By Adrian Thomas
April 10, 2019

The loss of physical inventory, or shrinkage, is a real problem for brick and mortar retailers. Shrinkage affects every aspect of your retail operations, from finance and compliance to loss prevention.

In fact, nearly 2% of all inventory is lost due to shrinkage. In 2016 alone, shrinkage led to $46.8 billion in lost profits for the retail sector.*

Making small changes through in-store efficiencies and improving inventory count accuracy can majorly impact profit margins and protect your brand. It all comes down to finding strategic ways to shrink your shrink.

To minimize inventory loss, follow these three tips:
Empower Your Employees

Employees are your best asset and first line of defense against shrinkage.

Ensure your employees understand why shrinkage is a problem and how it affects their jobs. Most retailers have created standard operating procedures that train and educate employees on loss prevention, but there’s more to LP than learning how to spot shoplifting techniques and prevent them on the sales floor.

Taking a true empowerment approach can make all the difference in shaping a loss prevention culture. By enabling your employees to speak up, submit ideas and share in the responsibility of preventing shrink, you will use your greatest asset to the highest potential. Empowered employees achieve more, perform better and deliver elevated results, meaning you will become more competitive in the emerging global economy.

Still, all of this hinges on appropriate vetting of new hires. While references and background checks lengthen the hiring process, this can aid in preventing shrink before it happens.

Streamline Your Process

In-store efficiencies can naturally prevent shrinkage.

Consider your store layout. Can you relocate high-ticket items to the back of the store, or inside a locked case? This prevents inventory from running out the door.

Next, rethink store security. Cameras are an affordable investment to deter shrink. Remember, focus on both customer and employee shrinkage when planning your camera angles. Consider limiting employee access to storerooms with a smart, permissions-based key card system.

Another way to impact your shrink begins with staffing your stores appropriately. A guard or greeter by the front door can help customers feel more welcome, while discouraging theft at the same time. Having an adequate number of employees on the sales floor can also improve the customer experience while increasing your ability to spot potential shoplifters.

Eliminate Error by Bringing Inventory In-House

The bottom line? Shrinkage affects your bottom line.

Shrink is impacted by a variety of factors, some of which are outside of your control. Inventory count management does not fall into this category. Shrink related to an inaccurate inventory count is equivalent to flushing money down the toilet–there’s simply no reason to let counting errors impact your bottom line.

This is where Datascan comes into play. When you choose to self-scan, you choose control over the inventory process with the added benefits of flexibility and ease-of-use. Leverage the store-level knowledge and employee familiarity of your store processes, all while increasing your inventory accuracy. When you improve accuracy, you will lower instances of shrink, which can add up to millions of dollars in revenue.


Guard against unnecessary profit loss with smarter systems to transform your business and increase revenue. Datascan’s comprehensive self-scan solution puts implementation and control at your fingertips. We offer a combination of hardware and software applications that are powerful yet simple to use, requiring minimal user training. Our methodology comes from a stance of employee empowerment, ensuring your front-line staff have the tools they need to generate an accurate count.

*From 2018 Statista survey “Retailers Lose Billions to Theft, Fraud and Human Error”

To experience greater inventory accuracy, more control and less time and money spent, there's only one option: Datascan.

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