Ask the Retail Experts: Better LP investigations and tighter policies

 

Dear Experts,

A former Chipotle employee was just awarded $8 million after she was accused of stealing $636. How can I protect my company from this kind of situation?

— Regional Director, Audit

 

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3 next-level store audit tips to optimize your retail business

 

A colleague asked me recently what I’d tell someone just starting out in retail loss prevention or audit. While much has changed since I started as a store auditor, I still see one mistake again and again – treating audits as “gotcha” moments.

 

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How to manage loss prevention without staff in every store

 

Loss prevention looks different for every retailer. For some, it means security personnel working high-risk areas and back offices dedicated specifically to CCTVs. For others, it can mean an LP field team that’s dedicated to the task but always feeling like they’re playing catch-up, traveling from store to store to chase down the latest problem.

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When to worry about your good stores

 

You probably have a handle on which locations in your chain are your bad stores. But what about outliers in the other direction? Did you ever consider that some of your stores could be too good? If you have a store that always turns in perfect reports and never misses anything, your first instinct is probably to be thrilled. You might even consider using them as an example for the rest of your stores.

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How to better manage exception reporting

 

Twenty-six percent of retailers say cash theft is their top cause of loss, according to the 2015 U.S. Retail Fraud Study. It might be the top cause of loss for the other 74 percent of retailers, too – they just don’t know it. Cash theft doesn’t just cost the actual cash you lose, after all. It also costs you the time it takes to identify, track and resolve the source of the loss.

 

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Every minute counts in stores and at corporate


In retail, every single minute your employees spend with customers counts toward customer experience and your bottom line. With minimum wages rising sharply across the country, your employees’ time is about to account for a larger portion of your operating costs than ever before.

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How does delayed reporting cost you money?


In my more than 30 years of retail experience, many of those as an auditor, I’ve been in hundreds of stores, observing how store employees handle funds and whether they follow procedures.  I’ve seen a lot of loss – as both
errors and fraud – and I’ve found most of it occurs because corporate is not getting timely information from their stores and can’t act fast enough to stop it.

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The secret to successful store audits

 

Store audits are tricky. They're designed to protect assets and ensure smooth operations, but if handled incorrectly, they can be ineffective and inefficient. There's a secret to making the most of them, but a lot of retailers miss it.

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