Sensormatic Hard Tags Aid In Organized Retail Crime Prevention Part 1

It is easy for retailers to focus efforts on how to stop shoplifting in their stores but as a retail owner did you know that there are two types of shoplifting?   Sensormatic hard tags will address both of these but it is important to understand the differences. There is the everyday variety or what may called the opportunist. There is the type of shoplifter who steals simply to earn money to support a drug habit or even to horde the merchandise (the kleptomaniac). Then there are the Organized Retail Crime (ORC) shoplifters. This is a different kind of shoplifter because it is not one person working alone it is a group with a leader(s) at the core. The group may do their own shoplifting or they may send others to do their stealing for them. To add another dimension to the ORC groups, when they do recruit others to steal for them it may be different people every time. Having worked as a retail Loss Prevention Associate and Manager for many years I can tell you that this makes catching these groups and stopping them extremely difficult. If catching them is going to be done it requires a coordinated effort between Loss Prevention teams and police. Where does this leave the independent retail store owner? You can’t afford a Loss Prevention team and you certainly shouldn’t be trying to apprehend a shoplifter let alone a group of shoplifters. Perhaps you don’t even think of it as a problem since this may be the first you are hearing of ORC.

stop shoplifting with  Sensormatic hard tagsLet me explain why the topic of ORC for this article came up in the first place. I came across an article on Fox Carolina, “Deputies: 3 arrested for organized retail theft in Anderson Co.”, by Savannah Sondov, Jul 19, 2018. The story tells of how the three had hired people to go into stores and steal merchandise for them. The group paid the shoplifters at a fraction of the merchandise retail value. The group then sold the merchandise at flea markets making a profit. The police recovered $121,997 in merchandise from the ring. The story reports that “retailers lost a combined $9-12 million over a five-year period due (to) the suspects buying from shoplifters.” That kind of theft means a LOT of retailers were victimized and there is no telling if the small retail stores were or were not victims as well as national chain stores. One thing is certain to me, in order to stop shoplifting by ORC’s or the everyday shoplifter stores must use Sensormatic hard tags on merchandise.

It is appropriate to discuss briefly how these tags can make an impact on theft. Sensormatic hard tags provide a deterrent against people who want to steal from your store. It makes no difference if you are attempted to put up a barrier to the opportunist shoplifters or to the crooks stealing to sell to an ORC group. One thing that the various shoplifters have in common is they don’t want to chance getting caught. These tags are designed to ensure a Sensormatic alarm pedestal will sound an alert in the event someone tries to waltz out of a store with tagged, unpaid merchandise. When shoplifters see these tags they tend to be reluctant to try to take the item. For your store it means you can effectively stop shoplifting of all types and that makes your operation more profitable.

There are going to be some readers who still don’t see Organized Retail Crime is that big a concern to them. One ORC group being caught does not appear to be reason enough to those readers to prompt them to purchase Sensormatic hard tags or the associated hardware. In part 2 of this article we will explore more about the impact of ORC on retailers and how Sensormatic can be an integral part of the success of your business.

Get more information on Sensormatic hard tags, contact us or call 1.866.914.2567 today

Deactivate Labels To Avoid Customer Service Issues

 

