Retail, big or small, is an increasingly competitive, cost sensitive environment, and while not every retailer can afford to have a full time loss prevention team, no retailer can afford to do nothing to stop shoplifting. Retailers need solutions but they don’t need a bigger payroll expense. Labor is time and time is money so solutions need to cover both of those issue and that is what investing in Electronic Article Surveillance provides.
When I teach LP associates and operations staff about theft and it’s shrink impact I address two points. The first: the people who cause loss. The second: that time is critical to success.
People, in my opinion, fall into three classes regarding theft. The first class is the Professionals, those who steal for a living and whom we will discuss later. On the opposite end of the spectrum comes the Honest Angels, folks who would stop at a roadside stand and pay for everything they take even though no one is around for miles. The Fence Sitters are the third, the largest, and the most diverse group and the one that Electronic Article Surveillance impacts the most. The motivations that drive their decisions to steal vary, like financial issues, family needs, an entitlement mind-set or simply the existence of opportunity. These people don’t chose theft as a profession, they choose it in a moment when need or opportunity outweigh morality. But in that moment when they choose to step off the fence the risk and fear of being caught is in the forefront of their minds. The presence of items like EAS Tags has a major impact on their choices.
Unprotected merchandise creates an opportunity for theft, and unseen protections like LP don’t always deter shoplifters. EAS Tags create a visual reminder of the risk, representing time, time needed to complete the theft. Time creates too much risk and the Fence Sitter won’t take that risk. In the end they leave your store. Your merchandise remains safe and available for your paying customers.
With the fence sitting population covered let’s look back at the professional thieves, the boosters who make their living stealing your livelihood, from you. Electronic Article Surveillance impacts their actions as well but in a different manner than the Fence sitters. For boosters It boils down to a single factor, time! Successful boosters have an average time in a store of under 5 minutes. Even a full LP team has a hard time spotting and apprehending boosters with that small of a window. It is here that EAS Tags do serious work to stop shoplifting by the boosters.
Boosters removing tags takes time and time increases their chance of being caught. Professional thieves look to maximize their profit while minimizing their risk and effort. Merchandise protections removes these two elements, reducing the draw for the boosters. Even without LP in your store the presence of Electronic Article Surveillance works to stop shoplifting by increasing the risk to the booster, creating a deterrent.
In the end it is all about time. Extra time and effort spent by determined boosters increases LP’s success rate against them, saving your profit and increasing the return on investment for having LP. The visual deterrent of Electronic Article Surveillance increases the time the fence sitters think about their choice, causing them to give up, saving your profit. Most important is the time you save stressing about profits. Time is priceless and isn’t it about time you got to ease your mind?
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