It Takes More Than Customer Service To Prevent Shoplifting

 

Prevent Shoplifting-4                                                                                                WC Blog 480
Alpha Security-4
Retail Anti-Theft Devices-4
It Takes More Than Customer Service To Prevent Shoplifting
     What is your preferred method to prevent shoplifting? It isn’t always comfortable to think about. It’s easy to tell sales associates to give great customer service but it can be quite another to actually do it. This is especially true when you believe someone intends to shoplift but they haven’t done anything dishonest yet. I have had quite a few situations where I had a strong suspicion someone was going to shoplift merchandise but was not in a position to observe and catch them. While those of us who have worked in Retail Loss Prevention will preach all day long about the value of customer service in reducing shortage the truth is it isn’t a cure-all in and of itself. There must be additional steps to prevent shoplifting and that includes the use of Alpha Security retail anti-theft devices.
     You may not be familiar with Alpha Security retail anti-theft devices and the products under the brand name. These devices are used to protect merchandise using electronic article surveillance (EAS) technology that works with EAS pedestals. The product line features cable locks, wraps and tags that can be placed on, over or around merchandise. From clothing to hard lines products almost any item sold can be protected with Alpha items. Most of the devices offer tamper protection that ensures an alarm will sound if a criminal attempts to remove a device from the merchandise or cut it off. If a would-be thief conceals a protected item and carries it out the doors by the pedestals an alarm is activated and lights in the pedestal flash. Alerts from the devices and the pedestals warn employees an attempted theft is taking place. Employees trained in proper responses “assist” the customer with receipt checks or customer service and recover merchandise. 
     Perhaps you are wondering why customer service alone would not be a feasible solution to prevent shoplifting. On the surface it sounds good to think that people won’t be able to steal if your associates are helping everyone. The truth is there are shoplifters who will take their time and if they sense they are under suspicion they will spend hours walking around “browsing” a store. As a salesfloor employee I had one couple who spent well over an hour in the office supply store where I work “browsing”. I had walked up on them as they were trying to open a package so I knew what they were doing. Nevertheless they would not quit trying. They would split up and go to other areas of the store they would pick up things, walk around and then put the item down somewhere else. It almost becomes a game. Even though most of the items I thought they had concealed in shopping bags were recovered I still suspected they had gotten away with some merchandise. 
     Other shoplifters will become aggressive and confront an employee in an attempt to intimidate the worker and get them to back off. Even when I was a Loss Prevention Manager I would have situations where the behaviors of a shoplifter made me feel stopping them could be dangerous. If I deemed the situation as such and the subject had concealed merchandise I would make my presence known and offer “aggressive” customer service. I recall such an incident and everywhere the shoplifter went I followed and would straighten shelves and merchandise. This particular “shopper” became very irate and threatened me if I didn’t stop following her. I innocently told her I did not know what she was referring to and that I was simply available if she needed assistance. She had concealed an item in her purse that did not have any retail anti-theft devices on it as far as I knew but I didn’t share that information with her. I also periodically backed off to where I could watch her but give her room to drop any products she might have. She neared the store exit, stopped and looked at me and asked if I was going to “arrest her” if she left. I told her I didn’t know what she was talking about. She then asked if she could leave. I told her that was her decision. She was yelling at me at this point wanting to know if I was going to stop her. She eventually walked out and no alarm sounded. Had an Alpha Security device been on it she probably would not have concealed in the first place or she would have dropped the item at the door.
      Customer service drives up sales but without using retail anti-theft devices it won’t be enough to stop theft significantly. Use Alpha Security products with customer service to prevent shoplifting and increase sales at the same time.
Alpha Security is important and we can help you with it. Call 1.866.914.2567 and let’s talk.  
 

What is your preferred method to prevent shoplifting? It isn’t always comfortable to think about. It’s easy to tell sales associates to give great customer service but it can be quite another to actually do it. This is especially true when you believe someone intends to shoplift but they haven’t done anything dishonest yet. I have had quite a few situations where I had a strong suspicion someone was going to shoplift merchandise but was not in a position to observe and catch them. While those of us who have worked in Retail Loss Prevention will preach all day long about the value of customer service in reducing shortage the truth is it isn’t a cure-all in and of itself. There must be additional steps to prevent shoplifting and that includes the use of Alpha Security retail anti-theft devices.

