Retail Roundtable: How Serious is the Retail Shrink Crisis?

August 7, 2023

 

In recent years, the narrative surrounding retail shrink—a significant issue for brick-and-mortar stores—has taken a dramatic turn. Fueling headlines are reports of escalating organized retail crime (ORC), with stores like Walmart shuttering locations in Portland, Oregon, and Target predicting a $500 million impact on profitability due to inventory shrink. Contrarily, some recent surveys show a slight dip in average shrink rates. So, what’s the real picture?

Is the purported retail shrink crisis a symptom of media hysteria, or is it an actual uptick in theft deserving attention? That’s the question set to be answered in this week’s discussion.

On this retail episode of The Industry Roundtable by MarketScale, an esteemed panel of professionals across the retail ecosystem, from strategic consulting to logistics solutions providers, join host Daniel Litwin, the Voice of B2B, to discuss the nuances of retail shrink, the rise of ORC, the impact of omnichannel retail on shrink rates, and propose strategies to mitigate inventory loss.

Key talking points from the episode:

  • Investigation into retailers’ on-the-ground experiences of shrink, with several surveys indicating an increased scope and pressure despite contradictory reports.
  • Analysis of the influence of the maturing omnichannel retail ecosystem on retail shrink rates. Has the rise of Buy Online, Pickup in Store (BOPIS) and increased cross-platform integrations led to more complex inventory management?
  • Discussion of the NRF ORC study and its findings, including the 84% increase in cargo theft incidents between 2019 and 2021, and the prevalent targeting of electronic goods by ORC perpetrators.
  • Debate on the impact of security measures on customer experience—does securing products and reducing staff accessibility lead to a more cumbersome shopping experience?
  • Identification of key areas where retailers need to focus their efforts to effectively combat inventory loss and retail shrink.

Our panel’s industry experts include:

Recent Episodes

open-box
View episode

As consumers increasingly seek out sustainable and value-driven shopping options, American Freight stands out with its distinctive approach to the retail market. By capitalizing on the trend towards open-box purchases and the demand for high-quality products at lower prices, this retailer is leading the charge. American Freight’s model of selling recertified returns at steep […]

generative AI for digital commerce
View episode

In the rapidly evolving world of digital commerce, how can businesses harness the power of generative AI without crossing the ethical line of consumer privacy? Making best use of generative AI in digital commerce is proving a more difficult balancing act than the initial hype around tools like ChatGPT may have signaled. A […]

immersive retail experiences
View episode

How can brands leverage theater-driven design to create immersive retail experiences that resonate with consumers? Melissa Gonzalez, Principal and Shareholder at MG2 Design and the host of Retail Refined, has illuminated this topic at SXSW (South by Southwest) 2024, highlighting the significance of engaging consumers through multiple touchpoints. “What do you stand for? Why […]