The “Pop-Up” store, also known as the “Temp” store or “Seasonal” store is a retail trend that has been gaining momentum since circa 2003. This year’s combination of the availability of real estate, retailers weary about making long lease commitments, and the continued competition for consumer holiday dollars makes announcements like Toy’s R Us 600 temporary locations come as no surprise. While this is one of the larger scale deployments, the concept is not new.
Everyone is a winner in Vegas
“Pop Up” locations can add a much-needed boost to a company’s seasonal sales, but these same locations run the very real risks that shrink or loss could erode the revenue benefits. Although increased revenue is a great story to tell, it’s a disappointing plane ride home from Vegas when you had to spend a dollar for each dollar you won…or worse.
The challenge of the temporary location is maintaining the three main components loss prevention professionals rely on for shrink or loss control; Policy & procedure, oversight of operations, and an educated and committed store team. The problem is three-fold and appears inherent to the nature of the temporary store.
Fast and loose
There tends to be an inverse relationship between policy and procedure compliance and the speed of operations. The quicker we need to build out a location, stock the inventory and hire staff, the greater the likelihood that shortcuts will seem a viable option to reach the goal. The problem with the “fast and loose” approach is that some shortcuts such as deposit validation may have obvious implications, while others, such as proper employment screening may not seem so clear.
Do we rob Peter to pay Paul?
Retailers are already cutting costs by doing more with less. The addition of temporary locations whether it is twenty-five or six hundred, adds to the resource challenges and ultimately the level of district and regional oversight provided. Since field support staff cannot be everywhere it becomes a question of do we rob Peter to pay Paul. The answer means choosing between less oversight of our regular locations or the risk of too little oversight of a temporary staff.
Unfortunately, the answer is usually driven by either the call to “put out fires” or from the bitter memory of shrink results from the previous year…as in “remember that 10% shrink? Don’t take your eyes off those temp stores again this year.”
It’s not a relationship, we’re just dating
I am not going to bad mouth temporary or seasonal employees. Without them the entire concept does not work. Most are hard working, trying to make some extra money or might even be hopeful of a more long-term relationship. But let’s face it, the relationship and the agreed upon commitment is a short-term one. Companies depend on their regular employees to help safe guard the company assets and to be mindful of the little errors that can have a large impact of profitability. The challenge in the temporary location is to foster that same attitude and to educate temporary employees on their role in loss prevention.
Eight Step Success Formula
Temporary locations do not have to include run away shrink numbers or a laundry list of problems, but to avoid such every retailer needs a commitment to a solid loss prevention plan. LPI has developed an eight-step formula to help retailers successfully implement loss prevention programs into their temporary locations. This eight-step formula may not solve every problem, but it will put your program well on its way to greater success.
If you have any thoughts, comments or proven results on how you have been successful with your seasonal or temporary locations, we would like to hear from you.
Written By Raymond A. Esposito