Every brick and mortar store contains fixtures, columns, merchandise, lights, mannequins and all sorts of equipment. Most stores arrange these to optimize efficiency, maximize profits, and appeal to the customer. Of course, there must always be room to comply with OSHA requirements and local fire code. After all of this is considered, the visibility of the entire sales floor can be an afterthought. Most stores have at least one or two areas in the store that aren’t frequented by shoppers or employees, no matter how small a store may be. These areas can be a hotbed of theft; concealment, defeating security devices, or staging of merchandise. What the best store planners know is that the layout of the store can greatly affect the status of clothing security.
Having worked in loss prevention for many years, I have seen it time and time again. Managers and merchandisers will place some of their best items right inside the doors of the store to catch the eye of passersby, and other customers who enter the store. While this tactic may or may not be effective, it certainly catches the eyes of thieves who may be casing the area for easy targets. A rack of expensive coats just inside the door at the beginning of the fall season is an enticing prospect for grab-and-run thieves.
I once heard a story about a successful grab-and-run at a store within the mall where I had been working. The thieves pulled a minivan up to the curb right outside of the doors. A man exited the vehicle, headed only a few steps inside the door, opened his arms as wide as he could, hugged roughly twelve coats on a rack, lifted them up, and ran right back out of the door, hurdling himself and the merchandise right into the back of the van which then sped off. This only took a matter of seconds to occur. The security team noticed the subject enter the store, and was immediately suspicious. Unfortunately, they had no time to act. In some other cases, thieves have been known to grab entire racks containing merchandise and run out with them. In these situations, even clothing security tags don’t do much to stop the theft. However, had those coats not been only feet from the door, this theft could have likely been prevented.
Likewise, the placement of merchandise and fixtures on the floor may be conducive for a less brazen type of theft; a more typical, sneaky shoplifting. The areas on the sales floor that are frequent sites of theft are called hotspots. They are usually marked by and abundance of price tags on the floor, security devices defeated, or large holes of missing clothing. These areas of the store are enticing to thieves for a reason. Typically, they are the most secluded corners of a store and sometimes, the most dimly-lit. One way of securing clothing in these areas is by placing a convex mirror that would allow a direct line of sight from an area where employees typically are to the hotspot. Alternatively, a camera and public-view monitor (or even a dummy camera) can be installed and will flush out a great deal of theft. The least expensive option is to simply re-arrange your sales floor layout.
The moral of the story is: consider what areas of your store will be the most likely for theft, and develop a plan to minimize that theft. In the long run, it will keep the thieves out and the money in your pockets!
For more information contact us: Clothing Security or call 1.770.426.0547