People trying to con and scam businesses is nothing new. And wholesale owners are a favourite target of these people where the price is low and they think they will not be causing major financial losses.
Being a pound store owner myself and having visited numerous pound store wholesale depots for material, I have seen it all. I have witnesses people scamming their way into returning a stolen item, people being caught trying to shoplift, and the police being called on a few occasions.
People Will Always Con You No Matter How Hard You Try to Prevent
Does that mean that there is no scope of a business owner to operate their sales in peace? Definitely not.
Does this mean that the business owners should treat every customer with suspicion and scrutiny? Definitely not.
Being a store owner myself, I have had my fair share of interaction with scammers and con artists. But that did not discourage me from operating my business in the friendliest way possible to provide my patrons with a great shopping experience. And today, I am sharing the three life lessons that have helped me keep my sanity that I think will help your wholesale business also keep its.
My Life Lessons for Your Business
Humans are full of flaws. Humans are full of surprises. But to err is human. Yes, some people scam and shoplift. But there are probably 1 out of 10 people who do this, I guess. Follow these pieces of advice and you shall be on the path to being a happier store owner.
1. Shabby shoppers are not always homeless people
How often does someone in shabby clothes stand next to you browsing items on an aisle and you pass them a judgmental look and move on to the next aisle? I was also like that. I assumed that maybe they are buying something from stolen money.
When I was a new retail store owner, I always kept my eye on the people wearing shabby clothes or looked “poor” in the societal definition. Nine out of ten times, they did not give me any trouble. And you won’t believe, I caught “nice looking” and “well-off” kids trying to shoplift on many occasions.
But not anymore. I let them shop in peace and even offer them assistance to make their shopping experience better. Sure, it has happened that they were homeless and short on money but someone else stepped up and offered to cover the shortage. Sometimes I give them an item on the house. But most “shabby shoppers” were just regular shoppers who didn’t care about the way they looked.
2. Customer satisfaction is the king
Well, when I started in retail, I also asked a lot of questions and checked every item wide-eyed whenever anyone would bring in an item to return. A lot of times, I would try finding a reason to not accept the return. I was so ignorant that I would not even approve a replacement request and blame the customer for the item not working properly.
Most business owners are like that. Especially wholesale store owners. They make returns and replacement a headache for their customers. But I learnt that customer satisfaction is the key to becoming successful in any business. And I learned it from a friend.
He teaches online courses to business owners. Anytime someone asks for a refund, he processes it, no questions asked. It is not like he would hire a psychiatrist to obliviate the course knowledge from their minds first and then offer a refund. Nope, doesn’t work like that. And he sends them an email about how sorry he was that the course was not the right fit for them and a thank you for trying it out.
3. Security measures are an add-on
When I installed the first set of cameras in my store, I would be watching the feed like a hawk. Fixating my eyes on the screen and following any suspicious shopper. Trust me, I had become paranoid. The reason? People shoplifted items worth around £5000.
But that the cameras didn’t bring down shoplifting to zero. I learnt a lesson there.
Businesses have to hire muscular and mean looking big guys to intimidate false shoppers and scammers. That’s understandable. And that is the reason there are cameras in most stores. Maybe you cannot be as liberal in your return policies. But that shouldn’t keep you on your toes and make you see every customer as a con artist. There are some customers like that and there is nothing we can do about it. As a business owner, you shouldn’t get caught hung up there.
You can’t stop losses, but you can minimise them
Internet shopping, Google reviews, Facebook reviews, and word of mouth are still one of the most powerful strategies of how people discover your business. What bad has to happen will happen, you can simply minimise your damages.