Angry Walmart customers have taken to social media threatening to cease patronage of the superchain, pending a reversal of new shopping-related policy changes.
This article is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. Linked information within this article is attributed to the following outlets: BestLifeOnline.com, CNBC.com, The-Sun.com, Forbes.com, and Google.com.
I write extensively about the Walmart superchain for NewsBreak. My most recent article, December 31st’s “Unexpected Year-End Sweeping Change at Walmart Reportedly Angering Customers; Many Threaten to Shop Elsewhere,” is particularly relevant to this present piece which can effectively be considered a companion.
My article excerpted a December 29th piece from BestLifeOnline.com, entitled “Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens Are Turning Shoppers Away With "Incredibly Frustrating" Policies,” that furthered the conversation regarding placing everyday items under lock and key: The complaints from shoppers have spilled over onto social media, with people sharing how frustrating the in-store shopping experience at these retailers has become. "In [California], it is almost impossible to shopat Walmart," one Twitter user said in October. "Everything is under lock and key as if we're all thieves. You have to take around an attendant to unlock the cabinet when you want eye shadow. Ridiculous."
The BestLifeOnline.com report further stated: Another user tweeted that locked up products are a major factor contributing to why they "rarely shop" at Walmart nowadays: "They have socks under lock and key. Socks!"
The biggest issue for customers, who have continued to take to social media to express their anger, is one of difficulty finding a salesperson on the floor to unlock said items.
Now, despite growing customer dissatisfaction, other companies are following suit.
Let us explore.
What has since become a flashpoint television interview, CNBC’s “Squawk Box” featured Walmart CEO Doug McMillion, who said the following in acknowledgement of the company’s ongoing shoplifting scourge: “Walmart stores across the U.S. are grappling with an uptick in shoplifting that could lead to higher prices and closed stores if the problem persists. Theft is an issue. It’s higher than what it has historically been… We’ve got safety measures, security measures that we’ve put in place by store location. I think local law enforcement being staffed and being a good partner is part of that equation, and that’s normally how we approach it.”
November 6th’s CNBC.com report, “Walmart CEO Says Shoplifting Could Lead to Price Jumps and Store Closures,” details further information regarding the interview and contains the embedded video.
In recent days, CVS and Target have also elaborated on their identical policies of placing common items under lock and key for the same reason.
A December 7th report from Forbes.com, “Walmart Thefts Are On The Rise, But Your Portfolio Doesn’t Have To Take The Hit, Too,” states: Over the last year, shoppers in many cities have noticed that retailers are putting more items under lock and key. Putting expensive electronics or even alcohol behind glass isn’t unheard of – but now, the selection includes everything from makeup to candy.
The Forbes.com report goes on to acknowledge the disparity between proactive protective measures on behalf of the company, versus customer wants and needs: Though customers have complained about the inconvenience, retailers have doubled down amid surging retail crime. Recent studies show that retail shrink (when stores have less stock than records show) has soared to a $100 billion problem.
Aside from Walmart, CVS and Target, still other retailers such as Walgreens have announced they will be following suit, which I will cover in a separate article.
As well as customers becoming upset by the new policy, security experts have also been voicing their concern. Per a January 1st report from The-Sun.com, “Security Expert Blasts ‘Last Resort’ Move By Walmart, CVS, & Walgreens After Shoppers’ Anger Over Frustrating New Policy,” elaborates on the matter.
As excerpted from The-Sun.com report, referencing David Johnston, Vice President of Asset Protection and Retail Operations at the National Retail Federation (NRF): Retail crime went up by 26 percent last year, and businesses are doing whatever it takes to prevent products from being stolen. The NRF reports that the loss of inventory has grown to a massive $100 billion problem across retailers, according to a new survey. Speaking to Insider, Johnston noted the rising crime rates but still criticized the anti-theft tactics as more items are locked away behind plexiglass... "Long term, it's probably not great for the customer experience."
Another industry expert weighed in on the matter: "As soon as you lock something up, you're going to see a five to 25 percent reduction in sales," Joe Budano, the CEO of a company that manufactures security devices, told Slate.
As a targeted Google search will verify, other security experts appear to largely agree with the words of both Johnston and Budano.
As I mentioned in my December 31st article on the matter, continuing thefts versus a potential loss of increasingly frustrated customers (and security) is a risk Walmart executives — as well execs presently from other retailers — are clearly keen to take.
As ever, in the event of pertinent updates to this piece I will share them here on NewsBreak.
Thank you for reading.
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