You may not be familiar with Alpha Security retail anti-theft devices and the products under the brand name. These devices are used to protect merchandise using electronic article surveillance (EAS) technology that works with EAS pedestals. The product line features cable locks, wraps and tags that can be placed on, over or around merchandise. From clothing to hard lines products almost any item sold can be protected with Alpha items. Most of the devices offer tamper protection that ensures an alarm will sound if a criminal attempts to remove a device from the merchandise or cut it off. If a would-be thief conceals a protected item and carries it out the doors by the pedestals an alarm is activated and lights in the pedestal flash. Alerts from the devices and the pedestals warn employees an attempted theft is taking place. Employees trained in proper responses “assist” the customer with receipt checks or customer service and recover merchandise. 

Perhaps you are wondering why customer service alone would not be a feasible solution to prevent shoplifting. On the surface it sounds good to think that people won’t be able to steal if your associates are helping everyone. The truth is there are shoplifters who will take their time and if they sense they are under suspicion they will spend hours walking around “browsing” a store. As a salesfloor employee I had one couple who spent well over an hour in the office supply store where I work “browsing”. I had walked up on them as they were trying to open a package so I knew what they were doing. Nevertheless they would not quit trying. They would split up and go to other areas of the store they would pick up things, walk around and then put the item down somewhere else. It almost becomes a game. Even though most of the items I thought they had concealed in shopping bags were recovered I still suspected they had gotten away with some merchandise. 

Other shoplifters will become aggressive and confront an employee in an attempt to intimidate the worker and get them to back off. Even when I was a Loss Prevention Manager I would have situations where the behaviors of a shoplifter made me feel stopping them could be dangerous. If I deemed the situation as such and the subject had concealed merchandise I would make my presence known and offer “aggressive” customer service. I recall such an incident and everywhere the shoplifter went I followed and would straighten shelves and merchandise. This particular “shopper” became very irate and threatened me if I didn’t stop following her. I innocently told her I did not know what she was referring to and that I was simply available if she needed assistance. She had concealed an item in her purse that did not have any retail anti-theft devices on it as far as I knew but I didn’t share that information with her. I also periodically backed off to where I could watch her but give her room to drop any products she might have. She neared the store exit, stopped and looked at me and asked if I was going to “arrest her” if she left. I told her I didn’t know what she was talking about. She then asked if she could leave. I told her that was her decision. She was yelling at me at this point wanting to know if I was going to stop her. She eventually walked out and no alarm sounded. Had an Alpha Security device been on it she probably would not have concealed in the first place or she would have dropped the item at the door.

Customer service drives up sales but without using retail anti-theft devices it won’t be enough to stop theft significantly. Use Alpha Security products with customer service to prevent shoplifting and increase sales at the same time.

 

Alpha Security is important and we can help you with it. Call 1.866.914.2567 and let’s talk.  
 

 

 

Improve Sales and Shrink With People Counting Systems

People Counting Systems -5                                                                                                      WC Blog 471
Door Counting Sensor – 4


Improve Sales and Shrink With People Counting Systems

     People counting systems may be more than just headcounters for stores. Consider the fact that not everyone entering your retail establishment is there to shop. Many stores have theft issues that are causing inventory control problems that have not been identified. It may be happening in your own locations. How many times do you look around and see people entering the store and leaving empty handed? The end of the day register tallies may indicate that sales are not too bad but there is little to judge that information against except the prior year sales records. 

     People counting systems track the number of people entering a store during the course of a day. A door counting sensor is not complicated it simply measures how many people tripped it as they walked in. What they do not do is provide any sales data but when daily transactions are compared to the number of customers who entered it paints a good picture of what may or may not be transpiring on the sales floor. Managers who use the information properly will analyze the information and assess if there is a reason for the people leaving without making a purchase. Does the issue lie with unidentified shoplifting, a customer service problem or a merchandising issue?  Door counting sensors will not give the answers but they will identify a problem.

