Failing To Deactivate Sensormatic Labels: An LP Manager’s Faux Pas



Electronic Article Surveillance – 4                                                                                     WC Blog 702
Sensormatic Labels -3

Failing To Deactivate Sensormatic Labels: An LP Manager’s Faux Pas

     I recently wrote an article about problems electronic article surveillance labels can cause when stores go to an online order and pick-up system. Wouldn’t you know it? I end up being guilty of what I warned readers about. I don’t know if I should feel vindicated or just silly. Here is what happened; I was working at my retail job and a customer came in to pick up her online order, ink jet cartridges.  The cartridges had been processed and were in a bag in the pick-up area. I retrieved the bag and rang up the order and since it was paid online the paperwork is just a formality to ensure the right person is getting the merchandise. I processed her paperwork and at the same time was getting other calls to assist customers on the salesfloor. I thanked her for making the purchase and hurried to ring the next customer so I could get to the patron needing my assistance on the floor as it was that kind of day. The next thing I knew the Sensormatic tower was alarming and it was the customer with the online order, I forgot to deactivate the concealed Sensormatic labels inside the box containing the ink cartridges that had already been bagged up. I had to sheepishly apologize as she stood there looking rather annoyed at me.

     What was particularly frustrating for me in this case is I am a former Loss Prevention Manager and I know about source tagged merchandise. Sensormatic labels can be applied to merchandise in one of two methods. They can be placed inside of packaging by the manufacturer, built into Manufacture hang tags or into a store UPC code. They may also be placed on merchandise by store personnel. In most instances if the store is placing the electronic article surveillance labels on products the label will be in a visible location. There are two schools of thought on the placement of labels. One line of thinking is that visible labels are more of a deterrent because shoplifters will see the anti-theft device and leave the product alone. The other thought is that if labels are concealed it puts a question mark on every item in a store for a crook. Personally I see advantages to both. The biggest advantage of source tagging is that it removes that task from the store so payroll can be focused elsewhere. Whichever method of protecting merchandise a store manager chooses it is important to remember that every label or tag going through a point of sale must be deactivated or removed.

     As illustrated in my story, failing to deactivate Sensormatic labels or remove hard tags can create a poor shopping experience for paying customers. They may have had a great time shopping and employees may have offered up exceptional service but if that patron walks out the door and that alarm sounds all of the positive experiences may be wiped out. This is true no matter how quickly an employee responds to the alarm or how profusely apologetic a manager may be for the error. If it happens too frequently to that customer they may stop visiting for a while or make negative comments to friends and family. That can impact sales on the store down the road.

     Failure to regularly deactivate or remove electronic article surveillance labels can also cause cashiers and supervisors to become lackadaisical in responding to alarms. With alarms sounding all of the time due to cashier error or faulty equipment I have seen employees stop responding to towers as they signal alerts that a tag is going out the door. It is also noticed by shoplifters who decide that the store really doesn’t care about whether a person sets off the alarm. They believe (and are probably right more often than not) that they will get away with their criminal activity.

     Don’t let the specter of false alarms keep you from tagging merchandise or worse, not invest in an electronic article surveillance system at all. Sensormatic security systems will reduce theft. When the equipment is tested regularly and your employees are properly trained on deactivating and removing labels and tags you will save money and chase away criminal elements. When a system is used properly the occasional error by a former Loss Prevention Manager isn’t going to harm your business, just don’t let him cashier too often.
Electronic Article Surveillance is important and we can help you with it. Call 1.866.914.2567 and let’s talk.
     

     

I recently wrote an article about problems electronic article surveillance labels can cause when stores go to an online order and pick-up system. Wouldn’t you know it? I end up being guilty of what I warned readers about. I don’t know if I should feel vindicated or just silly. Here is what happened; I was working at my retail job and a customer came in to pick up her online order, ink jet cartridges.  The cartridges had been processed and were in a bag in the pick-up area. I retrieved the bag and rang up the order and since it was paid online the paperwork is just a formality to ensure the right person is getting the merchandise. I processed her paperwork and at the same time was getting other calls to assist customers on the salesfloor. I thanked her for making the purchase and hurried to ring the next customer so I could get to the patron needing my assistance on the floor as it was that kind of day. The next thing I knew the Sensormatic tower was alarming and it was the customer with the online order, I forgot to deactivate the concealed Sensormatic labels inside the box containing the ink cartridges that had already been bagged up. I had to sheepishly apologize as she stood there looking rather annoyed at me.
     