Stop Shoplifting – 3                                                                                                                  WC Blog 469
Checkpoint Labels – 4
Deactivate Checkpoint Labels To Avoid Customer Service Issues 
     My current position as a shift manager in a library is sometimes very similar to my former position as a Loss Prevention Manager. In the library we use anti-theft systems that are identical to the retail anti-theft systems found in retail stores. We use tags here similar to EAS (electronic article surveillance) Checkpoint labels that we used in my store and they operate in a like manner. The tag we use in books and on DVD’s and music CD’s protects library inventory just as the EAS labels protected so many of the products we sold in our store.  The systems are so similar that I recover materials on a fairly frequent basis using the skills I learned in retail to stop shoplifting. I also find I have to coach employees about the need to deactivate or de-tune labels properly just as I did in retail.
     Stepping back for a moment I want to explain what Checkpoint labels are. These are soft tags that retail stores can place on merchandise that will cause an alarm in an EAS pedestal. The labels have a coiled wire in them that sends out a signal and when the signal gets in a specific vicinity of a pedestal an alarm is triggered. The alarm coming from the pedestal attracts the attention of store personnel and they respond to determine what caused the activation. Usually the only reason for an alarm is someone leaving a store with merchandise that has not been paid for. On a rare occasion an employee may fail to see merchandise in the bottom of a shopping cart that can then set off a pedestal. It is also possible that the employee does not use a scan bed or deactivation pad properly and this will cause an alarm. Both of these are rare instances and require follow up training with the employee. 
     The system in our library is similar to a Checkpoint system with the difference being that we are preventing theft of materials while the store retail anti-theft system will stop shoplifting. I would be remiss if I failed to mention that sometimes we have failures to deactivate tags in the library just as we encountered in retail. For example, the other day I was at one of our desks and heard the alarm pedestal sound. I came around the corner and spoke to the patron who clearly could not figure out why the alarm sounded. She was insistent she had just checked out an item. Since we often email receipts I could not compare a receipt to anything to determine if she was telling me the truth. I nicely escorted her back to the counter where she had checked out and she told me who it was that checked out her materials. The worker confirmed that he had and I asked if he had used the deactivation pad when he checked out the items. It turned out he had used the hand scanner and did not use the pad and it caused the alarm. I had the materials checked in and out again properly and sent the patron on her way. I then explained to the worker what he had done wrong and the impact it had on customer service by not being careful. The EAS deactivation pad turns off an EAS label. When the handheld scanner is used but the materials are not laid on the pad Checkpoint labels are not turned off or detuned and this causes false alarms at the pedestals.
     The lesson was learned and I may not have to address this worker again but as in retail you have to keep on top of these things. As a Loss Prevention Manager I had to speak to cashiers regularly about the customer service issues caused when they failed to deactivate Checkpoint Labels. It is difficult to stop shoplifting when excessive alarms cause unnecessary distractions and employee response becomes lazy. In the library excessive alarms are loud and irritate students trying to study. It also causes staff to become complacent in alarm response in a library and opens up the opportunity for materials to be stolen. Whether it is in a library or a retail store be sure to train staff on how to properly deactivate Checkpoint labels to make your systems more effective and customer friendly. 
Get more information on Checkpoint labels. Give us a call at 1.866.914.2567 now.

My current position as a shift manager in a library is sometimes very similar to my former position as a Loss Prevention Manager. In the library we use anti-theft systems that are identical to the retail anti-theft systems found in retail stores. We use tags here similar to EAS (electronic article surveillance) labels that we used in my store and they operate in a like manner. The tag we use in books and on DVD’s and music CD’s protects library inventory just as the EAS labels protected so many of the products we sold in our store. The systems are so similar that I recover materials on a fairly frequent basis using the skills I learned in retail to stop shoplifting. I also find I have to coach employees about the need to deactivate or de-tune labels properly just as I did in retail.

Stepping back for a moment I want to explain what labels are. These are soft tags that retail stores can place on merchandise that will cause an alarm in an EAS pedestal. The labels have a coiled wire in them that sends out a signal and when the signal gets in a specific vicinity of a pedestal an alarm is triggered. The alarm coming from the pedestal attracts the attention of store personnel and they respond to determine what caused the activation. Usually the only reason for an alarm is someone leaving a store with merchandise that has not been paid for. On a rare occasion an employee may fail to see merchandise in the bottom of a shopping cart that can then set off a pedestal. It is also possible that the employee does not use a scan bed or deactivation pad properly and this will cause an alarm. Both of these are rare instances and require follow up training with the employee. 

