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.