New study investigates retail crime
New research from the University of Otago has examined the role of psychological ownership in shoplift prevention and found impressive results from a pilot trial, which it is to be extended into a New Zealand-wide survey of supermarket staff.
The study investigates how the principles of psychological ownership, which is traditionally applied to building stronger relationships between retailers and customers, can be applied to reducing shoplifting and other forms of retail crime.
“We wanted to see if there was evidence to show that a good relationship between a retailer and their staff would mean employees are more proactive and alert to preventing and informing of theft,” University of Otago PhD student Balkrushna Potdar, who led the study, said.
“The results supported our hypothesis, so it is exciting to be able to extend this out and gather wider data from supermarkets around New Zealand.”
Dr John Guthrie, who supervised the research, noted that retail crime is growing, according to findings from a 2017 survey he conducted.
“From a practical standpoint I believe that a valuable outcome will be information that will allow retailers to better understand their employees, and thereby help them deliver more productive training programmes – in more areas than just loss prevention,” Guthrie said.
Potdar estimates retailers lose on average 6.6 per cent of sales due to shoplifting, and suggests a reduction in retail crime could improve businesses’ bottom-line, as well as staff morale.
An online questionnaire will go out to participating supermarkets in early September, with results and findings expected in October 2018.
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