Keep Loss Prevention Low—Inventory and Merchandising Strategies


Loss prevention. These words evoke a plethora of emotions in spa and retail directors alike—fear, uncertainty and frustration to name a few.

Guest theft is a pertinent, yet awkward and uncomfortable fact. It is important to balance a restful and welcoming spa with some common-sense strategies to protect profitability. Ironically, the relaxing environment of the spa requires a proactive diligence in protecting loss prevention (LP). Successful spas cannot tolerate a lax attitude.

Owning the problem is the first step. Is your spa letting unacknowledged product walk out the front door? Are you overlooking other forms of LP, such as internal theft, poor inventory practices and loose protocols related to returning product? If so, limit your vulnerability and strengthen your bottom lines by establishing a defensive and offensive attitude in tackling the LP problem.


Inventory should be conducted regularly and consistently to help maintain a healthy loss prevention number. Count the products monthly, if not bi-monthly, and assign the task to one team member, which will lessen the chance of mistakes during the counting process. It helps if this person knows the products or is in charge of ordering because they will be able to identify any obvious irregularities during the counting process.

The counting process must be thorough and taken seriously. It is easy to assume if the front box reads a specific name and the product boxes behind it are all the same size that it must be the same product. However, products are touched constantly by guests and do not always end back where they started. A simple trick to make sure every product is counted is turning the front product around once it has been counted, so at the end of the inventory, if there are any products front-facing you know they have not been tracked.

Theft prevention

Unfortunately, theft will always be a factor in retail. Be intentional with defensive merchandising tactics that protect your product.

Exit strategy. Expensive items should not be kept just steps away from the exit. This defensive step alone decreases the odds of a spontaneous lift from a customer who had not previously targeted the product. Spa products are packaged beautifully and seductively in nature. Impulsive personalities may not be able to resist the temptation.

Reach higher. Display higher-end product on higher shelves, requiring clients to reach comfortably for it. The increased visibility automatically deters the would-be shoplifter. Products stored near the front door or on low shelves easily allow for an undetected “crouch and stash” strategy, where a product is slipped quickly into a bag.

Placeholders. If storage is not an issue, display the empty boxes or merchandising shelf talkers for small, high-priced products as a placeholder. When the guest brings the box or ticket to the desk, the receptionist can pull the product from the storage area for purchase. It’s not suggested you do this with all of the products, but for a few likely targets.

Plastic plexi boxes. Plastic plexi boxes can be used to keep higher-priced point eye creams and retinols from walking off as well. The boxes typically open on the bottom and can be placed over the products, allowing for an easy shopping experience, while detering theft as products are not easily accessible and typically require two hands to access.

Mirror, mirror on the wall. Incorporating mirrors into the retail environment creates awareness. Hang mirrors over armoires where product is displayed, including standalone ones near the makeup or full-length mirrors by clothing. This allows spa staff more visibility to what is happening on the retail floor, as well as the client.

Take control over what you can. By setting a strong foundation of inventory procedures and merchandising tactics, you can lower your loss prevention number.

Si Author K Wind M1

Kate Wind manages a team of 53 estheticians, hair stylists, nail technicians, massage therapists and reception attendants at Spa Mio at The M Resort in Las Vegas.



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