THE GREAT DEBATE – CHECKPOINT SYSTEMS
I often hear the same questions from managers. “Should I used a hard tag, or label to secure product x?” Sometimes it is a no brainer depending on the item in question. The greatest debate I have internally is on securing apparel merchandise. What is more effective, a checkpoint tag, or a checkpoint label?
Remember that I am only speaking to apparel in this instance. For me, personally, I always go with the checkpoint tag. I can easily apply/remove the tag to whatever I want. I can recycle them in store and I can always “up” the level of security on certain high risk items by using something like an ink tag. It’s cost effective since I don’t have to keep re-ordering supplies, since we just reuse them in the store. I find that the hard tag is more visible, which provides a better deterrent to would-be thieves. The hard tags also come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, meaning I can always find a solution that blends in with the store merchandising plan.
Checkpoint labels are great in their own respect as well. One thing the tags can’t do is be priced and marked with a barcode. This ability, when paired with source tagging, really can help the store cut down on overhead costs. I can also covertly place labels on product, like inside the pockets of denim jeans, or under the brim of a hat.
The draw back on the Checkpoint tags is that if you’re not careful, you can wind up damaging the garment. If you have lazy employees who are careless, you will have some very unhappy customers. A thief with a descent set of pliers can easily defeat the tags if given enough opportunity. The tags are also very visible. While this has never been an issue for me, I know some retailers don’t like to have visible security measures, as they feel as it detracts from their branding and image.
Likewise, with Checkpoint labels, there are some points to consider as well. If a thief spots the tag, it can be removed rather easily. Unlike hard tags, they cannot be recycled in store. I’ve never had this be an issue for me, but for a smaller store it could be something to consider. The labels, however are a great “gateway” device into the world of physical security measures. For some stores, the labels alone will dry up most of their thefts. If they don’t, you can always look to upgrade to a different tool for any specific problems you may be having.
It is important for you, as a retailer to secure your apparel merchandise. Clothing is a magnet for thieves and if you’re un-protected, you will likely be seen as a soft target. While I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to the proper tagging of clothing, I think any good manager will see that a good product protection strategy would include both types of tags. You may get into a situation where a hard tag may not be appropriate, or won’t make sense. Likewise for a soft tag. That shouldn’t mean that the product goes unprotected, though. You have to do what makes sense in your store, for the specific merchandise that you carry. I hope you’ve found these points to be helpful as you continue to build your protection strategy and seek to eliminate losses caused by external theft.
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