According to the National Retail Federation’s 2018 National Retail Security Survey, shrinkage cost retailers an average of 1.33% of total sales last year, due to theft, error, fraud, and shoplifting. Although this is a slight decrease from 2017’s high of 1.44%, overall, shrinkage figures have been on an upward trajectory. Despite this troubling trend, the NRF reports that the use of technological theft deterrents is down. The numbers show, however, that retailers cannot afford to forego technology that helps minimize shrinkage. It’s especially important for liquor store owners, whose inventory is a popular target for employee theft.
Here are three ways you can keep employee theft to a minimum at your liquor store:
Assess Your Retail Space:How easy is it for items in your retail liquor store to go missing? Hidden spaces or areas with little visibility make it easy for products to be taken from the shelves and hidden inside coats or bags. External loss (theft or loss due to non-employees) may be a challenge, but research data shows that staff is more likely to steal from you than an outsider. It’s important to have an inventory tracking system in play to combat internal theft and safeguards in place to deal with external loss. Retail liquor stores are chock-full of bottles and cans, and it’s impossible to see what products are disappearing with a quick glance at the shelves. A real-time inventory count will tell you exactly what’s in stock and deter employee theft. Be aware of delivery schedules and where boxes are received. Don’t let them sit around unpacked. Scan bottles in as soon as they arrive, because items that aren’t counted quickly can disappear.
Monitor Staff Activity:Heartland’s LiquorPOS will alert you in real time if an employee is voiding too many transactions, giving unauthorized discounts or refunds, and accepting an excessive number of coupons. These actions are warning signs that you have a problem with employee theft. Seeing this information as transactions happen, possibly even integrated with video surveillance, allows retail liquor store owners to pinpoint the source if liquor starts disappearing faster then it’s being paid for. Examining the reports from each shift will reveal how many discounts each employee has given, how many voids were processed, and the number of coupons that should be in the drawer. Using the real-time sales figures, you should be able to identify which employee(s) are being dishonest and address the issue.
Employee theft at retail liquor stores can cost owners a decent chunk of change, so take steps to deter internal loss. Technology is available that can give you greater visibility and allow you to take action in real time so you can address employee theft much more effectively. You can’t afford not to.