LP Magazine

SEP-OCT 2017

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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show that word of mouth can boost or harm the foot traffic to a leisure activity. Making the new mall a place where the word of mouth is positive takes engagement. With change comes an assessment of where we are now and where we need to be. With the asset protection team, this takes the form of managing the risk. Moving from one formula to another is filled with potential risk if a plan isn't assessed and enacted properly. The very bottom line of this thinking is the protection of life. People need to be safe and feel safe in the new and unfamiliar environment. The current mall is associated with antisocial behavior and crime in many parts of the country. Creating a safe haven in the new mall is paramount. The perfect time to change perception (and it will be perception that persuades people back to this environment) is at the time the mall goes through the conversion. The customer base will change dramatically in this model and precedes a change in managing this new crowd. Older and younger visitors will be present in greater numbers as will the dog friendly environment proposed above. This changes the dynamic of how asset protection works with the public and alters the potential risks involved. Tracking people can become the main issue. There will simply be more of them to track, and the protection of the vulnerable offers new challenges to teams that might have been looking in another direction in the past. Don't forget that criminals will also be looking at this new dynamic and how they can exploit it. Keeping the safe-haven approach takes a new breed of thinking. This new group of visitors may also necessitate a revolution in the political sensitivity of the personnel employed by loss prevention teams. The cohort of customers will change, almost overnight, so consideration must be made on: ■ A change in the gender makeup of visitors. ■ The increasing number of baby boomers with spare time and money visiting. ■ A potential change in race that visits the mall (moving to being in a situation where this doesn't become a discussion). ■ The LGBT community and having the right knowledge base to interact. This again will take the form of training and monitoring because the team you have will need to adapt to this new way of doing business. Change can be frightening for some, so think about the support and guidance that you can give people in the asset protection team to ensure that they transition effectively. What New Skills Are Needed? A new way of working for the whole mall looks to the future with anticipation. New skills will be needed to accommodate and welcome the diverse client base that will walk through the doors. With the old mall a thing of the past, you will see customers arrive that maybe have never had the mall experience before. The loss prevention team must be ready for the new challenges that lie ahead. Simply operating the same model in a new environment doesn't account for the changing nature of the safe-haven mall with all the new components and different sectors this will attract. Different dialects or languages may well be used by the new visitors. The radius new visitors will be drawn from will increase significantly, leading to potential communication issues if your team hasn't been prepared for this. An academic center might bring visitors who don't have English as their primary language. We already know that effective communication drives higher levels of security and lower shrinkage. The asset protection team must take this into account when devising an effective communication strategy with visitors to the new mall. This includes all forms of Thinking about the auxiliary services (for some, these will primary services), one could imagine using the space to cater to those with pets , which is often a no-no in malls, perhaps providing pet health services or an indoor dog park. 42 SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2017 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM A MALL WITHIN A STORE

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