The Challenge: Protect Razor Blades
Almost every consumable retailer asks the same question: How can I protect razor blades? According to the National Retail Federation and the Food Marketing Institute, razor blades are among the highest shrink categories for consumable retailers. The combination of high price, consumer demand, and concealable size lead to a very large market for stolen razor blades. Organized Retail Crime groups and local boosters target razor blades as a main source of income. A quick check of online auction sites will show how prevalent the problem is by the sheer number of razor blade offerings at prices significantly below retail (usually 50% or more).
The option we’ve chosen to protect razor blades is the Alpha Keeper. It is a clear case that the product goes inside. There were several factors that helped us make our decision. First, the keeper makes the item less concealable by making it a larger item. Second, the keeper activates our EAS system that we already had in place. Third, it didn’t hurt sales in that no key is required to get the product off the peg and the customer can view the entire package. Lastly, it made the product less desirable to ORC fences (buyers of stolen products), as it could be easily proven that razor blades inside an Alpha Keeper were most likely stolen; especially when paired with a company label.
The keepers also reduced other types of loss. In addition to helping us prevent theft, they reduced damaged product by protecting the packaging from everyday wear. We also saw a reduction in losses from the casual shoplifter who opened the packages and took only one or two razor blades. We took less markdown dollars on the product as we didn’t have to discount ripped, damaged, or partial packages.
On the customer service end, there was no negative to using keepers to protect razor blades. Customer service scores went up almost immediately in the area of on-hand availability since the product remained on the peg in the store, rather than being stolen. Speed of checkout was not impacted as the opening of the Alpha Keeper didn’t take any longer than soft tag deactivation. Feedback from customers was also received that the keepers were better than soft tags, as employees frequently placed the soft tags right over information that customers wanted to read. Visual display attractiveness also improved because the keeper doesn’t rip while hanging on the peg, causing the product to fall to the shelf below.
On the profit protection side, there have been some other positives. There was no increase in labor cost between soft tagging and placing the product inside keepers. We have this done as soon as the product is received, as part of a check-in process. This has led us to discover some distribution center shortages that we’ve been able to file claims on, as we were billed for a certain amount of product but received significantly less – this saved us a lot of loss. Also, by having them placed into keepers as they come off the truck, we are able to protect razor blades from employee theft, as the entire process is done immediately and in view of a CCTV camera. We were able to add to our bottom line through a significant reduction in markdowns and damage-to-zero on the product as the keepers protect the packaging as well. We’ve found that the keepers do a lot more than just protect razor blades. Using the keepers has been a total loss reduction solution for our business and was a great investment.
For more information about how to protect razor blades contact us or call 1.770.426.0547.