Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) has decided to bring back the store greeter. The global retail giant will have employees at all of its entrances and exits to improve customer service and prevent theft. Simply put: it’s bringing back the hallmark door-greeter program that was vanquished a few years ago.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Make Their Return to a Store Near You
Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton believed that customer service was the key to success. One area of customer service that Wal-Mart became famous for was the iconic store greeter. These greeters, usually senior citizens looking for part-time income, would stand at doors, greet customers, thank them for coming and even check receipts to deter shoplifters.
The retail firm announced Wednesday that greeters would return to two-thirds of its U.S. locations.
The remaining third of stores will have one employee focused on preventing theft by regularly checking receipts. These workers will be identified as customer hosts and will sport bright yellow vests and radios. Other aspects of their job will include processing express returns with technology and lift heavy items. They will also handle hostile or violent incidents.
“Providing customers with an excellent first impression is part of Wal-Mart’s broader strategy to ensure simpler, more convenient shopping,” wrote Mark Ibbotson, executive vice-president of central operations for Wal-Mart’s U.S. division, in a blog post. “Focusing more on our greeters is one of a whole host of details we’re looking at — it just happens to be a very visible one.”
After eliminating the position a few years ago, the company tested out the program last year. During a project at two stores in Texas, Wal-Mart determined that the results were positive. Apparently, thefts dropped by 40 percent during a six-month period. The customer hosts were complemented with theft-prevent technology and security monitors.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.’s Shrinkage
It was reported over the weekend that three men were arrested for allegedly stealing $10,000 worth of goods at a local Wal-Mart. These reports are very common as you’ll always read about it in local newspapers or television.
Simply put: Wal-Mart has a shrinkage problem, and it has nothing to do with George Costanza.
Shrinkage refers to stealing and losing stock because of damage or poor inventory management.
Wal-Mart has noted that theft has become a major problem for the retail chain. Shoplifting has become so bad that its earnings were lower last year because of it. At many stores, police are called around four times each day because of theft. Culprits will steal anything, whether it’s gum or televisions.
The company said in 2015 that it loses roughly $3 billion each year, which accounts for one percent of its global revenues. When this figure was released, the firm said that it was going to employ every measure to combat theft. Company heads said that if it could just save 10 basis points from that annual $3 billion the customers could still enjoy lower prices.
Reportedly, theft reached its peak at Wal-Mart when it raised employees’ wages, hired more workers and saw its stock take a dip. When you add a strong dollar to the mix, the woes at Wal-Mart are swelling.
Of course, Wal-Mart’s shrinkage because of mismanagement, particularly when it comes to food. The retailer has noticed that a large percentage of its food is damaged or goes bad before it hits the shelves.