juvenile shoplifters don’t plan to steal in advance. (Source: NASPTweet: Almost 3/4 of shoplifters don’t plan to steal in advance. #shoplifting http://ctt.ec/56LfY+
  • 89% of kids say they know other kids who shoplift. 66% say they hang out with those kids. (Source: NASPTweet: 89% of kids say they know other kids who shoplift. http://ctt.ec/5Q3zB+

Organized Retail Crime:

  • 3% of shoplifters are “professionals” who steal solely for resale or profit as a business. (Source: NASPTweet: 3% of shoplifters are “professionals” stealing for resale or profit. http://ctt.ec/EfbZ4+
  • “Professional” shoplifters are responsible for 10% of the total dollar losses. (Source: NASPTweet: “Professional” shoplifters are responsible for 10% of the total dollar losses. http://ctt.ec/Udrs1+
  • The vast majority of shoplifters are “non-professionals” who steal, not out of criminal intent, financial need or greed but as a response to social and personal pressures in their life. (Source: NASPTweet: Most shoplifters steal as a response to social or personal pressures. http://ctt.ec/8vlUy+
  • Shoplifters say they are caught an average of only once in every 48 times they steal. (Source: NASPTweet: Shoplifters say they are caught only once in every 48 times they steal. http://ctt.ec/sf5LA+
  • They are turned over to the police 50% of the time. (Source: NASPTweet: Shoplifters are turned over to the police 50% of the time. #retail http://ctt.ec/8J77_+

The Hard-To-Break Habit Of Shoplifting

  • 57% of adults say it is hard for them to stop shoplifting. (Source: NASP)  Tweet: 57% of adults say it is hard for them to stop #shoplifting http://ctt.ec/rD6Lq+
  • 33% of juveniles cannot stop #shoplifting after getting caught. (Source: NASPTweet: 33% of juveniles cannot stop #shoplifting after getting caught. #retail http://ctt.ec/_B02z+
  • Most non-professional shoplifters don’t commit other types of crimes. (Source: NASPTweet: Most non-professional shoplifters don’t commit other types of crimes. http://ctt.ec/fTLIu+
  • Habitual shoplifters steal an average of 1.6 times per week. (Source: NASPTweet: Habitual shoplifters steal an average of 1.6 times per week. #retail http://ctt.ec/culCY+
  • Many shoplifters steal for the incredible “rush” or “high” feeling of “getting away with it”. (Source: NASPTweet: Many shoplifters steal for the rush / feeling of getting away with it. http://ctt.ec/UbS6v+
  • Drug addicts, who have become addicted to shoplifting, describe shoplifting as equally addicting as drugs. (Source: NASPTweet: Drug addicts describe #shoplifting as equally addicting as drugs. http://ctt.ec/223Gt+

Have you come across a loss prevention or retail statistics you would like to add? Please share them with us in the comment section bel

Shoplifting: Why and How Men And Women Steal Differently

Shoplifting is a problem for retailers across the board, whether they sell high-priced luxury items or deeply discounted merchandise.

However, in contrast to organized retail crime, people do not generally consider themselves as criminals if they taste a few grapes in the supermarket, pocket a small item while paying for others, or take food they can’t afford to buy. In other words, usually honest people simply don’t think it’s a big deal to shortchange the cashier upon checking out. But it is.

Even small offenses have a big impact. Stealing increases the prices for paying customers in order to cover the losses, takes money that could be spent on higher wages for employees, and creates an atmosphere of mistrust between customers and shop employees.

The means and methods of stealing are as varied as the number of thieves, but a few generalities apply.

An interesting aspect to consider when implementing your loss prevention program is the differences between male and female shoplifters.

Men Steal To Provide For Their Family

Male shoplifters are driven by age-old stereotypes that say they must provide for the family. Embarrassed about not being able to afford something, they simply take it. When caught, they justify the theft by saying they do whatever it takes to provide, that their family needs to eat, or that their wife and children spent the money they worked so hard for. It’s notable that when men steal, they nearly always explain that their family — rather than they — needed something.

How Men Usually Steal

Men tend to either hide an item under their coat or simply walk out the door with it as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Pride allows them to justify their actions: they think that because the staff didn’t stop them, they aren’t really stealing.

Women Steal To Provide Comfort

Women, however, steal to provide for their family at a level beyond their means. In other words, they shoplift to provide comfort that would otherwise be unaffordable.

They tend to shoplift as a way of saving money. They might switch price labels or use tricks to get discounts in order to ‘treat’ their husband and children to items otherwise outside their budget. Women justify stealing personal items such as cosmetics by saying they don’t spend money on themselves but only on their family.

How women usually steal

Typically, women aren’t as bold as men in their methods. They are more likely to resort to tricking rather than outright shoplifting and justify the theft by not outright stealing, but by paying a reduced price. When shopping, they may hide a few items in their purse (e.g. a fancy cut of meat) and continue through the check-out to pay for the bulk of their purchase.