The system in our library is similar to a EAS system with the difference being that we are preventing theft of materials while the store retail anti-theft system will stop shoplifting. I would be remiss if I failed to mention that sometimes we have failures to deactivate tags in the library just as we encountered in retail. For example, the other day I was at one of our desks and heard the alarm pedestal sound. I came around the corner and spoke to the patron who clearly could not figure out why the alarm sounded. She was insistent she had just checked out an item. Since we often email receipts I could not compare a receipt to anything to determine if she was telling me the truth. I nicely escorted her back to the counter where she had checked out and she told me who it was that checked out her materials. The worker confirmed that he had and I asked if he had used the deactivation pad when he checked out the items. It turned out he had used the hand scanner and did not use the pad and it caused the alarm. I had the materials checked in and out again properly and sent the patron on her way. I then explained to the worker what he had done wrong and the impact it had on customer service by not being careful. The EAS deactivation pad turns off an EAS label. When the handheld scanner is used but the materials are not laid on the pad labels are not turned off or detuned and this causes false alarms at the pedestals.

 

The lesson was learned and I may not have to address this worker again but as in retail you have to keep on top of these things. As a Loss Prevention Manager I had to speak to cashiers regularly about the customer service issues caused when they failed to deactivate labels. It is difficult to stop shoplifting when excessive alarms cause unnecessary distractions and employee response becomes lazy. In the library excessive alarms are loud and irritate students trying to study. It also causes staff to become complacent in alarm response in a library and opens up the opportunity for materials to be stolen. Whether it is in a library or a retail store be sure to train staff on how to properly deactivate labels to make your systems more effective and customer friendly. 

 

Get more information on labels. Give us a call at 1.866.914.2567 now.

Improving Employee Awareness To Stop Shoplifting

Stop shoplifting-3                                                                                                                          WC Blog 631
Employee Theft Reduction Training-3


Improving Employee Awareness To Stop Shoplifting

     How do I stop shoplifting? I stop it by using the skills I learned in my 17 years of Retail Loss Prevention. I prevent shoplifting in the store I work for as a salesfloor associate. I also work in a college library where I respond to RFID alarms when books and materials that have not been checked out are being carried out of the building by patrons. I use my L.P. experience to train my library co-workers on how to politely respond to alarms and effectively determine if any items have not been checked out. In short, I am conducting employee theft reduction training as I teach library co-workers and store co-workers and managers what to look for to help prevent theft.

     I used those Loss Prevention skills last night to prevent a young lady from getting away with about $100 worth of merchandise theft in my retail job (and it might have been more but I can only speculate on that). I noticed the customer enter the store with a guy and I immediately greeted them and offered to help them find whatever they came in to purchase. They quickly declined my offer and picked out a shopping cart and continued into the store. They looked around for a few minutes and then the male left the store. I notified the Manager-On-Duty of my suspicious person and he helped me keep track of her as much as possible since he also had other responsibilities. Over the next 2 ½ hours I checked on her and watched what she would have in her shopping cart. She had no purse or bag so any theft would have to be a buggy roll-out or a financial transaction fraud. I am very limited in any surveillance I do on a customer and when I did sneak peaks at the patron I caught her looking around and several times looking at me. As she became more nervous seeing me so often and offering her assistance she started approaching me and asking for prices on items. She rambled on about buying things for her mom and dad but not wanting to spend too much on her credit cards. Eventually I was able to watch her hide something in a filing box then stash that box behind other similar boxes. I met her at the cash register where she pretended to ask about other items she had. The manager came over to assist me and I made a pretense of walking away to check on something. The woman told the manager she would be back but had to check on the balance on her credit card before buying the items she brought up. He put the items on hold for her until she could return. I went to the back and recovered the box with the stashed items to stop shoplifting when someone came for it.

     I explained to the manager that while watching the young woman on the floor she was constantly making calls on her phone and then told him I suspected she had initially intended to roll the cart with everything in it out the door since she made several passes in that direction but either the manager or I were at the doors when she did so. When she was afraid to do the roll out with everything she finally hid the other items in the tote intending to come back for it later or she would send her male friend in for it. My manager was surprised and said he hadn’t thought about that. This was one of the moments when I was able to utilize employee theft reduction training, telling the manager about the things that might have transpired. I also shared the details with another co-worker who was surprised someone would do this.

