In part 1 of this series I discussed the false notion some Loss Prevention people hold that somehow they can just look at a person and tell if they are a shoplifter. I contend that in the majority of the cases they may point to in order to prove their point; there were probably indicators in behavior or attire that actually initiated the case. In part 1 I reviewed a few of the signs of a shoplifter though it was neither all-encompassing nor universal since each shoplifter has their own quirks. I also pointed out that stores can deter a majority of shoplifters simply by using Checkpoint security tags and electronic article surveillance antennas to protect merchandise. In this part I am going to cover how store personnel who are not trained in Loss Prevention can respond to those signals as well as electronic article surveillance alarms, to stop shoplifting and keep merchandise in the store.
For the readers who may have missed part 1, here is a quick review of what Checkpoint security tags and electronic article surveillance antennas are and how they work together to stop shoplifting. Checkpoint tags come in two versions, a soft tag and Checkpoint hard tags. A soft tag which can be peeled from a roll and applied to a number of surfaces, including cardboard, plastic and shrink wrap. Checkpoint hard tags are two piece designs that are pinned through materials and secured together. These tags are versatile and can be attached to a wide range of products, including but not limited to clothing, shoes, purses, bedding, towels, and even pinned through clam shell packaging. Checkpoint tags are designed with radio frequency technology that is able to be picked up by Checkpoint antennas. The antennas are set up at entrances and exits in order to detect protected merchandise a thief may try to walk out of a store with. The point I made in my previous article was that the use of the antennas and Checkpoint security tags in a retail store are often enough to discourage most shoplifters from entering in the first place.
Even when Checkpoint tags and electronic article surveillance antennas are used, there are a few shoplifters who will try to steal anyways. I addressed the signs employees can look for in part 1, but it is just as important to know how to interact with a suspicious person and stop shoplifting discreetly.
• Offer assistance and if the person appears to be trying to remove a Checkpoint tag, offer to assist with the specific item they are holding. For example, “Can I answer any questions you may have about that shirt?” Mentioning the item can make a shoplifter nervous.
• Greet the customer and offer help. If they refuse your offer and are giving signs they are trying to steal, stand in the area and straighten merchandise. Shoplifters don’t want people hanging around them.
• If the customer has placed something in a purse or bag and you are certain of what it was, ask if you can help them with the item they had been holding. You may say something like, “That was a nice pair of shoes you were looking at, were you still interested in them?”
• Offer what I call aggressive customer service. Make small talk, ask who the person is buying for, or what is the event they are going to wear the item too. I have had people try to complain that I was pestering them, but they sound silly when they say they are being offered too much help. Kill them with kindness!
• Accuse someone of trying to steal. Depending on the jurisdiction, concealment may not be enough to say someone is shoplifting and that leads to other issues.
• When responding to an Electronic Article Surveillance Alarm, suggest that there may be something the person may have “forgotten” to pay for. By giving the person an out, they may be more likely to give the item back. You get the merchandise back and have established that your employees DO respond to alarms.
• Don’t try to physically detain someone. The culprit may have a weapon, or they may be violent. You can file a police report after they leave the store.
• Don’t chase. You endanger yourself and potentially other customers.
Using Checkpoint hard tags and soft tags will save you money by deterring or preventing most shoplifting. For the rare occasion when you have a determined thief, provide them with the best shopping experience they have ever had and customer service them to death.
Get more information on Checkpoint Tags, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547 now.