     Is there theft taking place and that is why people counting systems show a disparity between sales and traffic? It is possible. To make a determination several steps would need to take place. First managers would need to look at electronic article surveillance (EAS) alarm responses. Stores that have EAS towers should be tracking alarm activations in a logbook. After answering an alarm employees write the information in the log and give the reason for the alarm and if merchandise was recovered. Did tagged merchandise set off the alarm and prevent a theft?  For stores without an electronic article surveillance system the difference between door counts and sales transactions is probably due to theft and in turn causing empty shelves sending customers other places for purchases. Stores with a Checkpoint System have an additional benefit that electronic article surveillance (EAS) alarm activations are tracked in a Smart Alarm Management system. This feature provides managers with an alarm activity report that is useful for tracking and managing the number of alarms and employee responses to those alarms.

     Consider that a door counting sensor will show people are coming and going but the traffic does not reflect in your sales data. It could be that customers are not making purchases because the merchandise just is not on your sales floor. Why is the floor empty when sales do not seem to match the amount of empty space you see? Customers could be leaving because shoplifters are stealing and therefore emptying your shelves. The EAS Smart Alarm Management tool would provide that data and you could begin to address theft issues.

      Another issue that stems from shoplifting is that employees may not be refilling the empty holes on the shelves resulting from the theft.  Patrons are not bothering to seek assistance and staff are not offering customer service to see what it is that patrons are looking for. People counting systems will not directly provide the information but it can be readily assessed from the reported data. It all ties in to the disparity between foot traffic and sales data but you HAVE to have the information and tools that will give head counts to get that information in order to act on it.


     Don’t rely on sales information as a reliable source of information for how your business is and could be performing. People counting systems can help you see what your potential sales might be and if there is a theft issue or customer service problem or both that could be hurting sales. Add profit by adding a door counting sensor and a Checkpoint system with Smart Alarm Management.
Need information on People Counting Systems? Give us a call at 1.866.914.2567 now.

People counting systems may be more than just headcounters for stores. Consider the fact that not everyone entering your retail establishment is there to shop. Many stores have theft issues that are causing inventory control problems that have not been identified. It may be happening in your own locations. How many times do you look around and see people entering the store and leaving empty handed? The end of the day register tallies may indicate that sales are not too bad but there is little to judge that information against except the prior year sales records. 
     

People counting systems track the number of people entering a store during the course of a day. A door counting sensor is not complicated it simply measures how many people tripped it as they walked in. What they do not do is provide any sales data but when daily transactions are compared to the number of customers who entered it paints a good picture of what may or may not be transpiring on the sales floor. Managers who use the information properly will analyze the information and assess if there is a reason for the people leaving without making a purchase. Does the issue lie with unidentified shoplifting, a customer service problem or a merchandising issue?  Door counting sensors will not give the answers but they will identify a problem.
     

Is there theft taking place and that is why people counting systems show a disparity between sales and traffic? It is possible. To make a determination several steps would need to take place. First managers would need to look at electronic article surveillance (EAS) alarm responses. Stores that have EAS towers should be tracking alarm activations in a logbook. After answering an alarm employees write the information in the log and give the reason for the alarm and if merchandise was recovered. Did tagged merchandise set off the alarm and prevent a theft?  For stores without an electronic article surveillance system the difference between door counts and sales transactions is probably due to theft and in turn causing empty shelves sending customers other places for purchases. Stores with a Checkpoint System have an additional benefit that electronic article surveillance (EAS) alarm activations are tracked in a Smart Alarm Management system. This feature provides managers with an alarm activity report that is useful for tracking and managing the number of alarms and employee responses to those alarms.
     

Consider that a door counting sensor will show people are coming and going but the traffic does not reflect in your sales data. It could be that customers are not making purchases because the merchandise just is not on your sales floor. Why is the floor empty when sales do not seem to match the amount of empty space you see? Customers could be leaving because shoplifters are stealing and therefore emptying your shelves. The EAS Smart Alarm Management tool would provide that data and you could begin to address theft issues.
     

