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Exploring new approaches in the prevention of shoplifting and un-tried options for Australian retailers to effectively combat the cost-of-living crisis in a cost-effective manner.

I’m writing a short series of articles on this subject and wish to state up-front, that I have a clear business reason for my interest in this topic. Although I’m not a retailer and perhaps BECAUSE I’m not a retailer, I see options that aren’t

given much attention in mainstream bricks-and-mortar retail in Australia.


For those that don’t know, retail theft costs Australian retailers $9 Billion per annum and it’s responsible for perilous declines in profit and rising prices to consumers. [Losses due to shoplifting in some sectors account for a staggering 38%]

This economic pressure requires a fresh approach that goes beyond conventional methods.

“ . . . if you steal, you will be caught. If you abuse someone you will be reported. Any retail crime will result in arrest and likely prosecution”.  [ARA / Crimestoppers] A perfectly compiled statement of fact that all of us support.

A thought now, about another way to frame this message that might be more effective.

The evidence against fear-based advertising is well documented and it’s key components are exactly what we don’t want to encourage in relation to shoplifting ?    [Behavioural Resistance / Message Rejection / Psychological Backlash / Negative Trust and Brand Perception / Ineffectiveness in Long-term Behaviour Change]

An alternative view:

Shoplifting is more than just a retail problem, it’s also a community issue and needs a collaborative approach that brings together retailers, customers, and local communities to change the narrative around shoplifting.

That shoplifting drives up costs for everyone and is an issue of shared responsibility and is an awareness campaign that needs to be visible in-store and promoted by retail organisations like @ARA, @NRA, @LFRA 

That shoplifting drives up costs for everyone is a conversation that needs to be had in public, in schools, in the pub – in fact every time cost of living becomes a topic ? 

Rewarding the public for the positive results of such a campaign - like advertising a discounted selection of goods relative to the amount of crime reduction, will highlight industry appreciation, incentivise community cohesiveness and buy goodwill?

In my next article I will explore various shoplifting reduction options and their effectiveness;  I’ll also consider the role unattended dispensing machines could play in retail security, customer convenience and their implementation as an option to help counter the approximately 32000 positions the industry needs to fill to perform more effectively.

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