What was particularly frustrating for me in this case is I am a former Loss Prevention Manager and I know about source tagged merchandise. Sensormatic labels can be applied to merchandise in one of two methods. They can be placed inside of packaging by the manufacturer, built into Manufacture hang tags or into a store UPC code. They may also be placed on merchandise by store personnel. In most instances if the store is placing the electronic article surveillance labels on products the label will be in a visible location. There are two schools of thought on the placement of labels. One line of thinking is that visible labels are more of a deterrent because shoplifters will see the anti-theft device and leave the product alone. The other thought is that if labels are concealed it puts a question mark on every item in a store for a crook. Personally I see advantages to both. The biggest advantage of source tagging is that it removes that task from the store so payroll can be focused elsewhere. Whichever method of protecting merchandise a store manager chooses it is important to remember that every label or tag going through a point of sale must be deactivated or removed.
     

As illustrated in my story, failing to deactivate Sensormatic labels or remove hard tags can create a poor shopping experience for paying customers. They may have had a great time shopping and employees may have offered up exceptional service but if that patron walks out the door and that alarm sounds all of the positive experiences may be wiped out. This is true no matter how quickly an employee responds to the alarm or how profusely apologetic a manager may be for the error. If it happens too frequently to that customer they may stop visiting for a while or make negative comments to friends and family. That can impact sales on the store down the road.
     

Failure to regularly deactivate or remove electronic article surveillance labels can also cause cashiers and supervisors to become lackadaisical in responding to alarms. With alarms sounding all of the time due to cashier error or faulty equipment I have seen employees stop responding to towers as they signal alerts that a tag is going out the door. It is also noticed by shoplifters who decide that the store really doesn’t care about whether a person sets off the alarm. They believe (and are probably right more often than not) that they will get away with their criminal activity.
     

Don’t let the specter of false alarms keep you from tagging merchandise or worse, not invest in an electronic article surveillance system at all. Sensormatic security systems will reduce theft. When the equipment is tested regularly and your employees are properly trained on deactivating and removing labels and tags you will save money and chase away criminal elements. When a system is used properly the occasional error by a former Loss Prevention Manager isn’t going to harm your business, just don’t let him cashier too often.

 

Electronic Article Surveillance is important and we can help you with it. Call 1.866.914.2567 and let’s talk.     
     

 

“Safer” Ways To Stop Shoplifting


Electronic Article Surveillance – 3                                                                                           WC Blog 701
Stop Shoplifting -3

“Safer” Ways To Stop Shoplifting

     As someone who has been involved in retail loss prevention as an associate and a manager I have been using electronic article surveillance products for better than 28 years. I have used different styles of tags and labels over the course of my career. One problem I have found with tagging of merchandise is some pegged items can present challenges.  Lower price point products may be easy to protect with a soft label. Slap it on, don’t cover any critical information such as a warning label and you are good to go. For other things you want more protection but wraps don’t work well to stop shoplifting. There may be a long cardboard peg hook tab that only folds over and prevents a wrap from being properly tightened down. When this happens the wrap can be slipped off of the merchandise and makes it an easier target for thieves. So are there any solutions? You could lock up those expensive items in a locking display case that’s a pretty safe alternative. That strategy does have problems and the biggest is inconvenience. It is inconvenient to your customers, to your staff and can result in lost sales. There is a better alternative and that is the use of Sensormatic Flexible Safers to protect these items.

     Safers sound secure and they should since they are designed by one of the leaders in retail anti-theft technology. Made of layers of strong, lightweight plastics laminated together and possessing electronic article surveillance technology these anti-theft devices provide powerful deterrence to criminal activity. If the item you want to protect is small they give size to it. Crooks like to take things that are small and have some value. They look for items that can be resold, traded for drugs or fraudulently returned and make some money for their effort. As an example, a thief isn’t going to steal a $2 box of Crayola colored pencils from your store if they can steal a $20 box of Prisma colored pencils. Both are peg hook items and I have even tried to place a security wrap on a metal box of Prisma pencils. It is not easy and to be honest the Safer would be a more secure alternative since the wrap has to be worked around the peg hook tab. The safer allows the item to be placed inside the device and the safer is secured. Patrons can pick up the merchandise, look at the item, read about the product but if they try to walk out with it the Safer sets off the Sensormatic electronic alarm system near the front doors. The safer and the towers are often enough to stop shoplifting but when that occasional kleptomaniac decides to try to sneak something out anyways the alarm system sounds. Employees respond to alarms at the doors and recover merchandise and prevent the loss to the store.

