Want To Cut Shrink By 20 Percent? Forget LP, Fix Your Systems

Written by Frank Hayes
October 19th, 2011

Shoplifters and employees who steal are classic in-store loss-prevention problems, but fully one-fifth of shrink is due to administrative errors and supplier fraud—things that LP isn’t designed for but that conventional IT should be a lot better at dealing with. According to the annual “Global Retail Theft Barometer” report out this week from the Centre for Retail Research in the U.K., about 20 percent of shrink worldwide is due to administrative errors (including “pricing mistakes, accounting errors and process failures,” the report says) and fraud or errors by suppliers.

That’s a huge chunk of loss that should be fixable with nothing but better automation. The other 80 percent is predictably split between external and internal theft, though that split varies widely: In the U.S. it’s 36 percent shoplifters and 44 percent employees, while worldwide that’s flipped: 43 percent shoplifting and 35 percent internal theft. But using IT to cut administrative-error shrink has at least one big advantage over Loss Prevention: Those errors aren’t working hard to hide themselves. And if you can use better systems to cut admin-error shrink in half, that’s roughly as good as catching a quarter of your shoplifters.


Comments are closed.


StorefrontBacktalk delivers the latest retail technology news & analysis. Join more than 60,000 retail IT leaders who subscribe to our free weekly email. Sign up today!

Most Recent Comments

Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

Our apologies. Due to legal and security copyright issues, we can't facilitate the printing of Premium Content. If you absolutely need a hard copy, please contact customer service.