Retail shortage is a huge problem and seems to get worse every year. According the 2015 Global Retail Theft Barometer total retail shrinkage in North America during 2014-2015 was $36.79 billion dollars. Shrinkage increase reported by respondents, who participated in both the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 surveys, went from 1.28% in 2013-2014 to 1.87% in 2014-2015. So what can a store owner do to drive down shortage? Let me preface this by letting you know I have roughly 20 years of loss prevention experience and over 25 total years of retail experience. Regardless of the size of your store, there are steps that any retailer can take to improve shortage results and, in the process improve profits. It may surprise some readers that I am not going to say customer service is at the top of my list. While customer service is important and it is a deterrent to prevent shoplifting and it does a great deal to improve sales, it does not have the same impact that a security system has when it includes retail anti-theft devices such as Alpha Security products.
Here is what I mean. Customer service deters shoplifting. That’s wonderful and I am the first to insist that a business MUST establish a culture of customer service excellence. The payoff is going to be a returning customer base, word of mouth promotion, increased sales and this also leads to a happier staff. I could go on about the benefits of customer service but that will be another time. The problem I see is that it only truly impacts one facet of shrinkage. A security system built around retail anti-theft devices and closed circuit television will not only prevent shoplifting, but it deters employee theft and vendor theft as well. The only area of retail shrinkage it does not impact is administrative loss, such as vendor billing errors, keying errors on receipts, mis-scanning product, etc. A well designed system makes all thieves aware that theft is not going to be tolerated from the moment they walk in the door of a retailer. Alpha security products include hard tags to protect clothing and accessories, hardware and electronics. Alpha Spider Wrap allows the display of electronics products and accessibility to the customer. Alpha Keepers prevent the theft of a multitude of products from health and beauty items to DVDs and videogames. These retail anti-theft devices have visual deterrence value because thieves, whether shoplifters or employees recognize the challenge they will have if they choose to try to steal merchandise that is protected. This may be trying to remove a clothing security hard tag and damaging merchandise in the process or it could be trying to cut an Alpha Spider Wrap and activating a tamper alarm. The harder it is for a criminal to get what they want, the more likely they are to leave something alone.
The other protection offered by Alpha Security devices is that they do work with an electronic article surveillance system and when passed through an EAS antenna, these products activate the alarm. A well trained staff knows how to properly respond to an alarm activation and can recover merchandise that was secured by a device. Yes, I have had vendors and employees exit a store with merchandise that was not paid for and an alarm was activated. EAS systems are not installed simply to prevent shoplifting but employee and vendor theft as well. Many of the Alpha Security products can be purchased in either a 2 alarm or 3 alarm version, the 3 alarm adding an additional layer of protection in that the third alarm is an audible alarm built in the device itself. In case someone exits with a 3 alarm device they set off the EAS antenna alarm and if they get to a certain point the internal alarm actually built in the unit activates (the third alarm is the tamper alarm).
Customer Service is a great way to prevent shoplifting and all associates should be trained on it and expected to deliver. It will prevent a significant amount of shoplifting theft, but not all of it. It also has negligible effect on internal theft and vendor theft. Retail anti-theft devices can deter and prevent shoplifting, vendor theft and employee theft. Invest in Alpha Security products and know that you will start to see immediate return on investment with the impact on all areas of retail theft.
For more information on Alpha Security, contact us or call 1.866.914.2567