Retailers are constantly protecting their stores against theft and fraud by focusing much of their resources to prevent shoplifting. When I look back on my many years in the Loss Prevention field, I can reflect on how much of our retail anti-theft devices were geared to stop shoplifters. What I don’t see enough of is a focus on preventing internal theft. Here is what I mean; when you enter most national chain stores today you walk through electronic article surveillance antennas. You may look up and see yourself on a public view camera and monitor as you stop to pick up a shopping cart. It is possible you are greeted or at least acknowledged by some type of door greeter or security personnel. As you shop you find that many items are protected with anti-theft devices such as Alpha Spider Wrap and other Alpha hard tags. Even when an employee greets you in a department it is, in part, to make potential shoplifters aware that someone knows they are in the area. While retail anti-theft devices may prevent some internal theft, most retailers use them to prevent shoplifting. So, even if all of a store’s shoplifting prevention strategies work perfectly and all shoplifting is eliminated, only about 40 – 45 percent of losses are stopped. That store will still experience approximately 45 percent of the remaining shortage due to internal theft. My point is I don’t believe stores use their protection devices to their maximum effectiveness.
I cannot recall in my experiences ever seeing loading dock doors or vendor entrance doors protected with electronic article surveillance antennas. Rarely have I seen employee entrances protected with EAS antennas. I have also seen stores where complacency has set in and when an employee is exiting through the main doors where EAS antennas are located, if the alarm goes off, no one pays too much attention. My concern with backroom areas and vendor doors is that your vendors and employees go in and out and if someone is dishonest, it is the perfect location to take out merchandise that is protected with retail anti-theft devices. An employee can leave stolen merchandise outside and have it picked up by a friend. A vendor could be taking out boxes and have merchandise hidden. How thorough are your loading dock procedures in checking on vendors when they leave your store?
Alpha hard tags are available to protect nearly any type of merchandise. Alpha has retail anti-theft devices for clothing, electronics, health and beauty products, eyewear and even the hang tags for peg hook merchandise. Many of these devices are tamper proof and all will work with a store EAS system. They have little value to a store if there is no EAS antenna at a door to sound an alarm if a device is walked out through that door. This is where I believe stores do themselves a disservice by failing to protect even the backdoors and employee entrances with EAS antennas. If almost half of your store losses are due to employee theft, wouldn’t it make sense to protect those doors used primarily by employees?
You may be thinking to yourself, “Why do I need to spend money on antennas for my back doors? Only my managers can open it and we have policies that don’t allow the door to be left unattended.” I would point out that in my nearly 20 years of Loss Prevention experience I have seen countless violations of security procedures. There are always justifications such as, “We are supposed to keep the compactor locked, but a manager doesn’t have time to come back here every time someone needs to throw something out.” Or, “We don’t allow employees to use the vendor door to go outside for smoke breaks.” Yet during overnight surveillances of overnight teams I would see exactly these violations. It’s always easy to say a policy prevents dishonesty but oddly enough, I rarely found that dishonest employees were entirely concerned about following policies. You may think employee package checks are thorough or back doors are always monitored when opened but I can assure you a dishonest employee could be getting merchandise out and you would not know it. Alpha hard tags would activate antennas at those doors if employees or vendors were sneaking merchandise out, whether the merchandise is hidden or not.
Don’t allow your retail anti-theft devices to be used at only fifty percent of their potential. Prevent shoplifting AND employee theft at the same time. Secure ALL of your doors with EAS antennas and protect all of your products with Alpha products and watch your shrinkage shrink!
For more information on retail anti-theft devices, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547