EAS labels

Clothing Security Can Be A Problem In The New ERA Of Online Ordering And Parking Lot Pick-Ups Part 1

 

Sensormatic hard tag: need 2
people counting
clothing security: need 2
safer

clothing Security-4                                                                                                       WC Blog 692
Sensormatic tags-3

Clothing Security Can Be A Problem In The New ERA Of Online Ordering And Parking Lot Pick-Ups Part 1

     Recently I am seeing more drive and pick-up parking spaces and I got to thinking about how it relates to clothing security and other theft protection efforts. It only seems to be recently that I saw the delivery parking places pop up in locations like WalMart, Target, and even a grocery store chain near where I live. In the store I work for we have been doing what are called Omni orders over the past year or so. All of these are designed to make a faster shopping experience for customers so they can make purchases online and pick them up without having to go into a store. Personally I see good and bad aspects to this strategy. One of my concerns involves the handling of Sensormatic tags and labels used to prevent shoplifting. 

     As I consider the process of Omni orders in our store I can see where there may be problems for other retailers. Our store does not sell any clothing we aren’t that type of retailer but having filled orders I am in a position to see the potential pitfalls for those stores that do sell clothing. When stores like the one I work at are using Sensormatic tags and labels on merchandise we are trying to prevent theft. We are deterring shoplifters and even employees who would try to steal when we put retail anti-theft devices on products. Crooks are well aware that tagged goods are going to set off those electronic article surveillance (EAS) towers we have at the front doors. Before we finish a transaction we have to use deactivation pads to detune EAS labels or we have to use a detachment tool to remove a hard tag or wrap. In those stores where I worked as a Loss Prevention Manager or Associate and softlines products were sold we had to remove the clothing security tags at the points of sale. If labels are not detuned it is a nuisance to customers as they walk out of a store. If a hard tag isn’t removed a whole new problem is created for the patron. Aside from the alarm it causes if no one responds the patron may simply leave. If the patron gets home and a tag is still on the merchandise the product can’t be worn and then you have to deal with a very angry customer when they come back. As a Loss Prevention Associate for a department store I would see this problem as shoppers would walk into our store from the mall. I remember being involved with a number of situations when a customer had a proper receipt from another store but that location failed to remove  clothing security tags. The shopper was embarrassed and after verifying the receipt and product matched I would escort the customer back to that store and seek assistance in having a tag removed.

      That brings me back to my concern with these new online orders being shipped from stores. The process for our company goes something like this. An alert pops on our mobile device. We are prompted on the items to pull and we go through the list picking the pieces. We then box the goods up for shipment and print the packing list and shipping label and ready it for delivery pick-up. We also have in-store pick-ups for online orders that are processed in a similar manner. When these orders involve hard tagged merchandise we have to ensure the tags are removed before they are shipped off or turned over to the customer. Now what happens when the store is one that sells shoes, shirts, jeans, dresses, etc. and protects items with clothing security tags? Having been involved in the shipping process I can see where it would be easy to overlook the critical step of removing anti-theft devices. Ship off an article of clothing with the security tag still attached and you are going to have one extremely agitated customer who can’t wear the product. This can create a horrible customer service fiasco.

     In Part 2 I want to talk a bit more about the advantages and disadvantages of the online shopping experience. I want to be clear that I am in total favor of the use of Sensormatic tags and efforts to stop theft. I am also in favor of owners finding new ways to increase sales and being open to finding new ways to reach additional customers. I only want retailers to be careful in their strategies and not follow a trend for the sake of a trend but to look for the potential pitfalls a strategy may carry.

Need information on clothing security? Give us a call at 1.866.914.2567 now. 

Recently I am seeing more drive and pick-up parking spaces and I got to thinking about how it relates to clothing security and other theft protection efforts. It only seems to be recently that I saw the delivery parking places pop up in locations like WalMart, Target, and even a grocery store chain near where I live. In the store I work for we have been doing what are called Omni orders over the past year or so. All of these are designed to make a faster shopping experience for customers so they can make purchases online and pick them up without having to go into a store. Personally I see good and bad aspects to this strategy. One of my concerns involves the handling of Sensormatic tags and labels used to prevent shoplifting. 
     