Another issue that stems from shoplifting is that employees may not be refilling the empty holes on the shelves resulting from the theft.  Patrons are not bothering to seek assistance and staff are not offering customer service to see what it is that patrons are looking for. People counting systems will not directly provide the information but it can be readily assessed from the reported data. It all ties in to the disparity between foot traffic and sales data but you HAVE to have the information and tools that will give head counts to get that information in order to act on it.

 

Don’t rely on sales information as a reliable source of information for how your business is and could be performing. People counting systems can help you see what your potential sales might be and if there is a theft issue or customer service problem or both that could be hurting sales. Add profit by adding a door counting sensor and a Checkpoint system with Smart Alarm Management.

 

Need information on People Counting Systems? Give us a call at 1.866.914.2567 now.

 

Clothing Bundle Packages Need Clothing Security Tags Too!

Clothing security is important to me. I want to see stores keep merchandise out of the hands of shoplifters and available to customers like myself. It is also important to me as a consumer to be able to look at the merchandise I want to purchase. Retailer owners and managers I have a pet peeve I am going to share with you. Those cute little bundle packs of pajama sets that you like to put the cute little ribbon on are annoying! Ughhh, it is such a pain to try to take the ribbon off so I can see what a set looks like in order to decide if I want to purchase it as a gift. By the time I am done it looks like a bull went through a china shop. I have pajama tops strewn all over the place, bottoms on the floor and forget about the ribbons. Oh, I try to put them back in the proper bundles and my work speaks for itself. You should take a look at my gift wrapping techniques. I have had clerks walk up and tell me not to worry about my mess they would take care of it. What I think they meant was, please don’t shop in my department any more, just go away. The jaw drop is the giveaway for me when they are approaching from across the store. Along with the fact that bundles never go back together the way they were before I touched them there is the issue of clothing security. Usually the pajama top is the item that can be seen when wrapped. The pants are covered up so if the retailer is using Checkpoint tags to protect clothing from theft you are protecting the entire set.

 

 Checkpoint tags offered through Loss Prevention Systems Inc. are used to stop thieves from stealing your merchandise. The tags work in unison with Checkpoint electronic article surveillance (EAS) towers. The clothing security tags send out radio waves that operate on a specific frequency. These waves are picked up by the towers when tagged merchandise is carried into the detection field of the towers. Once a tag is detected the tower blares out a powerful alert that can be heard through a store and many towers have flashing lights that indicate a tag has been detected. Alert employees will answer the alarm and conduct receipt checks and resolve the reason for the alarm.  In most situations these alarms result in the recovery of merchandise or a purchase by the offender. A thief who has been confronted does not want to risk being prosecuted so it is not uncommon for them to say they forgot about the item or they thought the cashier rang it up. A trained employee can avoid creating a disturbance and diffuse a situation by offering an excuse for the “error” and providing an opportunity for a purchase or return of the goods.

 

 I realize some readers are concerned about what it might cost to continually purchase Checkpoint tags for all of the new merchandise that comes into the store. Think about those pajama bundles and how they seem to come in for different seasonal events especially Christmas and Valentine’s Day. And gosh, if I have to worry about increased sales because merchandise is available to purchase won’t I have to buy even more clothing security tags? The tags are reusable. When a garment is brought to the register the tag is removed by the cashier and placed in a bin so they can be put on new freight when it arrives. A special detachment tool is required to take tags off of merchandise. Unless a tool were to fall into the hands of a criminal there is little chance a tag can be forced off of a garment without causing damage to the product. Checkpoint tags can be used over and over and over again greatly reducing the need for replacements.

 

 Bundle your pajama sets together to drive sales and profits. Remember two things, first protect all of the pieces against shoplifting with Checkpoint tags. Second, don’t get mad at folks like me who unbundle your pretty packages and can’t seem to get them back together again correctly!

 

For more information about Checkpoint tags contact us or call 1.866.914.2567