In the first installment of this series we talked about how an employee’s feelings can have a negative effect on the amount of customer service they deliver to stop shoplifting. Rather than focus on signals that may indicate someone could be in the store with the intent of ripping it off, they feel sorry for the person. This can be especially true if the person looks like they may be a drug addict or experiencing economic hardship or homelessness. Customer service is one of the top methods of theft deterrence and sometimes that service has to be extreme. It can be multiple employees constantly coming up and offering help or one person just being so sicky-sweet and overly helpful that the crook gets exasperated and leaves. Smaller retailers don’t always have the luxury of enough staff to cashier, provide service covering the entire sales floor and focus on one suspicious person. That is where Sensormatic labels can play an important role in theft deterrence.
In Part 1 I talked specifically about how the Sensormatic HBC Sheet Label can protect many small cosmetic and health and beauty items previously considered too tiny to tag. Sensormatic labels aren’t restricted to protecting small merchandise alone. Sensormatic also has the APX Sheet Label. This label is larger than the HBC Sheet Label but still small enough to have a minimal footprint on packaging so they won’t cover warning labels or important product information such as ingredients. These tags provide reliable protection on foils and in metal shopping carts, features not all electronic article surveillance labels can claim. They are a cost-effective means of tagging THOUSANDS of pieces of merchandise in a store. One additional feature that makes them a valuable asset is that when properly processed at the point of sale for deactivation there are virtually no nuisance alarms for managers to deal with!
Tagging merchandise with anti-theft devices should not take the place of customer service to stop shoplifting even in small retail stores. But as I was discussing earlier sometimes the feelings of a staff member can interfere with their judgement. They may not want to appear judgmental of a customer or they may feel sorry for the shopper based on how they are dressed. With this in mind I want to share tips that I found useful as a Loss Prevention Manager to identify suspicious persons.
• Look at how people are dressed. If they come in wearing unseasonable clothing, a heavy jacket on a warm day or sunglasses on a rainy, overcast day be suspicious. The glasses could be meant to conceal identity from security cameras. The coat has nothing to do with their income it is a means of concealing merchandise.
• Watch for people walking in with a ball cap pulled low and they are looking down at the floor. It is also a method of obscuring their identity.
• If you greet a customer and offer assistance and they are quick to dismiss you be on your toes. If someone appears to be looking at merchandise and you offer assistance and they seem to become nervous or put the product down, be wary.
• Be alert to customers walking past a checkout lane and grabbing shopping bags. More often than not they intend to fill them with merchandise.
• When a customer is shopping look for the one pushing a shopping cart and draping clothing over the sides of it. It is a clever way to conceal what they are doing in the buggy. Opening packages, filling purses or bags with merchandise or pulling tags off of items.
• Look for the shopper that seems to be looking around while holding a piece of merchandise. They could be looking for nearby associates or spying out where closed circuit television cameras are located.
• Train associates to be aware of the customer who stays in one area for an extended length of time. This is frequently seen in health and beauty product aisles and in electronics near videogames and DVD’s.
Keep in mind that it is only good customer service to greet everyone who enters the store and offer assistance. The people described above are the characters most likely to steal. If your store has a tight payroll budget Sensormatic labels will help in fighting theft, especially if staffing is stretched.
It is one thing to care about people it is another thing when employees permit it to interfere with the need to stop shoplifting. If you need assistance training employees about shoplifting prevention or have questions yourself contact Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. They have training seminars that will help you and your teams learn how to quell crime and improve profits.
Need information about Sensormatic labels, contact us or call 1.866.914.2567 now.