Combining the data from Retail Store Audits and Mystery Shopping can Shed More Light on Shrink

Mystery Shopping is an effective tool that no doubt many stores use to help prevent retail loss. The data collected from said mystery shopping can pin point exactly where a store’s strengths and weaknesses lie especially from the critical perspective of the customer. What happens when we combine that data with the data from a retail store audit? This is an interesting experiment and one that could really shed more light on shrink.

What better retail store audit software to use for this kind of project than blazingaudit as its framework is built to allow advanced reporting and analysis across multiple data sets.  It even includes a detailed case management platform and incorporates census data to reveal a clearer picture of the high risk solutions. blazingaudit is perfect for the kind of qualitative research we would need in order to conduct this kind of data collection and combination.

One of the beauties of blazingaudit is that it is super flexible. Our goal is to fit into your already existing practices. The platform includes such data as demographic (including poverty rates, crime statistics, and population growth) which in congruence with audit data and mystery shopping data can impart us with an unobstructed panoramic view.  The data from mystery shopping would especially complement the data from an operational audit because of the nature of both fields. They both evaluate the performance of a particular department—i.e. customer service or layout of store, etc. However, mystery Shopping would pair up nicely with any of the audits blazingaudit specializes in such as operational, compliance, or followup. The structure of blazing audit lends itself well to combining different data from different platforms and really thinking outside of the box. This project is certainly worth exploring.

Join the blazingAudit team at this year’s New England Loss Prevention Expo

What is the New England Loss Prevention Expo? It is a convention that will occur on September 14th this year at the DCU Center in Worcester, Ma. The goal of this networking event is to educate everyone involved in retail security, including but not limited to risk managers, solution partners, and law enforcement, about theft and how to keep the employees, customers, and stores secure. At this conference, companies will explore the tools used to fight retail crimes and other problems that contribute to retail store loss. In addition to theft, retail store audits must also address areas such as miss marked price tags, out of sync registers, losses due to injured employees or customers, and misplaced products or unchecked discrepancies due to poor stock control.

What can you expect at the New England Loss Prevention Expo? First, more than 250 loss prevention professionals from the retail industry in New England will attend this one-day symposium and trade show. Some of the topics discussed in past expos were organized retail crime, external and internal theft, private/public sector partnerships, asset protection technology, financial crimes, and emergency preparedness. You can expect these topics to make an appearance again just in an updated context of course. The day will be fully packed with guest speakers and experts on retail store audits. Some of these guests include, Kevin M. Plante-LPC, Staples Global Loss Prevention Chairman, Paul Fisher–Vice President sales of Intellicheck, Joe LaRocca–Vice President and Senior Advisor of Loss Prevention for RetaiLPartners, and Bill Peters–Director of Safety & Regulatory Compliance, BJ’s Wholesale Club (which is especially important because lack of safety is one of the key factors retail store audits must investigate in tracking retail store loss). Click here for a complete list of guest speakers and the detailed agenda for the day.

This year marks the 11th annual year of the expo and the official host will be the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. Other hosts include the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association, Retail Association of Maine, New Hampshire Retail Association, Rhode Island Retail Federation, and Vermont Retail and Grocers Association. Be sure to check out other retail audit software players as well as members of the blazingAudit team. This event will be an excellent networking and educational experience. We’d love to see you there!

Catch The Bad Corporate Culture, Not The Bad Employee

Focusing on catching stealing employees is a red herring. It seems to be the clear-cut solution to retail loss caused by employee theft: your loss prevention auditing has determined that a large percentage of your loss is due to employee theft, and so you pour all of your efforts into catching and firing those employees who steal from the store. But what about the people who are hired to replace them?

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Closing the Communication Gap

A retail security / loss prevention audit has many moving parts. It’s not as simple as conducting the audit — walking through a store and seeing if all of the locks are locked and the doors are closed, and so on. If one is to conduct the process as smoothly as possible, they must also be skilled at managing relationships with individual auditors, individual store managers, and district/regional managers. At the same time, one must compile data, write reports, deliver presentations, and notify stakeholders about exceptions that arise during retail compliance checks.

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Saving Time with Blazing Audit

We conducted a study of auditors and audit managers at a major American retailer who currently use Blazing Audit to handle their auditing processes. We asked them how much time Blazing Audit saved them throughout the process of running an audit. On average, these users reported that they were able to cut their total auditing time by about 40%, and every customer reported that Blazing Audit made their auditing process at least 10-15% faster.

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In Auditing, Intuition is Unreliable

Throughout the United States, many health and beauty specialist retailers reported in interviews with the writers of the 2013 Global Retail Theft Barometer that their stores were among the highest affected by theft. This makes intuitive sense: health and beauty products are often a combination of expensive and small enough to slip into a pocket or a purse.

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