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When organized retail crime rises, store-level awareness needs to, too

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Mom isn’t the only one making a shopping list these days. And any of those extreme couponers armed with a pair of scissors, a load of circulars and coupon clippings, and a shopping list of their own, well, they’re not the problem, either. The problem is the leaders of organized retail crime units who are making those shopping lists, walking into a store, hitting a display case and walking right back out — all before the manager has a chance to say, "Um, excuse me sir? Can I help you?"

(THE NEWS: Survey: Organized retail crime, individual shoplifting both on the rise. For the full story, click here.)

The appeal of organized retail crime is simple: it’s a low risk (as in not getting caught) with a decent return on investment (it’s 100% "profit"). And it’s easier-than-ever-before to unload those stolen goods with the number of online sales sites (i.e., e-Bay and Craigslist) and local flea markets. And for the average consumers these days, a bargain is a bargain. In today’s economy, what consumer is wondering if that great deal they just negotiated came courtesy of something falling off of a truck?

So the question is what to do about it? "Retailers are really working a number of different ways to combat the problem, Joe LaRocca, senior asset protection advisor for the National Retail Federation, told the hosts of CNBC’s Squawk on the Street earlier this summer. "Starting with store training, employees, really an organizational approach, working with law enforcement and then also pushing legislation at the federal and state levels.

But to LaRocca’s point, it really all begins at the store level with awareness. Simply greeting all customers at the door raises the risk factor a little, because now an employee has seen and engaged that potential shoplifter. Another best practice is maintaining an awareness of when someone is spending some time within the blind spots of an aisle — those areas that are not in the field of view of either security cameras or in the line-of-sight from the cash register. Those blind spots are easy enough to find after the fact — it’s where all of the security tags have been removed prior to that shoplifter exiting the store.

According to that RILA survey, the most effective external theft prevention strategies identified by retailers included customer service, merchandise protection strategies and electronic article surveillance.

Both RILA and NRF, which put out its crime survey paper in June, also support (and have been lobbying in favor of) legislation that would skew the risk:benefit:consequence-if-caught scenario to a lot more risk, a lot less benefit and more severe consequences.

For the full NRF report and what legislative battles are happening where, click here.

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Reckitt Benckiser unveils sustainability report

BY Allison Cerra

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Reckitt Benckiser has achieved 75% of its target goal for the company’s Carbon 20 program, RB said in its sustainability report.

The Carbon 20 program, which was launched in 2007, is an initiative set by RB to reduce its own carbon footprint by 20% by 2020.

Additionally, RB also said in the report that all of its household products now tout 100% non-PVC packaging. This includes such brands as Finish, Vanish, Lysol, Harpic and Air Wick.

"Focusing on sustainability is right for our business, right for our industry, and right for society," Reckitt Benckiser CEO Rakesh Kapoor said. "We set ambitious targets for ourselves, and I am pleased that we are on-track to exceed them. RB’s strategy has always been to grow our business ­thus benefitting consumers, customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders­ while simultaneously reducing negative impacts, especially on the environment. I am proud of our performance to date, and I know we will continue to improve."

To access the complete report, click here.

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Kroger installs Avery Weigh-Tronix Eyecon pharmacy automation machines

BY Alaric DeArment

LIVONIA, Mich. — Kroger is installing Avery Weigh-Tronix’s tabletop pharmacy automation systems in its stores, Avery said.

The Eyecon is an automated prescription validation, counting and filling system that Avery said enhances inventory management by improving filling accuracy. The machine includes the Visual Counting System, using machine vision technology that increases counting and filling speed by up to 76% over manual counting and filling with a camera mounted above the counting tray that captures five images per second and counts pills within 200 milliseconds.

"Using the Eyecon to count solid-dosage form products saves us time," Kroger pharmacy project manager Mike Menkhaus said. "We noticed a difference, particularly for product audits and physical inventory counts, making the system a great investment."


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