     There are subtleties I am able to pick up on that I learned over the years in L.P. that I use to help the store stop shoplifting. A lot of those skills involve knowing when to give customer service and aggressive customer service. As I do so I also take the opportunities to provide tips to other store workers, providing a mini employee theft reduction training that can help them understand how to reduce theft too. Since I can’t be at YOUR stores to help out I do suggest you seek out the services of a company that CAN provide training and support. I know of one company, Loss Prevention Systems Inc., that can provide that training in my absence and they can even do employee background checks for you, something I cannot do. Make training a priority and see the impact it can have on reducing shortage in your stores!
Get more information on employee theft reduction training, contact us or call 1.866.914.2567 today.

How do I stop shoplifting? I stop it by using the skills I learned in my 17 years of Retail Loss Prevention. I prevent shoplifting in the store I work for as a salesfloor associate. I also work in a college library where I respond to RFID alarms when books and materials that have not been checked out are being carried out of the building by patrons. I use my L.P. experience to train my library co-workers on how to politely respond to alarms and effectively determine if any items have not been checked out. In short, I am conducting employee theft reduction training as I teach library co-workers and store co-workers and managers what to look for to help prevent theft.
     

I used those Loss Prevention skills last night to prevent a young lady from getting away with about $100 worth of merchandise theft in my retail job (and it might have been more but I can only speculate on that). I noticed the customer enter the store with a guy and I immediately greeted them and offered to help them find whatever they came in to purchase. They quickly declined my offer and picked out a shopping cart and continued into the store. They looked around for a few minutes and then the male left the store. I notified the Manager-On-Duty of my suspicious person and he helped me keep track of her as much as possible since he also had other responsibilities. Over the next 2 ½ hours I checked on her and watched what she would have in her shopping cart. She had no purse or bag so any theft would have to be a buggy roll-out or a financial transaction fraud. I am very limited in any surveillance I do on a customer and when I did sneak peaks at the patron I caught her looking around and several times looking at me. As she became more nervous seeing me so often and offering her assistance she started approaching me and asking for prices on items. She rambled on about buying things for her mom and dad but not wanting to spend too much on her credit cards. Eventually I was able to watch her hide something in a filing box then stash that box behind other similar boxes. I met her at the cash register where she pretended to ask about other items she had. The manager came over to assist me and I made a pretense of walking away to check on something. The woman told the manager she would be back but had to check on the balance on her credit card before buying the items she brought up. He put the items on hold for her until she could return. I went to the back and recovered the box with the stashed items to stop shoplifting when someone came for it.
     

I explained to the manager that while watching the young woman on the floor she was constantly making calls on her phone and then told him I suspected she had initially intended to roll the cart with everything in it out the door since she made several passes in that direction but either the manager or I were at the doors when she did so. When she was afraid to do the roll out with everything she finally hid the other items in the tote intending to come back for it later or she would send her male friend in for it. My manager was surprised and said he hadn’t thought about that. This was one of the moments when I was able to utilize employee theft reduction training, telling the manager about the things that might have transpired. I also shared the details with another co-worker who was surprised someone would do this.
     

There are subtleties I am able to pick up on that I learned over the years in L.P. that I use to help the store stop shoplifting. A lot of those skills involve knowing when to give customer service and aggressive customer service. As I do so I also take the opportunities to provide tips to other store workers, providing a mini employee theft reduction training that can help them understand how to reduce theft too. Since I can’t be at YOUR stores to help out I do suggest you seek out the services of a company that CAN provide training and support. I know one company, Loss Prevention Systems Inc., that can provide that training in my absence and they can even do employee background checks for you, something I cannot do. Make training a priority and see the impact it can have on reducing shortage in your stores!

 

Get more information on employee theft reduction training, contact us or call 1.866.914.2567 today.