A company I once worked for specialized, among other things, in footwear. The footwear section of the store was huge. So were the losses. We stocked anything from a cheap pair of flip-flops to the newest name brand running shoe. The area I covered as a Loss Prevention Manager was south Texas, to include stores along the US/Mexico border. Saying we had a shoplifting problem was an understatement. Even with the different anti-shoplifting devices we had throughout the store, we still found ourselves taking anywhere between 20-30 pairs of shoes out of inventory each night.
Our best guess was that we were dealing with gangs, and there wasn’t one single person responsible for our losses. As time went by, we discovered a plethora of ways that these boosters were stealing our shoes. Some techniques they used were pretty simple; walk in, grab as many boxes as one could hold and run out of the nearest emergency exit to a waiting vehicle. Others were a little more complex. I remember one shoplifter in particular that had targeted about a dozen of my stores. He would come in alone, and spend nearly 3-4 hours in the store, all without ever being detected by the store employees. One at a time, he would systematically remove entire runs of shoes, costing the store thousands of dollars. After grabbing a pair, he would walk around the store where he would remove the anti-shoplifting device, and place the shoes, minus the box, in a large trash bag he had hidden in a secluded area of the store. After his trash bag (or bags) were full, he would simply walk out of the front door.
The losses were so significant, I started trying different methods to securing the shoes with different tags. I remember we tested some ink tags on a newer shoe that had just arrived at the stores. We took the ink tag and ran it through the tongue of the shoe. It was clear when you opened the box, but it didn’t get in the way of the honest customer. The part my bosses liked the most was they were relatively inexpensive. I just hoped they would work. It took a few months for my booster to return to the area, and when he did I put a dent in his profits for a change.
One of my stores reported to me that they had witnessed him exiting the store, but without any product. Thinking they were most likely mistaken in their identification, I looked at the surveillance footage. Sure enough, it was my booster and he was leaving the store without any shoes. I ran back the cameras and saw him working in our shoe department. He was after the shoes that we had used the ink tags on. Each time he would open the box, he saw the tag and put the box back on the shelf. It was clear to me that he didn’t want to risk damaging his goods with ink. After that, we tagged all of our shoes in this manner and our losses have dropped significantly. While we still have shoplifters that are determined to steal, the use of that simple anti-shoplifting device was definitely a great investment.
For more information, contact us at Anti-Shoplifting, or call 1.770.426.0547