As I consider the process of Omni orders in our store I can see where there may be problems for other retailers. Our store does not sell any clothing we aren’t that type of retailer but having filled orders I am in a position to see the potential pitfalls for those stores that do sell clothing. When stores like the one I work at are using Sensormatic tags and labels on merchandise we are trying to prevent theft. We are deterring shoplifters and even employees who would try to steal when we put retail anti-theft devices on products. Crooks are well aware that tagged goods are going to set off those electronic article surveillance (EAS) towers we have at the front doors. Before we finish a transaction we have to use deactivation pads to detune EAS labels or we have to use a detachment tool to remove a hard tag or wrap. In those stores where I worked as a Loss Prevention Manager or Associate and softlines products were sold we had to remove the clothing security tags at the points of sale. If labels are not detuned it is a nuisance to customers as they walk out of a store. If a hard tag isn’t removed a whole new problem is created for the patron. Aside from the alarm it causes if no one responds the patron may simply leave. If the patron gets home and a tag is still on the merchandise the product can’t be worn and then you have to deal with a very angry customer when they come back. As a Loss Prevention Associate for a department store I would see this problem as shoppers would walk into our store from the mall. I remember being involved with a number of situations when a customer had a proper receipt from another store but that location failed to remove  clothing security tags. The shopper was embarrassed and after verifying the receipt and product matched I would escort the customer back to that store and seek assistance in having a tag removed.
     

That brings me back to my concern with these new online orders being shipped from stores. The process for our company goes something like this. An alert pops on our mobile device. We are prompted on the items to pull and we go through the list picking the pieces. We then box the goods up for shipment and print the packing list and shipping label and ready it for delivery pick-up. We also have in-store pick-ups for online orders that are processed in a similar manner. When these orders involve hard tagged merchandise we have to ensure the tags are removed before they are shipped off or turned over to the customer. Now what happens when the store is one that sells shoes, shirts, jeans, dresses, etc. and protects items with clothing security tags? Having been involved in the shipping process I can see where it would be easy to overlook the critical step of removing anti-theft devices. Ship off an article of clothing with the security tag still attached and you are going to have one extremely agitated customer who can’t wear the product. This can create a horrible customer service fiasco.
     

In Part 2 I want to talk a bit more about the advantages and disadvantages of the online shopping experience. I want to be clear that I am in total favor of the use of Sensormatic tags and efforts to stop theft. I am also in favor of owners finding new ways to increase sales and being open to finding new ways to reach additional customers. I only want retailers to be careful in their strategies and not follow a trend for the sake of a trend but to look for the potential pitfalls a strategy may carry.

 

Need information on clothing security? Give us a call at 1.866.914.2567 now. 

 

 

What A Security System Can Save You In Shrink? Try The Free Loss Prevention Calculator To Find Out

There are moments where we are considering investing in something and wish there was something like the Loss Prevention ROI Calculator available to help us decide if it is worth the investment. For example, several years ago I bought a printer from the store I work at and a new ink program from the manufacturer had just rolled out. I had to decide if the investment in signing up for the new program was worth it. I had two sons in college so I knew the printer was going to get a lot of use. The problem was I didn’t know how much printing would be done and trying to calculate that and how many prints I would get from an ink cartridge was difficult. I finally came to the conclusion it was “probably” worth the $10 a month to sign up for the ink program ($120 a year) vs. the guestimated amount of printing all the college papers would require. Well, the investment was worth it in the end and after the boys graduated I was able to drop to the next lower pricing scale of $5 a month. Retail owners have to make similar decisions when they are evaluating store inventory shortage numbers. Do they continue to take financial losses due to theft and operational errors or invest in a retail security system? If only there were a tool that would help make that determination in regards to return on investment.

 

The truth of the matter is, such a tool does exist. Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. (LPSI) is a company which helps retailer owners stop theft and shrinkage in stores, especially small and medium sized businesses. They provide information and training on shortage reduction but clients were asking about Retail Security Systems and if it was worth the investment or if they could even afford to purchase a system. LPSI created the Free Loss Prevention Calculator to address the issue. The link to calculator is found on the top of the LPSI webpage. The owner or manager only needs to key in their estimated annual sales and how much money they can spend on a Sensormatic security system. The calculator uses a flat estimated shrink of 1.2% (the average losses of a retail store in a year) and an assumed reduction to .65% (a conservative estimate of how much a business will reduce shortage by installing a system). The Loss Prevention ROI Calculator then shows how long it will take for the business to recoup their investment in the Sensormatic system. The bottom line is a Retail Security System will pay for itself over time.

