My youngest son is currently a business major in his senior year of college. The other day we were discussing a paper he had recently turned in on the topic of “Needs Assessment”. I asked about what the term meant in the context of the class. He told me the basis of a Needs Assessment as they had talked about it was, in a sense, determining what the real root causes of a problem are and solutions to fix it. I am probably simplifying it a bit but an example he gave was of a make believe company that needed some accountants. Since that was not the focus of the business the company went out and hired recent college graduates who had graduated at the top of their classes but in areas of study other than accounting. The idea of hiring non-accountants was that these students were smart and would be able to learn the accounting job that needed done. In this scenario the business begins to experience financial problems but management begins to look at surface issues such as not enough time was spent training these new accountants. They didn’t dig into the underlying issues and assess what the needs of the business truly were. The problem as analyzed by my son was that it was the hiring of the non-accountants to fill a specific role, one which required a specialized skill set. The workers were bright, but not equipped for this particular job. I would argue that many times we in retail can be like this. We have a slide in our sales and rather than do a true needs assessment, we make assumptions and try to make our pre-conceived notions fit the problem. What if a slip in sales isn’t due to a lack of customers? What if sliding sales are due to a failure to stop shoplifting? More customers may not be the real issue the need for more hard tags may be part of the real problem.
What are hard tags you may be asking? They are tools designed to prevent thieves from emptying store shelves of merchandise. The tags utilize electronic article surveillance technology that combines a radio wave signal emitted from a tag to be picked up by a receiving tower usually located near the entry/exit doors of a store. If a piece of merchandise with a tag attached to it is carried within the reception range of the tower, alarms are set off alerting associates that an item is being carried out that has not been paid for yet. Even concealed merchandise can be detected when hard tags are in place. Today the tags have become so popular among major retailers that most shoplifters are familiar with them and steer away from trying to shoplift items with a tag attached.
How then can a tag that will stop shoplifting be the answer to a store that is experiencing a slip in sales? Here are a few things for your consideration:
• If shoplifters are removing merchandise from shelves and fixtures those items are no longer available for purchase. That directly impacts sales.
• Stolen merchandise is not accounted for through a point of sale. For many stores this means a system of checking counts and making adjustments is necessary for replenishment to occur. Does your store have some system in place to ensure replenishment takes place?
• Many large retailers use acronyms to help cashiers remember things to look for that impact shortage. One is B.O.B. or Bottom of Buggy. If cashier miss all of the items in a cart it can certainly lead to shortage. hard tags on merchandise will cause an alarm from towers, resulting in a receipt check and recovery of merchandise or the purchase of the item(s).
Stores that use retail theft prevention devices stop shoplifting from taking place and impact operational shortage as well. When the tags are used, merchandise stays in the store where it is available for the paying customers. As one who has shopped in stores with bare shelves I get very frustrated at not finding what I want and have left empty handed on more than one occasion.
If your store is experiencing a decline in sales take the time to conduct a true Needs Assessment. Consider all of the factors that may be impacting your business. Look at everything from new businesses in the area to changes in your policies or even empty shelves that may indicate a need to start using hard tags. Dig into what needs done to drive sales.
Get more information on hard tags contact us or call 1.866.914.2567 today.