Conclusion

The issue with a little five-finger discount is that women and men alike feel it is no big deal to steal. Retailers need to continue to educate the public of the consequences of shoplifting, as well as invest in modern loss prevention systems to deter thieves before they can strike.

However, knowing the motives behind the shoplifting can help drive these educational programs and helps your loss prevention staff to tackle each offender in a more educated and rather proactive manner. In addition, it will help to know what suspicious behaviors to look out for in the future.

EAS Advertising Panels: Small Cost, High Return On Investment

There is a lot of debate and fear around whether or not customers would be scared off by visible security pedestals on shop entrance and exit areas.

For most shoppers, this is not even a concern. They are either indifferent or in favor of it because it makes them feel safer. Only some feel discomfort or embarrassment when, for example, the alarm goes if someone walks through.

Whatever the case might be, there is one way other than using concealed systems, to make everyone happy: advertising panels.

Advertising panels are thin, but sturdy plastic covers that clip into your electronic article surveillance (EAS) system. It is important to be sure you are using panels made for your EAS system; otherwise you might block the sensors or visitor counting!

These panels can be utilized in a variety of ways:

Promote Your Own In-Store Marketing Campaigns. Of course, the most obvious is to support your internal marketing campaigns. If you are a large retailer, that is currently running a back to school sale, make sure you tell your customers about it!

Generate Extra Revenue By Running External Promotions. You can even generate some additional revenue by letting vendors whose products you sell in your store advertise on the advertising panels. They will love the exposure in your high traffic exit and entrance areas!

Attract passerby Into Your Stores. Speaking of high-traffic areas: Advertising panels carrying enticing promotions will attract passing shoppers to enter your store and have a look around! This is an excellent way to get new visitors into your store or shoppers who did not intend to come by today.

Change in Ad Panel Makes Your EAS System Seem Newer Too. As much as an advertising panel makes passersby come into your store, it also gets the attention of potential shoplifters. The seemingly new pedestals become a visible deterrent and have a possible effect on your decrease of shrinkage.

Protecting Your Equipment. Of course, every retailer is concerned about the safety of its shoppers and employees. Advertising panels will help you prevent your littlest shoppers from climbing on the gates and potentially hurting themselves.

Blend Your EAS System Into Your Store Decor. Last, but not least, your advertising panels don’t even have to have any promotional content on them. You can also use them as a design element and integrate your security gates into your store design.

Conclusion

The bottom line is: Advertising panels can provide you with a high return on investment at a small cost; helping you to promote your products and store, protect your equipment and much more.

Employee Theft Starts With Your Company Culture

In my last year of university, I started to work for a large prestigious company as a full-time intern. I studied at night and wrote my diploma thesis on the weekends. I was very happy and grateful to be working for this company — not only because it promised to be an incredible full-time job after I graduated but also because they provided food and drinks for their employees. Any employee who took food was supposed to pay into the tin can standing on the counter.

Happy to have a quiet place to work where I had access to food without fuss, I armed myself with sufficient small bills and change. I always wondered why there was so little money in the tin, but I figured a maintenance person came around to collect it.

Weeks into my routine, there was a company-wide announcement that shocked many of us. Apparently, employees weren’t just not putting money into the tin; they were stealing it. Some employees even scooped out coffee from the coffee machines to bring home. Thousands of spoons, coffee cups, and other office supply material was taken every single year. While many of us could not even imagine such a thing, others justified it with: “It’s just a cup — I work so hard — and it is not like it is going to make a difference with a company this size!”

Well, it does. In fact, employee theft costs retailers in the US alone more than $15 billion every year.

How Company Culture Influences Employee Behavior

As my story above shows, employee theft starts with the company culture. While it was incredible that we had such great benefits, the culture was that employees are entitled to it just as they are entitled to their salary if they show up to work.

However, there is more to that. Employees must believe that they will be caught, and there will be consequences. If the culture is one where things get quickly swept under the carpet, and strong office politics are dictating how each person fits into the business structure, you will have a harder time dealing with or preventing employee theft. On the contrary, if your employment culture is one of mutual respect and open doors where employees feel safe to go to their manager or the HR department and report a co-worker’s criminal behavior, chances are, potential offenders will think twice about it.

Employee Code Of Conduct

The company created an “Employee Code of Conduct” that outlined clear guidelines and benchmarks for employee behavior. All existing employees from the marketing intern to the janitor had to read and sign it, and it was made an integral part of the onboarding process for new hires.

Janette Levey Frisch, an employment / HR attorney – also known as the Employer’s Legal Wellness Professional at The EmpLAWyerologist Firm – says:

“Employers who are serious about minimizing employee theft should have clear policies in their Employee Handbooks in which they state that employees found, after proper investigation, to have stolen from the company, will be subject to discipline up to and including termination. Employers should also implement policies regarding internal investigations and then conduct proper, thorough investigations when there is a suspicion or allegation of employee theft. At the conclusion of an investigation, employers should document their findings, their decision, and the reasons. Managers and anyone conducting the investigation should be trained on all policies and procedures and on how to conduct the investigation. While these steps are not a 100% guarantee against an employee lawsuit, they will go a long way toward minimizing an employee’s ability to successfully sue based on false accusations.”

