Retail Dogma

Loss Prevention

What is Loss Prevention?

Loss Prevention is a function in retail businesses that is responsible for protecting the assets of the business and preventing or minimizing loss, by closely monitoring daily operations and ensuring the implementation of the company’s SOPs, especially the ones related to cash and inventory handling.

It is also commonly referred to as Asset Protection.

Importance of Loss Prevention

Loss prevention is important because it helps the business improve its bottom line, by closely monitoring and preventing practices that lead to material losses in cash and inventory.

Inventory is one of the biggest assets for retail businesses. Such asset has to move around and exchange hands multiple times, which subject it to multiple risks of shrinkage, due to errors or theft.

The role of the loss prevention function is to ensure the application of the company’s SOPs, when it comes to handling inventory and cash, in order to minimize those risks and protect those assets.

Common Causes of Loss

The most common causes of shrinkage and loss at retail businesses include:

  • External Theft: Also known as shoplifting; where customers steal merchandise from the retail store, or commit a return fraud.
  • Internal Theft: Theft by employees working at the retail business, either in the form of cash or inventory.
  • Operational & Administrative Errors: Admin errors that lead to loss of inventory or cash, for example wrong pricing of at item, or errors in scanning items when received or sold.
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Loss Prevention Examples

Loss prevention employees try to prevent the different causes that lead to loss, by performing certain tasks on a regular basis.

For example, they ensure that the stores are operating as per the SOP, and they do this by performing regular spot checks to verify that certain procedures are being implemented and that all the paperwork has been done.

For example, a loss prevention employee can go to the store and perform a locker spot check, and see if all the valuable items kept in the staff lockers are documented in the sheet employees need to fill when they start their shift; especially if those items are from the merchandise that is sold in the store.

Another spot check they perform is a cashier or till spot check, where they count the money in the till and compare it with the amount on the system to check for shortages or overages.

Loss prevention staff also regularly monitor CCTV to see if anything is unusual, and that the right procedures are being followed.

In the case of any theft incidences, this team is the one who leads the investigation with the involved parties, by gathering all the information, going through CCTV footage, and getting statements from store staff.

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