I have been in retail a LONG time and somewhere around 18 of those years were spent in Loss Prevention. Today I still work in retail but I have the opportunity to continue to ply my Loss Prevention skills in recommending to my manager items I think should have electronic article surveillance tags on them. Better yet is when I get to use my experience to stop shoplifting in the store. I had just such an opportunity recently while I was working. I will share the story with you in a moment and there will be pertinent tips you can employ in your own store to put a halt to theft. Before I do that I want to point out that the situation could have been avoided if the store used more electronic article surveillance (EAS) devices on products than what the company currently dictates.
Electronic Article Surveillance is a system that uses radio frequency (rf) emitting tags and rf receivers called pedestals or towers to protect merchandise from theft. Pedestals are placed at the entrances and exits of stores in order to detect a person trying to leave with unpaid, TAGGED products. These are electronic article surveillance tagsI emphasize tagged because without a protective device an item can’t be detected and this is how so many stores experience climbing shortage. Let me clarify that statement too. Retailers that have electronic article surveillance systems that are not maintained, of poor quality or do not have a strong tagging program in place also experience increased shortage. When the tagged products are carried into the range of the pedestals the pedestals have an alarm that blasts out an alert and nearby employees respond to conduct receipt and package checks. The more a store tags the more effective the deterrence value of the system.
Getting back to my recent incident, I was walking to the store from my vehicle and a manager was returning from his lunch break and stopped me. He pointed out a pick-up truck that had two males sitting in it and the manager said they had been there for a while and he had watched a female leave and enter the store. The manager said that he had called the store manager and alerted him. I got into the store and got clocked in and immediately went to the floor and began offering customer service to the female suspect. I also looked into the shopping basket and noted several items in it and that none of them had EAS tags (electronic article surveillance tags) on them. Well, I offered service and would leave the immediate area and a manager would start to watch. It took a few minutes but one of the men from the truck entered the store. The man and woman met up and were still being watched by managers but I was getting tired of the cat and mouse game. The female had enough small items that it would have been easy for her to conceal some in her purse if he had blocked for her. Without electronic article surveillance tags the alarms wouldn’t sound when they left and that would prevent an excuse for a bag check. I walked into the aisle with the couple, put on my best salesman smile and offered additional assistance. I even offered to ring them up on my mobile device. Oddly, they began saying they were uncomfortable with all of the attention and felt like they were being watched! The man even said he felt I was being pushy to ring their transaction. I smiled and let them know that one of my faults was I have been a pushy salesman for my 7 years at this company. The woman said she would put the items back and leave because she was so uncomfortable. I let her know she didn’t need to go to the trouble and I took the basket and assured her I would put the items back for her. The couple left and the three of them jumped back in the truck and left. We saved over $200.00 in merchandise through employee awareness and great customer service.
Customer service is a great way to increase sales and decrease theft but it should never be the only theft prevention measure. Use EAS tags on everything and rely on Loss Prevention Systems Inc. EAS systems for reliable technology and support.
For more information about electronic article surveillance tags contact us or call 1.770.426.0547