What You Can Do

While a code of conduct will not actively prevent employee theft, it sets the tone. Now it is on you to follow through. Don’t be afraid to put certain steps in place to minimize the fraudulent behavior of dishonest workers. These steps can be:

  • Access Control. Require your employees to wear security access cards that can be set to a particular role and you can grant, manage and remove access rights remotely as needed.
  • Be conscious of odd behaviors. Require your employees to take vacation and be suspicious of workers who are overly protective or exclusive of their workspace.
  • Get financials in order. Reconcile your financial statements on a regular basis to become aware of anything out of the ordinary.
  • Set the right management tone. Management is like parenting. You must be respectful, listen with an open ear, offer help, where help is needed and be consistent — otherwise you not be taken seriously. Have one-on-one time to review your employees progress and get a feeling for what is going on in his or her life.
  • Create an internal control system. Having employees you can trust is great, but you still need to be able to check them. Are your employees staying unauthorized after hours? Make sure, you know about it.

What Steps Do You Take To Prevent Employee Theft?

Have you implemented special steps or created a company policy in your business that have worked in the past? Are there any other steps that you take to discourage unlawful and dishonest behavior? Please share with us in the comment section.

5 “Soft Skills” You Must Have As A Successful Loss Prevention Manager

What is the most important skillset a loss prevention professional has to bring to the table? Outstanding verbal and negotiation skills? Excellent investigative talent? A strong interest in justice? Or is it the ability to follow a roadmap?

Measuring Loss Prevention Performance

Before we look at which skills are needed, let’s have a quick look at how most retailers measure the performance of their loss prevention professionals.

Most of the time, they are evaluated by how many cases they have uncovered and investigated, have many security audits they performed, and the actual shrinkage numbers. These goals lend themselves naturally to evaluations because you can formulate them into a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely manner.

The Big Drawback

But they have one huge drawback!

They do not consider the soft skills that any highly successful loss prevention manager should have. These soft skills are incredibly important to establish initiatives and policies as well as an effective company culture that helps proactively prevent shrinkage — instead of continually paying “Gotcha!”

By measuring how many shoplifters someone caught last month or how many dishonest employees they have found out, retailers are actually doing themselves a disfavor by in fact discounting these important skill sets that would prevent losses more effectively long term then the wait and see approach.

So, without further ado, here are the top five soft skills that you should be looking out for:

1) Excellent Leadership Skills

As a loss prevention manager, you wear a lot of hats. You have to teach store employees; you coach executives, and you raise awareness within your organization. But first and foremost, a successful loss prevention manager is a role that requires exceptional leadership skills, such as decisiveness, consistency, and selfless service to others. And of course, you must command respect and authority and be passionate about what you do.

2) Relationship Building

According to Hoda Ilyavi, the executive director of Field Services at LP Innovations, the ability to build trusting relationships is the number one most important skill for loss prevention specialists: “Whether you are working for an outsource service provider or an internal team, your success relies on your ability to work in tandem with your retail partners. Yes, our work requires us to handle negative situations.  However, our success comes from our ability to identify opportunities to teach, educate and be a resource to assist in success.”

3) Dedication To Excellence

Mediocre efforts will reap average results. So, as the loss prevention manager it is up to you how you approach shrinkage. Will you dress security guards in standout uniforms and place them in prominent locations all over your stores to act as a deterrent but otherwise have a hands-off policy? Or do you have a long-term loss prevention roadmap that lays out corporate-wide awareness programs, invests in the latest technology, and deploys a holistic approach including vendors and employees?

To excel in your job, an aspiration to excellence and a constant commitment to learning and improvement is imperative as a loss prevention manager.

4) Passion

As a successful loss prevention manager, you live and breathe shrinkage. You talk about it all the time and let no opportunity go by that could be used to raise awareness or educate someone. It is much easier to get others excited about your cause if you are truly passionate about it.

5) Analytics & Data-Driven Mindset

It is safe to say that the more you know, the more you can sell — so decisions need to be based on accurate data. But to know as much as possible, you need good quality data that then can be turned into insights that you can leverage to hone your loss prevention efforts.

When trying to prevent shrinkage things are hardly ever as simple as they seem. Without finding the exact cause of an alarm or a breach, you will be tapping in the dark to eliminate the threat. Often it is hard to reconcile item-level store shipment, back-room, on-shelf and sales data correctly.

“The skill set needed to distil all the data and analytics retailers now have at their fingertips is in hot demand and short supply. Our industry needs to find ways to attract software engineers and data analysts. It’s tough because most of the graduates who come out of school with these degrees don’t think retail first — and they certainly are not thinking LP. Still, the explosion of big data creates so many opportunities for individuals with that skill set.” said Pedro Ramos, vice president sales of Agilence in an NRF interview.

Therefore, any successful loss prevention manager will make real-time analytics and actionable insights his foundation for any decisions going forward.

What Skills Do You Think Loss Prevention Managers Should Have?

We would love to hear it from you — please sound off in the comments below.