Tightrope - The Balance of Stopping Bottom of the Basket Theft and Offending Customers

If you have ever been to the circus you have undoubtedly seen a leotard-clad, tightrope walker high above the sawdust floor of the three rings. The rope sways, the performer shifts their weight and they feign a fall before safely scampering across to the platform on the other side with cheers and applause lauding their accomplishment they take their bow.  We buy into the idea that there is something at stake and that the short trip so high in the air, is fraught with peril.  We feel that success or failure is caught in the balance, perched precariously in the center of the rope.

In business we are faced with similar dilemmas, caught on a high-wire between two bad options.  For instance when and how should we act when confronted by a choice between accusation and accommodation? Call a shopper out in the wrong way and you lose them for life.  If you are too soft on the professional shoplifter, you set yourself up for a return criminal for life.  Either way, you are on a tight rope.

This is especially true when it comes to Bottom of the Basket (BOB) shrink.  We know that it happens. Yet, when we see it, we are often left with poor choices regarding confronting the issue.  Was this an attempt at shoplifting? Was it a simple mistake? Are the thieves colluding with the cashier to rip off the store?

Bottom of the basket shrink loss is somewhat unique in that it can happen passively – whereby the cashier unintentionally fails to ring up items on the bottom of the basket – or intentionally when a cashier purposely ignores those items on the bottom of the basket for friends and family. In either case the result is the same. 

In 2011, the National Supermarket Shrink Survey indicated that, on average, 10% of shoppers have items on the bottom of the basket with an average value of $10.59. Respondents went on to report that in the average supermarket, cashiers fail to ring up those items 8% of the time, costing the average retailer over $44,054 annually. Further studies show the top reasons cashiers say they fail to ring up BOB items is that they forgot or they just didn’t see it.*

Fortunately, now there are technological solutions to the problem of BOB shrink.  One way to combat the problem is with LaneHawk®, a bottom of the basket problem solver.  Nearly 95% of the time this unique product recognizes that there is an item on the bottom of the basket knows the value and alerts the cashier. The cashier then checks the bottom of the basket and processes the item.  Also, reports are generated that can be broken down by lane or employee as a check on the cashier for training or disciplinary action. There should be no more guessing about collusion.

When LaneHawk® does not know the product; it still alerts the cashier that a generic item or unknown item is on the bottom of the basket.  This technological advancement can help you get off the tightrope and back on solid ground.

*National Supermarket Shrink Survey 2011