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Test Your Team on Loss Prevention

Can your cashiers identify behaviors that are associated with shoplifters? Are your sales associates set up for loss prevention awareness? Use the following scenario to test your team’s skills when it comes to keeping the store, their co-workers and customers safe. For more about loss prevention and to go through another loss prevention test like this one, click here.

How It Works

Ask your team the questions before each step in the scenario. Have them discuss the possible next steps or how they would manage the customer(s). Be sure to talk about your operation’s policy for dealing with possible shoplifters and other loss incidents.

The Scenario

You’re in the paint department at the front of the store cleaning and facing shelves when a group of three teenagers walks into the store, laughing loudly. They each go a different direction as they enter the store. One of the teens grabs a can of spray paint from the shelf and then heads to the back of the store.

What do you do?

You walk over to the cash register and ask the cashier if there are any returns that need to be restocked. He hands you a box of lightbulbs and a garden hose. You head toward lighting first.

What’s the difference between asking if you can help and how you can help?

One of the teenagers comes around the corner and starts picking up smart lightbulbs. You ask if they have any smart lighting at home. They say they are just looking and leave the department.

What are some signs that a product has been stolen?

As you’re restocking the lightbulb, you see the lid from the can of spray paint that one of the teens grabbed when they came in on the shelf behind some other boxes. You quickly finish your task and head to the lawn and garden department to put away the garden hose, keeping an eye out for the group on the way.

What’s the difference between suspicious behavior and general rowdiness?

You pass the group of teens in the plumbing department on your way to lawn and garden. You ask them what they’re looking for, and one of the teens reaches for their phone. They are on an errand for their mom to buy a new toilet flapper, but they don’t know which one they need.

How can you ensure a customer has the right products for their project?

You look at the picture of the toilet on the teen’s phone, and grab the flapper that will be the right fit. You see the spray paint can, with the lid still on, in their hand. You ask what they need the spray paint for. Another teen answers that they are working on a school project together and ran out of paint, which is why they came to the store in the first place.

How can you create add-on sales?

You ask more about the project. They’re building a scale model of a rocket, and are putting the finishing touches on. You lead the way back to the register. At the counter, you ask if they need any snacks to get through the end of their project. Each teen adds a protein bar and a sports drink to the sale.

It’s generally better to be cautious and wrong rather than to risk loss, but it’s also important to be safe. There isn’t one stereotypical customer type, and you need to be prepared to help anyone with their home improvement projects. Develop your own loss prevention test based on real situations that have happened in your store. Discuss what to look for when spotting shoplifters, but also remember that suspicious behavior can look different from person to person.

To download a pdf of this test, click here.

About Melanie Moul

Melanie is the communications and content manager for the North American Hardware and Paint Association. She joined the NHPA team in 2016 as an editor for Hardware Retailing and now helps lead the communications team to deliver relevant, timely content to the industry.

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