 

I do want to clarify that a security system is not a one-time investment. There will be ongoing purchases of tags and labels to make. The electronic article surveillance towers and deactivation pads and some of the other accessories are one time purchases (not taking into account any upgrades a retailer may choose to add such as a people counting sensor if it is not included in the initial purchase package). The Free Loss Prevention Calculator will not take these into consideration. On the other hand the folks at LPSI would be happy to discuss what those costs may be and the options available to owners. For example EAS labels are cheaper than hard tags but may be more affordable in the short-term. Hard tags are more expensive but can be used over and over again. This reduces the need to continually buy new tags and can be a good long-term strategy.  A mix of the two types of tags may be in order depending on the type of merchandise your store sells. I would suggest adding a couple thousand dollars into your estimates as you start to try out the Loss Prevention ROI Calculator.

 

That brings me to another feature of the Free Loss Prevention Calculator there is no tracking or registration required. That’s right, go straight to the tab and begin plugging in numbers. You can change figures to see what option would suit you best. You can print the results you like best but no one will be contacting you just by playing around with the calculator. If you do find a result you like you can then contact LPSI and discuss your options and what you need to do to start saving money on reduced shortage.

 

I took a chance on my printer and ink plan. With no resources available I had to decide if it was a good value or not. You can get a new retail security system with no risk simply by using the Loss Prevention ROI Calculator. Try it out and see how much you can save in reduced shortage, why wait to start saving money?

 

The Loss Prevention Calculator is important and we can help you with it. Call 1.866.914.2567 and let’s talk.

 

 

Properly Respond To Electronic Article Surveillance Alarms

 

Checkpoint Labels-5                                                                                                                       WC Blog 501
Electronic Article Surveillance-4


Properly Respond To Electronic Article Surveillance Alarms

     I write a lot about the benefits of using Checkpoint labels to protect merchandise from theft but I realized I do not necessarily do an adequate job of providing guidance on how to respond to electronic article surveillance alarms. I am going to spend some time in the article talking to you about the do’s and don’ts of alarm activations. It may sound like it is easy to do but issues can arise if an employee does it incorrectly.

     You may be new to the world of electronic article surveillance and how it works so before I go too far into my article I am going to delve into it a bit here. Electronic article surveillance is used to protect merchandise through radio wave transmissions. Checkpoint labels come in several versions but are basically peel off labels with circuitry built into them. The circuitry sends out a radio wave on a specific frequency and this radio wave can be picked up by Checkpoint pedestals which are receivers. The pedestals are located near store entrances/exits or areas where merchandise is not to be taken into. When a tag has not been de-sensitized at a point of sale and the merchandise it is attached to is carried too close to a pedestal an alarm sounds. It is this alarm that requires a response and if a store is doing everything properly alarms will result in merchandise recoveries. In this way Checkpoint labels prevent shoplifters from stealing merchandise in stores where training is a focus.

     
     I am sure there are some of you out there who are wondering how anyone could mess up a response to an alarm pedestal. There are a several ways to do this and I think I can safely say that over my 27 years in retail and Retail Loss Prevention I have probably seen most of them. To respond to an alarm activation properly store employees must:
Be trained – I have watched employees just walk up and look into a customer’s bag and start rifling through it looking for the piece of merchandise the caused a problem. You have to be sure that employees responding to Checkpoint label alarms understand they have to respect the rights of the customer. The customer has the right to refuse to allow someone to look through their personal belongings. A store may reserve the right to look through a store shopping bag but it better be clearly posted in plain view. The approach to getting someone to give permission is key to having a successful deterrent program.
This leads to my next point an employee must be personable and friendly when approaching someone who has activated an alarm. One thing that happens is that an employee may approach someone who is standing at a door waiting for a responder following an alarm. The customer waiting may not have been the one to activate the alarm. If multiple people are leaving about the same time, one person may set off the alarm carrying merchandise with active Checkpoint labels on them. The person who set off the alarm continued to walk out while an innocent person may just be trying to make sure they did not cause the alarm. Walking up to that person and treating them like a shoplifter can lead to all sorts of problems. Politeness and tact are going to resolve alarms and in the majority of cases result in the recovery of merchandise.
An employee responding to alarm activations has to be able to give excuses to a potential shoplifter. What I mean is this, when responding to a pedestal alarm if someone IS trying to steal there is a better chance of getting merchandise back if the responder can say words like, “Is there something in your bag the cashier may have overlooked?” or, “Sometimes people get their hands full and accidently put things in their pockets or purses intending to take it out and forget they had it until they get to the door.”  Being smart and diplomatic can pay off in a big way. 
A responder must also be able to deal with angry and upset patrons. Someone attempting to steal may try to display an attitude and act indignant in order to embarrass or intimidate the employee and get them to just send them out the door. Training should include how to de-escalate a tense situation without giving in to the temptation to just get the person out the door. An employee who gets tense or angry can make a situation explosive.
   How your team responds to alarms can be the difference between antagonizing people and making substantial recoveries.  Follow these suggestions and you can be sure you are optimizing your electronic article surveillance pedestals and tags and staying profitable. 
Need information on electronic article surveillance? Give us a call at 1.866.914.2567 now.

