Perfumes and colognes have been around almost as long as history books themselves. Ancient Egyptians used perfumes in religious ceremonies. Medieval Queens used perfumes to mask their body odors. In the turn of the century, flowers started being used for perfumes. Even now, though they are more affordable and available to everyone, perfumes are a symbol of elegance and class, and they are in high demand among customers and shoplifters alike. So, how do we protect our fragrance?
We’ve all walked into that department store with the large glass counter right up front, for all to see, with carefully constructed pyramids of bottles and gift sets. To a customer, it is a beautiful, eye catching display. To loss prevention, it is a nightmare. The hard truth is; this is exactly how stores should have their fragrances displayed. This is what will draw the customer in to that bottle of magnificence that they would otherwise pass by. It caught me once! I used to spray myself with inexpensive drug-store spritzes until I started working retail and smelled my scent of choice for the first time. Now, I am hooked and at $80 per bottle, it is quite a luxury. It had never occurred to me that scents would be a product of choice among shoplifters until my 2014 inventory yielded a $10,000+ loss in our fragrance department. At $80-$100 each, that is approximately 100-120 bottles. Upon investigation it was determined that every single bottle was taken by the same man. Our store was in a shopping mall and he would sit outside the mall entrance and wait for the associate to round the corner. As soon as the associate was out of sight, he would run in, grab the nearest display (everything on the display) and run back out. Obviously he did not take all 100-120 bottles in one hit. He did this multiple times during the Christmas season but he was so fast and so calculated that, no matter what I tried, I could not stop him. I spent many evenings sitting outside the mall entrance waiting for him to show up. Eventually he caught on and would just walk by when he saw me sitting there (it’s so hard to make friends in this line of work). I needed another way to protect my fragrance.
I pitched the idea of display cases to my boss. We had large clear cases that we displayed our jewelry in, so why couldn’t we put 5-6 bottles of perfume in each of them and put them on the glass counters. It looked just as elegant. The issue was that it limited customer access. Sure, we didn’t want the shoplifters to help themselves, but we wanted the customers to be able to gather their purchases without having to wait around for an associate with a key. It makes sense. Loss prevention should never implement a program that hinders sales because, for every shoplifter out there, there are at least twenty honest customers. Don’t quote me on that exact number. With that plan shot down, I went back to the drawing board. It was then that I discovered Alpha Keepers. Alpha Keepers are little display boxes, of various shapes and sizes, that are equipped with an alarm that activates when taken through the EAS towers at the door. The great part about these little boxes is that they are made for one item. Customers are free to select their scent, Keeper and all, and walk around the store with it before checkout. There is no waiting for an associate to unlock anything. My boss loved this idea and was more than willing to approve the expense, as it was less than we were projected to lose if we failed to find a way to protect our fragrances.
Needless to say, our shoplifter came back. It only took him one attempt at running out with a bottle protected in an Alpha Keeper. He promptly dropped the product at the door, ran and never came back. I guess he really didn’t want to be my friend.
For more information about Alpha Keepers contact us or call 1.770.426.0547.