Clothing Shortage Can Be An Easy Fix With Checkpoint Tags
According to the 2015 Global Retail Theft Report Apparel Specialist retailers in North America experienced the second highest shrinkage rate of all the respondent categories, second only to pharmacies and drugstores. The sad part is, in my opinion, this is unnecessary. Clothing security does not have to be complicated and with the right steps any clothing store can bring shortage down. Using Checkpoint tags to deter theft is a step in the right direction.
Checkpoint tags for clothing are designed to be a visual deterrent and a physical prevention measure. Attached to a garment these devices are nearly impossible to remove without a detachment key available to retailers from Checkpoint. Attempts to pry or forcibly remove clothing security tags generally results in damaged merchandise. Most criminals are already aware of the problems they will encounter if they steal merchandise with Checkpoint tags and avoid them for other merchandise which is not tagged. This is the visual deterrence effect. Seeing the devices sends the crook to other merchandise and preferably other stores. Aside from being difficult to remove, clothing security tags are also acoustic magnetic or radio frequency compatible meaning they will activate the electronic article surveillance (EAS) antennas at the front doors. This is my hint: if your store(s) does not have an EAS system I highly recommend investing in one.
Along with Checkpoint tags, other steps you can implement for clothing security include having a trained employee at your fitting room. I worked in Loss Prevention for one particular big box retailer that had fitting rooms and occasionally they had a fitting room attendant, but not consistently. When the fitting room attendant was present it was a hit or miss proposition on how well they would do their job. I will only add that we had a lot of empty hangers and clothing tickets on the stall floors. An effective fitting room strategy means limiting the number of items someone may take into a fitting room and keeping it to a reasonable number. Too many items and it becomes difficult for an employee to monitor everyone. Require a number system that hands a patron a number that corresponds to the number of garments they are taking in a fitting room. Do not permit a patron to carry more in unless they exchange an item they already tried on.
Fitting room attendants must also be trained to be firm and physically handle all clothing items being taken into the fitting room. Shoplifters will layer clothes on a hanger, hide merchandise between clothes and partially lift an item to show there is nothing underneath. Clothing security is only going to work if the attendant is aware of the tricks thieves will attempt to play on them. The employee must also count all of the merchandise coming out of the room and if there is something missing, the customer must be required to go back in and retrieve the item. Shoplifters like to tell the employee they left an item in the room and when the employee goes back to check, the shoplifter has left the area.
When an EAS system is installed, clothing security will also require a trained cashier team. They need to understand the importance of removing clothing security tags from all merchandise. Failing to remove tags causes alarms and eventually results in complacency on the part of staff who responds to alarms. Thieves understand that in stores where alarms occur frequently people stop being thorough in their efforts to resolve alarms and simply wave people out the door. Minimizing cashier errors and training people to follow up properly on EAS alarms will result in recovered clothing and when shoplifters understand this, they will take their business elsewhere.
A focus on clothing security will pay big dividends. Use Checkpoint tags and install an EAS antenna system in your store. This, along with attention at the fitting room and you will be well on the way to dramatically reducing shortage and increasing profitability.
For more information on Checkpoint tags, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547