I write a lot about the benefits of using labels to protect merchandise from theft but I realized I do not necessarily do an adequate job of providing guidance on how to respond to electronic article surveillance alarms. I am going to spend some time in the article talking to you about the do’s and don’ts of alarm activations. It may sound like it is easy to do but issues can arise if an employee does it incorrectly.
     

You may be new to the world of electronic article surveillance (EAS) and how it works so before I go too far into my article I am going to delve into it a bit here. Electronic article surveillance is used to protect merchandise through radio wave transmissions. EAS labels come in several versions but are basically peel off labels with circuitry built into them. The circuitry sends out a radio wave on a specific frequency and this radio wave can be picked up by EAS pedestals which are receivers. The pedestals are located near store entrances/exits or areas where merchandise is not to be taken into. When a tag has not been de-sensitized at a point of sale and the merchandise it is attached to is carried too close to a pedestal an alarm sounds. It is this alarm that requires a response and if a store is doing everything properly alarms will result in merchandise recoveries. In this way EAS labels prevent shoplifters from stealing merchandise in stores where training is a focus.
          

I am sure there are some of you out there who are wondering how anyone could mess up a response to an alarm pedestal. There are a several ways to do this and I think I can safely say that over my 27 years in retail and Retail Loss Prevention I have probably seen most of them. To respond to an alarm activation properly store employees must:

Be trained – I have watched employees just walk up and look into a customer’s bag and start rifling through it looking for the piece of merchandise the caused a problem. You have to be sure that employees responding to EAS label alarms understand they have to respect the rights of the customer. The customer has the right to refuse to allow someone to look through their personal belongings. A store may reserve the right to look through a store shopping bag but it better be clearly posted in plain view. The approach to getting someone to give permission is key to having a successful deterrent program.

This leads to my next point an employee must be personable and friendly when approaching someone who has activated an alarm. One thing that happens is that an employee may approach someone who is standing at a door waiting for a responder following an alarm. The customer waiting may not have been the one to activate the alarm. If multiple people are leaving about the same time, one person may set off the alarm carrying merchandise with active EAS labels on them. The person who set off the alarm continued to walk out while an innocent person may just be trying to make sure they did not cause the alarm. Walking up to that person and treating them like a shoplifter can lead to all sorts of problems. Politeness and tact are going to resolve alarms and in the majority of cases result in the recovery of merchandise.

An employee responding to alarm activations has to be able to give excuses to a potential shoplifter. What I mean is this, when responding to a pedestal alarm if someone IS trying to steal there is a better chance of getting merchandise back if the responder can say words like, “Is there something in your bag the cashier may have overlooked?” or, “Sometimes people get their hands full and accidently put things in their pockets or purses intending to take it out and forget they had it until they get to the door.”  Being smart and diplomatic can pay off in a big way. 

A responder must also be able to deal with angry and upset patrons. Someone attempting to steal may try to display an attitude and act indignant in order to embarrass or intimidate the employee and get them to just send them out the door. Training should include how to de-escalate a tense situation without giving in to the temptation to just get the person out the door. An employee who gets tense or angry can make a situation explosive.   

 

How your team responds to alarms can be the difference between antagonizing people and making substantial recoveries.  Follow these suggestions and you can be sure you are optimizing your electronic article surveillance pedestals and tags and staying profitable. 

 

Need information on electronic article surveillance? Give us a call at 1.866.914.2567 now.