     The question then is if the shoplifter is deterred by the Safer won’t they try to steal those $2 Crayola pencils as an alternative? That is a very real possibility if you don’t take the time to protect all of your merchandise. If I was giving advice to a store owner I would suggest that the cheaper merchandise be tagged with a Sensormatic electronic article surveillance label. Use Flexible Safers and hard tags on your higher price point items. I don’t have the ability to address every type of retailer and their needs in this article. There are so many different types of retailers out there that each should have specialized assistance to get sound advice for their particular store. Based on my experience as a Loss Prevention Manager I would recommend Loss prevention Systems, Inc. as a resource with the trained staff that can answer questions for your store.

     So back to my original point, some items are just plain ol’ ornery when it comes to protecting them, especially pegged goods. You don’t want to lock them up because your team is going to constantly make trips to the stockroom or the customers will just get irritated when they can’t get help to get the merchandise and they will leave. The price of the item may be a cause for concern to you that a security label is not sufficient to dissuade a crook. The Flexible Safer is the solution for you. You keep your merchandise available to your honest customers while at the same time you stop shoplifting. It’s a win-win solution for everyone but the bad guy.

     Don’t allow shoplifters to frustrate the way you display merchandise. Also don’t let their actions create hassles for your employees or your customers. Use Flexible Safers and put out all the pegged items you want to drive sales.
Electronic Article Surveillance is important and we can help you with it. Call 1.866.914.2567 and let’s talk.

As someone who has been involved in retail loss prevention as an associate and a manager I have been using electronic article surveillance products for better than 28 years. I have used different styles of tags and labels over the course of my career. One problem I have found with tagging of merchandise is some pegged items can present challenges.  Lower price point products may be easy to protect with a soft label. Slap it on, don’t cover any critical information such as a warning label and you are good to go. For other things you want more protection but wraps don’t work well to stop shoplifting. There may be a long cardboard peg hook tab that only folds over and prevents a wrap from being properly tightened down. When this happens the wrap can be slipped off of the merchandise and makes it an easier target for thieves. So are there any solutions? You could lock up those expensive items in a locking display case that’s a pretty safe alternative. That strategy does have problems and the biggest is inconvenience. It is inconvenient to your customers, to your staff and can result in lost sales. There is a better alternative and that is the use of Sensormatic Flexible Safers to protect these items.
     

Safers sound secure and they should since they are designed by one of the leaders in retail anti-theft technology. Made of layers of strong, lightweight plastics laminated together and possessing electronic article surveillance technology these anti-theft devices provide powerful deterrence to criminal activity. If the item you want to protect is small they give size to it. Crooks like to take things that are small and have some value. They look for items that can be resold, traded for drugs or fraudulently returned and make some money for their effort. As an example, a thief isn’t going to steal a $2 box of Crayola colored pencils from your store if they can steal a $20 box of Prisma colored pencils. Both are peg hook items and I have even tried to place a security wrap on a metal box of Prisma pencils. It is not easy and to be honest the Safer would be a more secure alternative since the wrap has to be worked around the peg hook tab. The safer allows the item to be placed inside the device and the safer is secured. Patrons can pick up the merchandise, look at the item, read about the product but if they try to walk out with it the Safer sets off the Sensormatic electronic alarm system near the front doors. The safer and the towers are often enough to stop shoplifting but when that occasional kleptomaniac decides to try to sneak something out anyways the alarm system sounds. Employees respond to alarms at the doors and recover merchandise and prevent the loss to the store.
     

The question then is if the shoplifter is deterred by the Safer won’t they try to steal those $2 Crayola pencils as an alternative? That is a very real possibility if you don’t take the time to protect all of your merchandise. If I was giving advice to a store owner I would suggest that the cheaper merchandise be tagged with a Sensormatic electronic article surveillance label. Use Flexible Safers and hard tags on your higher price point items. I don’t have the ability to address every type of retailer and their needs in this article. There are so many different types of retailers out there that each should have specialized assistance to get sound advice for their particular store. Based on my experience as a Loss Prevention Manager I would recommend Loss prevention Systems, Inc. as a resource with the trained staff that can answer questions for your store.
     

