Dollar Tree Has a New Strategy to Tackle the Increase in Theft

By: Sam Watanuki | Published: Dec 06, 2023

Dollar Tree has developed a new defensive strategy to combat an alarming rise in retail theft, adopting measures similar to other major retailers.

By locking up certain items and discontinuing frequently stolen products, the company aims to tackle theft head-on.

Digital Retail vs. Brick-and-Mortar Resilience

Despite what the predictions say, brick-and-mortar stores are still going strong, while e-commerce seems to have leveled off at around 14.7% of retail sales.

Shopping Mall

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Customers’ desire for instant satisfaction and sensory shopping experiences keeps physical stores relevant, rather than waiting on a direct delivery.

The Appeal of In-Store Shopping

Shoppers value the immediate sensory experience physical stores provide, particularly in grocery and clothing stores.

Woman Holding Shopping Bags

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This tactile advantage is something online shopping hasn’t quite matched yet, keeping the appeal of in-person purchases alive and well.

The Inconvenience of Online Returns

Online shopping loses its appeal with the hassle of returns, driving some customers back to the convenience of stores such as Dollar Tree.

Man watching laptop at desk

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Brick-and-mortar shops offer an ease that digital platforms struggle to match when it comes to immediate exchanges and refunds.

Retailers Risk Pushing Shoppers Away

Major retailers’ response to theft could deter customers if the shopping experience becomes overly burdensome, such as long lines at locked product cases.

Dollar Tree storefront

However, Dollar Tree’s CEO suggests that their stores might follow suit, potentially risking customer satisfaction.

The Rise of Locked Shelves

Dollar Tree CEO Rick Dreiling announced plans to secure merchandise behind the check stand or in locked cases.

Black Handled Key on Key Hole

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These new anti-theft measures are set to roll out in the latter half of the year, aiming to reduce shrinkage.


Discontinuing High-Theft Items

In an attempt to further reduce theft, Dollar Tree is considering eliminating certain items altogether from their shelves.In an attempt to further reduce theft, Dollar Tree is considering eliminating certain items altogether from their shelves.

Dollar Tree store

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These new anti-theft measures are seThis bold move reflects the company’s commitment to curbing retail crime but may impact product variety, risking customer satisfaction.


Organized Retail Crime Blamed for Closures

Target and other retailers attribute store closures to organized crime groups, emphasizing the need for a safe shopping environment.

Abandoned Target store

Source: Abandoned Targets of Canada

Dollar Tree’s new measures mirror these steps but raise the question of how it will ultimately impact the overall shopping experience.


Security vs. Customer Experience

As retailers like Dollar Tree take drastic steps to reduce theft, they must weigh the impact on the customer experience.

Person Holding Shopping Bag

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The key challenge is to ensure that security measures do not drive away the very customers they seek to serve.


Shrink Rates: A Stable yet Pressing Issue

Despite the perception of rampant theft, actual shrink rates show only a modest increase, suggesting that the retail crime wave may not be as severe as portrayed.

Woman Shopping

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Dollar Tree’s response aims to preemptively address this concern without evidence of a significant spike in theft.


Dollar Tree's Unique Market Position

With its niche in low-cost items, Dollar Tree might end up withstanding the downsides of locking up goods better than competitors.

Exterior of a Dollar Tree store

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However, inconvenience over small purchases might still push customers toward more accessible retailers who make products more readily available.


The Future of Shopping Security

As Dollar Tree and other major retailers increase their focus and defenses against theft, the retail landscape may see a shift in how consumers approach their shopping habits.

White CCTV

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Whether these changes will preserve the charm of in-store shopping or push more people online remains to be seen, but Dollar Tree’s bold move is sure to spark a conversation on the future of retail security.