No love lost for sweethearting

Helping retailers improve profitability is something that is close to our hearts at Tensator and part of that involves providing solutions to assist with loss prevention. Recent headlines relating to The British Retail Consortium’s annual Retail Crime Survey tended to focus on offences committed by the customer, but employee theft is still very much a major issue.

According to the survey, the level of employee theft doubled between 2011 and 2012, reaching a high of 10.2 incidents per 1,000 employees. The average value of goods stolen by members of staff also increased significantly, rising from £342 in 2011 to a staggering £1,577 in 2012.

‘Sweethearting’ is the name attributed to one of the most common forms of employee theft.

‘Sweethearting’ is the name attributed to one of the most common forms of employee theft. It may seem like a positive term and one that may be bandied around quite a lot this week given that Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us, but Sweethearting costs the retail industry millions in stolen stock every year.

So, what exactly is it?

The process involves cashiers exploiting their position for the benefit of friends or family, hence the name Sweethearting. The shopper takes a number of items to the till point and the cashier only scans the lower priced goods, allowing the customer to walk away without actually paying for the higher value items.

It is an issue that is hard to detect, but actually has a fairly simple solution. The process of Sweethearting can only really occur in stores that utilise multi-line queuing systems, allowing the customer to join the queue for the service point that their friend and family member is operating.

Implementing a single line queuing structure can certainly help eliminate the risk, as the customer is called forward to the first available till point. This means that the choice of cashier is random, dramatically reducing the potential of the customer being served by the individual that is known to them.

Looking at the British Retail Consortium’s Retail Crime Survey, it is clear that employee theft will always be an issue, however if retailers investigate the solutions available to them and continue to take a proactive stance towards loss prevention, we would certainly hope to see a reduction in those figures in the years to come.

Check out the Tensator website to discover more about Electronic Queuing – eQ™ solutions.

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