So back to my original point, some items are just plain ol’ ornery when it comes to protecting them, especially pegged goods. You don’t want to lock them up because your team is going to constantly make trips to the stockroom or the customers will just get irritated when they can’t get help to get the merchandise and they will leave. The price of the item may be a cause for concern to you that a security label is not sufficient to dissuade a crook. The Flexible Safer is the solution for you. You keep your merchandise available to your honest customers while at the same time you stop shoplifting. It’s a win-win solution for everyone but the bad guy.
     

Don’t allow shoplifters to frustrate the way you display merchandise. Also don’t let their actions create hassles for your employees or your customers. Use Flexible Safers and put out all the pegged items you want to drive sales.

 

Electronic Article Surveillance is important and we can help you with it. Call 1.866.914.2567 and let’s talk.

 

Clothing Security Can Be A Problem In The New ERA Of Online Ordering And Parking Lot Pick-Ups Part 2

I am picking up where I left off in Part 1 with issues regarding online orders, pickups and problems that may not be foreseen including Sensormatic tags not being removed. I began considering this problem while working at my retail job as a sales specialist. It then took on a much larger scope when I saw reserved parking places at a Target store and a grocery retailer. I described in Part 1 how part of my job responsibilities include picking merchandise for orders that come through our mobile devices. Some of these orders are for in-store pickup and others I package and ship out via a delivery service. I thought about how easy it would be for me or anyone else to forget to remove or deactivate a retail anti-theft device from goods prior to shipping them or handing them to the customer. Drawing upon my Loss Prevention experiences I realized that it could be a big deal for businesses that sell garments. Fail to remove clothing security tags and the customer who receives the shipment won’t be able to wear it.  But this is not the only opportunity I thought about with online ordering and curbside delivery. What I would like to do is share some of the wins of an online service as well as other potential problems or challenges these services can present.

WINS:

  • Online orders open a world of new opportunities to sell products to customers who may never step foot into your city or town let alone your business. If they aren’t local the merchandise can be shipped to them. If they are local the store may see increased foot traffic. The first purchase may be a curbside delivery but that customer may come in on another trip.
  • Many customers today are busy and want a quick trip to the store. The ability to order and pick-up provides flexibility to the on-the-go consumer who has a jam packed schedule.
  • If a customer has a disability online ordering and curbside delivery provide a convenience so the customer does not have to get out of the vehicle to pick up what they need.
  • More customers shopping and ordering from your store online decreases the potential for shoplifting to a certain extent.

OPPORTUNITIES:

  • If shipping merchandise out of the store how are you adding in the shipping costs? If you do add in a shipping cost is that going to dissuade some people from ordering? 
  • It is easy to forget about clothing security tags and other Sensormatic tags during the preparation process for shipping. I already covered the problem of clothes being received with a tag still on it but if the merchandise has a security label on it and it has not been detuned that can be an issue. For example if the item is a medicine box and the customer keeps the box in a purse or backpack to prevent the contents from spilling and they enter a store with an electronic article surveillance system they could set off an alarm. This could be an embarrassing moment for that customer.
  • While online orders may increase your overall presence with a quality website and search optimization there is the loss of opportunity for the impulse sales. Customers won’t be walking into the store so they won’t be influenced by your displays and signage. 

The reduced foot traffic is probably my biggest concern with the growing trend of online ordering and pick-ups. According to an article posted in Fox Business on Feb 24, 2018, “You Won’t Believe What the Average American Spends On Impulse Buys”, “The average American will spend more than $300,000 on “impulse buys” during their adult lifetime…”.  The article goes on to describe what types of things Americans will purchase on impulse. Included in the list are vacations, household items, unplanned food purchases and yes, clothing. That is a LOT of impulse buying not coming into a store. I don’t want to see stores hit by shoplifting and if you are using clothing security tags on your merchandise you can avoid most of that activity. I DO want to see customers entering your store.

 

If you are going to compete in the new market of online buying you are going to have to find creative ways to market to these shoppers but you also cannot neglect the shoppers still coming in to visit in the traditional manner. Use Sensormatic security tags to protect merchandise from theft and don’t forget to remove or deactivate them before shipping or delivering. Adapt to the new shopper but don’t forget the traditional customer or neglect merchandise protection as you do so.

 

Clothing security tags are important and we can help you with it. Call 1.966.914.2567 and let’s talk.