This guest post is from loss prevention expert Bill Bregar, President of Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. which offers shoplifting prevention equipment as well as training to reduce shoplifting loss.
When you step back and look at retail store infrastructure, you get a much different picture than we did even 20 years ago. The very new design of the building, lighting, flooring, signage, fixtures such as shelving and displays, security, etc. have all become the norm. Not just the norm but basic infrastructure requirements.
Part of the security infrastructure is an Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) system such as a Checkpoint System. I could spend time here quoting figures of what shoplifters cost retail and consumers in losses and higher prices but that is all well known. I have been in loss prevention and law enforcement over 35 years. The experiences I have had and lessons I have learned during that time have lead me to understand that there are only two real solutions to shoplifting.
What a Retailer must understand is that you always must be on the OFFENSE with shoplifters.
We must PREVENT shoplifting losses. Prevention is offense. A plan that emphasizes catching shoplifters, although still necessary in some cases, is defensive and is a losing economic battle. Going on the offense requires two things that must be done simultaneously: 1.) ongoing training and aggressive customer service, and 2.) a Checkpoint or EAS system.
Training your folks to provide aggressive customer service not only increases sales and customer satisfaction but scares the shoplifters at all levels off. This includes impulse, amateur and professional shoplifters.
When I say “aggressive” customer service I don’t mean browbeating legitimate customers. Customers come to your store for many reasons. Store designs that make a warm, professional and inviting experience is what helps bring customers in. Once they are in the door, they should be treated in such a manner that exceeds their expectations. Customers are expecting knowledgeable, friendly staff that is there to intelligently answer their questions. When you meet or exceed those, it creates a memorable experience that drives them to return again. They probably can get the same or similar products you sell from any number of retailers, maybe even at a better price. So why come to you? In most cases it is the “retail therapy” you provide over your competition.
SHOPLIFTERS HATE this kind of attention. They require privacy even if just for a moment. Customer service, attentive and knowledgeable staff are the anti-Christ for shoplifters. So train your staff to make your good customers feel welcome and special. At the same time have fun ruining the shoplifters’ day! Both use the same techniques.
So if all of this works why do I need a Checkpoint System?
Well, as awesome as we are as retailers, we cannot be everywhere at once. We cannot detect each and every shoplifter as they are in our stores. Amateurs and professional shoplifters will take advantage of an imbalance in the staff to customer ratio on busy days, will create distractions or use techniques that are difficult to detect by your staff.
A Checkpoint System is working 24/7. The expansive amount of Checkpoint and Alpha High Theft Solutions we at Loss Prevention Systems offer, will protect almost any piece of merchandise you have. Loss Prevention Systems designs your system with an LP eye not just to sell you something.
On top of all that Loss Prevention Systems provides you with live shoplifting prevention training for the life of your system. As reasonably often as you need it, we will train new staff and brush up the skills of existing staff, free of charge for the life of your Checkpoint System by Loss Prevention Systems. This brings both solutions together and maintains them for you. The worst thing you can do is invest in equipment and Customer Service solutions, pat yourself on the back for fixing the problem and then six months later you are back in the same problem because you did not maintain both solutions.
NOW is the time to go into attack mode with shoplifters.
Make this year your profitable, best ever. This sets the stage for additional profit growth in the years to come.