Chain stores have recently faced a sharp rise in shoplifting incidents. Target has just announced that it lost $500 million to theft last year, and Walmart closed four of its stores in Chicago, claiming that they were frequently targeted by shoplifters.
Walgreens is another store that has been a victim of more shoplifting incidents in the last few years. And, to deal with the issue, the company has announced new anti-theft efforts.
In one of its newly designed stores in Chicago, US, there is a kiosk-only design. Almost everything is behind the counter, with only two aisles of products accessible to customers. If customers need a product, they now need to order it from a kiosk and pick it up later by asking the store employee behind the counter, as everything is locked away.
The kiosk technology works in a similar way to new fast-food restaurant ordering systems and was originally intended to keep stores more organized and tidy.
The two aisles will contain a small number of essential items, and everything else will need to be ordered at the kiosk, before going to the counter to pick it up from a store assistant.
Although the concept has been met with criticism from some customers, with some accusing the chain of treating innocent people like criminals and making their shopping more difficult, a spokesperson for the company said that the chain hopes to improve its customer experience by making the stores more organized and helping customers find what they need faster.
Although the anti-theft aspect is important, the company says it’s also “testing a new experience at this store with new concepts, technologies, and practices to enhance the experiences of our customers and team members” and “will continue to offer retail products and pharmacy services, just with a new look and feel that focuses on shopping digitally for convenience.