Retail Inventory Shrinkage: 3 Steps to Prevent Grocery Store Theft

Inventory shrinkage is a growing threat to retail businesses, with over $47.8 billion lost in 2018 alone. Out of all retail business, grocery stores are unfortunately one of the largest targets for shoplifters. Although some loss is inevitable, here are three steps you can take to lessen the damage and discourage grocery store theft.


1. Identify Where Loss is Coming From

Before creating an action plan to prevent grocery store theft, owners need to identify where their theft is coming from. Sure, you may have an idea of what you think is being taken, but you might be surprised as to what is really causing inventory shrinkage. Some of the most popular items stolen from grocery stores are candy and gum, baby formula, over the counter medicine, and cheese and meats.

Perform an inventory audit using your point of sale software to determine exactly where your grocery store theft is coming from. Look for discrepancies in the amount of stock physically on-hand and the amount of stock recorded. If there are certain categories of items that have more recorded stock than physical amounts, you have found your probable targets. This analysis will give you an accurate starting point of where and how you need to make store changes.


2. Plan for Store Adjustments

Now that you’ve pinpointed your losses, it’s time for preventive measures. Based on the severity of your retail theft and resources that you have, grocery owners can implement both low- and high-tech changes.

Low-Tech Changes

To beat retail theft on a budget, grocery stores can do a few minor adjustments to their grocery store. First, make sure you’re keeping your store clean and shelves organized. People are more likely to swipe something if shelves are overflowing and messy, since no one would notice if something was missing.

Next, evaluate your store lighting and layout. Dark corners and areas with poor visibility are ideal places for grocery store theft. Make sure your store is well lit and designed in an open layout, so that shoppers can be seen from different angles. Use mirrors to help in corners and tall aisles, and keep your most frequently swiped products close to the cash register so staff always has a clear view.

High-Tech Changes

If inventory shrinkage is becoming a major problem in your grocery store, it may be time for some more high-tech changes. Implement security cameras throughout the store that can be easily seen by your shoppers. Just the thought of being on camera will be enough to deter most grocery thieves. Additionally, having recorded video will help with liability and court claims if you do catch someone in the act.

Sensors are another way to stop thieves in their tracks. Use your inventory audit to determine your top stolen products, and enforce RFID sensor stickers or tags to these items to discourage shoplifters.


3. Get Your Team On Board

After your grocery store theft strategy is in place, it’s time to get your team on board. Talk to your employees and discuss with them the changes you will be making, and the importance of their awareness and support. Discuss tips on what to look for in a potential shoplifter, and procedures if one is suspected. The most common and effective way to hinder a suspected retail thief is to talk to them in a friendly manner. Greet them, ask them if they are finding everything okay, and walk around the store to show them that you’re around and aware. Employees should never directly accuse a shoplifter, for safety reasons.

Although unfortunate, employee theft is also a cause for inventory shrinkage. Make sure your employees know that you do not tolerate theft, and educate them on the measures you have in place to prevent it.

Inventory shrinkage can’t be avoided entirely, but it can be reduced if properly regulated and handled. For an affordable technology solution that will keep track of your inventory shrinkage and grow your bottom line, contact Auto-Star today to learn about our grocery point of sale solutions.


RetailNOW 2024

Join us at RetailNOW 2024! July 28 – 30, 2024 Paris Hotel Las Vegas, NV Booth #713 Get ready for the retail IT channel’s #1 trade show, education conference, and networking event! The retail IT channel’s #1 trade show, education conference, and networking event returns to Las Vegas! RetailNOW 2024 will feature: 1,600+ attendees –…

Subscribe to Our Newsletter