How to reduce stock shrinkage: expert advice

By Keri Algar

SYDNEY, NSW: Customer service is the best way to reduce stock shrinkage in consumer electronics stores in Australia, according to the managing director of shrink management and merchandise visibility company, Checkpoint Systems.

Mark Gentle told Current.com.au that if a consumer is greeted promptly upon entering a store it gives the impression of vigilance, which is an effective way of discouraging theft.

Gentle also said that offering staff incentives for shrinkage reduction in the store would lessen the amount of in-house theft. Furthermore, keeping staff in a positive environment would dissuade them from feeling resentful towards employers and lessen the chance of ‘vindication’ theft.

Keeping merchandise behind cabinets was another way to reduce shrinkage, however, Gentle conceded that this has also proven to lower sales and so it was often difficult to find a compromise between sales and stock safety.

According to the 2010 Global Retail Theft Barometer, which is sponsored by Checkpoint, thieves tend to focus on small, easily hidden and popular branded electronic gadgets including MP3 players, smartphones and games.

Surprisingly though, Gentle said that large flat panel TVs were also being stolen in high numbers.

Australian retailers have lost more than $10.311 billion to thieves in 2010, which amounts to a shrinkage footprint of $337 per household, according to the survey. Shrinkage decreased by 7.3 per cent to 1.39 per cent of total sales, for the first time since the survey’s inception four years ago.

Australian electronic stores reported a lower than average percentage of shrinkage compared with global results.

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