Dollar Tree Copies Target and Walmart With New Anti-Theft Measure

In-store theft is on the rise, particularly at discount retailers like Dollar Tree, Walmart, and Target. Originally, it was thought that online shopping would replace physical stores, but that hasn't happened. Retailers now face the challenge of tackling this surge in thefts, deploying new strategies that may inconvenience innocent shoppers due to the significant rise in crime rates.

Online shopping, despite its convenience, didn't catch on as expected. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, online sales never exceeded 20% of total retail sales, particularly in groceries.

Most consumers still prefer shopping in stores over online, with companies like Amazon, Shein, and Temu being exceptions. In 2023, online sales made up just 14.7% of total sales.

The immediate satisfaction of in-store shopping, especially for clothing and groceries, often outweighs the convenience of online orders. Issues like inadequate substitutions or incomplete orders, along with the hassle of returns, make physical stores more appealing.

Stores like Dollar Tree and Target provide a holistic shopping experience that extends beyond just necessities, allowing customers to enjoy browsing through various sections, including home décor.

However, the increase in petty thefts is dampening the shopping experience. Theft, or "shrink," rose by 0.2% from 2021 to 2022, translating to substantial financial losses, particularly in frequently targeted stores.

To combat theft, retailers are locking up valuable items, although this solution negatively affects the shopping experience. Customers face inconveniences such as waiting for items to be unlocked by assistants who might be occupied elsewhere.

Dollar Tree is also shifting valuable items online, keeping low-cost items in-store. This approach not only protects merchandise but also reduces risks to staff and decreases customer wait times, encouraging them to shop elsewhere without the wait.

However, this strategy has its drawbacks. Customers may find it inconvenient to shop in-store and then have to finish their shopping online. This assumes they have a good online shopping experience and live in an area accessible by the store's delivery routes.

Overall, keeping some products exclusive to online helps balance the visibility between online and offline platforms, giving customers the flexibility to choose their shopping channel.