Summertime often means vacations, long weekends, and a break from the hectic seasonal cycles of the retail environment. While things seem to be a little slower during these summer months, now is a great time to get out of the “heat” and take a vacation from your normal routine. It may not be a getaway to an island paradise, but here are some tips to refresh yourself and your loss prevention program during the summer.
“Your Summer Reading List”
Take an adventure and discover new articles and blogs. Exploring new ideas and outlooks will find you thinking differently. Today’s world of electronic media allows an individual to obtain information quickly and often in the form of shorter reads; take advantage of this medium. Seek out new blogs (like this one) and others in your industry and even other industries (think outside the box). Subscribe to the ones you like so that new posts are sent directly to your email inbox.
Don’t want to be overwhelmed by your email inbox? Set up an RSS reader and start the day skimming through blogs you subscribe to or online articles featuring keywords (like internal theft, shrink, loss prevention). I didn’t realize how easy it was to set up RSS feeds, but once I did I was able to quickly scan and read may interesting articles like this one from CNBC.com. This is a great way to keep up with everything happening
Refresh Your Program with “Water Cooler Conversations”
The summer months normally offer more casual time to talk to people. Asking about vacations, where they got their tan, and other low-key discussions happen more regularly around the office and out in stores. Take advantage of this time and strike up some casual conversations about loss prevention.
Talk to people who may not normally be involved in loss prevention. Talk to them about how they think the company could prevent loss. Perhaps there is something your program can provide them to make the company more profitable or less susceptible to loss in their area of the business.
Use informal and open discussions to talk about your program initiatives and mid-year results to people throughout your organization. Due to vacations it may be difficult to schedule formal meetings, but informal discussions may be better. Open, more casual discussions often bring forth new ideas and with these fresh ideas you may be able to make some changes to your program for better year end results.
A great example would be your store audit. Have some informal discussions with operations and store management about audit scores and questions. Are your current results what you expected so far this year? Is the staff “getting dinged for points” in areas that you hear may not be too clear? Use this time of the year to get some open feedback before everyone is back to “Sell, Sell, Sell” for back to school and the holidays.
Try a New Vacation Getaway
Everyone has their favorite summer getaway. If you are from the Boston area like me, then you may often head to Cape Cod or the coast of Maine. We all have a natural tendency to vacation at places we are most comfortable, familiar and enjoy going.
Like our vacation getaway, many people have favorite “destinations” when it comes to using their loss prevention tools. Take exception-based reporting (EBR) as an example. What is your favorite “report destination?” If you are like most, then I bet it is visiting those refund queries. You are familiar with how to review and investigate the data and you always find a case. Sure refunds are a big concern when it comes to employee fraud, about 88% of 111 retailers thought so in an NRF Survey during the 2010 holiday season, but there are other destinations out there.
During these summer months try a new EBR “destination.” Look at gift cards, transaction discounts or employee sales. Maybe even look for ways that your EBR program can help increase margins or reduce the need to discount. Explore. Be an adventurer.
Avoiding Getting Burnt
We all know that increased exposure to the sun will lead to sunburn. Likewise, increasing exposure to potential loss will lead to a “profit” burn for your business. Keep your business protected by keeping the foundation of your program strong and always look for fresh ideas to compliment your loss prevention initiatives.
Written by Marc MacGillivray, National Client Services Manager
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What do you do during the slow months of your business to re-focus or renew yourself or your program?
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