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Combating Retailer Theft and Shrinkage with Experiential Marketing Pop-Ups

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During the past holiday season, you — like many other retailers — faced the difficult choice of how to best allocate your limited resources. You wanted to improve the customer experience and boost sales, but at the same time, you encountered a time of increased theft and shrinkage. The extra staff at experiential marketing pop-ups helped many retailers on both fronts.

Shrinkage is a Common Problem for Retailers During the Holiday Season

Like eggnog, shrinkage always finds a way to encroach on holiday cheer. This industry term refers to inventory loss during shipping and handling or at retail stores, which can include employee theft and fraud, shoplifting, supplier fraud, error in pricing/billing, or misapplication of funds.

The National Retail Federation’s most recent survey reveals that retailers lost over $112 billion to shrinkage in 2022, and that number is up from $93.9 billion during the previous year. The survey also finds that theft from customers makes up the bulk of shrinkage at 36.15%. Shrinkage rates increase during busy shopping periods like Black Friday or the days leading up to Christmas because stores are more crowded with customers.

Experiential Marketing Pop-up Events Help Retailers Deter Theft and Shrinkage During the Holiday Season

As a retailer, your faith in humanity, not to mention your holiday spirit, will likely be dampened every time the holiday shopping rush rolls around. Combat the annual issue of theft and shrinkage by bringing in extra staff for your experiential marketing pop-up events. 

Just the presence of more employees helps deter theft. With a pop-up in place, you have more eyes and ears on your merchandise and consumers.

Experiential pop-ups, by nature, are designed to be eye-catching and grab consumers’ attention right when they walk into the door. As a retailer, you can strategically position the extra staff manning holiday pop-ups in highly visible locations.

Our pop-up teams greet everyone who walks into the store, meaning no one goes unnoticed. Consumers tend to feel like we are watching them, but the good news is that when customers feel that they are being watched, they tend to behave better.

How Extra Staff Boost Customer Experience while they Prevent Incidents of Theft and Shrinkage

Extra staff help deter theft by giving the impression that they are watching customers and products. They also prevent theft by standing between customers and exits.

Security guards or monitors at the door will create an atmosphere that is off-putting and makes people uncomfortable, but a holiday pop-up will only add to a store’s festive atmosphere. As with any pop-up, retailers will want to ensure that the extra employees are trained to be engaging brand ambassadors. 

Employees should be friendly and helpful to customers as they enter and leave the store, but also visibly appear to be enjoying themselves as well. The extra staff gives shoppers more attention so that if customers have an issue or question about product availability or price, they can be addressed quickly.

Additionally, extra staff can help with customer service-related tasks like finding items in the store or assisting with returns. This is extremely beneficial, especially during busy times like holidays or back-to-school shopping season when there tend to be long lines at customer service desks.

Our pop-up events position brands to greet customers with free gift cards. When you give consumers $10.00 or $20.00 gift cards, they walk away with money in their pockets and a warm feeling in their hearts.

Pop-ups are also an effective way to promote a new product or increase brand awareness through customer engagement. By having these types of programs in place, you can ensure that your customers have a positive experience when they visit your store or venue during the busiest shopping time of year!

Place Extra Staff Near the Front of the Store, Where Most Theft Occurs

For experiential marketing pop-up events to be effective, they must be positioned strategically throughout each retail location. A highly visible pop-up event places extra staff near your store’s entrance so they can greet your customers and help them find what they’re looking for. They will also be near the self-checkout lines if your store has these, and this will ensure fewer people are tempted to leave without paying for their items.

The location of our pop-ups is generally in the front of the store, and this is also where retailers place high-ticket items. The extra staff creates more security around those items.  

Finally, marketing pop-up events provide retailers with financial rewards. If you choose to, you can invest the extra revenue in additional security guards.

Undoubtedly, you and your fellow retailers faced an uphill battle during the past holiday season, but next year can be better. Experiential marketing pop-up events can help you deter theft and shrinkage during the shopping rush by placing extra staff in the key areas of your store where most incidents occur. 

If you’re looking for a way to combat theft without spending too much money on equipment or training, consider hiring some extra hands for an experiential marketing pop-up event.

About the author


Ray Sheehan

Ray Sheehan has a background in strategic planning, marketing, event management, and advertising and has helped the company expand from one city to over twenty states. In 2020, he launched the G.I.F.T Program as part of Old City Media. Ray is recognized as a leader and an innovative thinker in the special events industry.