Walgreens’ Theft-Proof Makeover

By: James Flippin · June 07, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Let Us Do the Shopping

A Walgreens (WBA) in Chicago just got a fresh design.

The renovated corner store has only two small aisles with five-foot high shelves stocked with low cost essentials such as bandages and groceries. Everything else is stored behind the counter, accompanied by a sign reading, “Let us do the shopping.” If you want to purchase a higher value product, you must order it from an in-store kiosk and a clerk will retrieve it for you.

Despite a lack of confirmation from Walgreens, many assume the new layout was implemented to cut down on theft.

Enhancing the Experience

Walgreens’ official statement is that this new store layout is intended to “enhance the experience of customers and team members.” They also want to use a design focused on “shopping digitally for convenience.”

At the same time, shoplifting has been a hot topic lately on Walgreens earning calls. Over recent years, the drugstore chain claims theft has led to a jump in shrink, harming its bottom line.

Walgreens execs have also warned investors about the ongoing risk of organized retail crime. CFO James Kehoe even stated there are “gangs that go in and empty our stores of beauty products.”

Necessity or Overstep?

From Walgreens’ perspective, the new store layout might be a necessity to curb theft. But, for some customers, it’s nothing but a headache.

Residents expressed the redesign is confusing, arguably discriminatory, and overall demonstrates a lack of trust in customers. Also, requiring employees to do the shopping for every single customer could lead to longer lines and an ultimately inconvenient experience at the convenience store.

On the flip side, some actually prefer the new layout, considering it a step up in terms of cleanliness and organization.

Like it or not, if the change is successful in curbing theft without hurting sales, it could influence other locations to adopt the redesign — and other companies to follow Walgreens’ lead.

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