The use of Electronic Article Surveillance (merchandise security tagging) is one of the most popular and proven effective methods of reducing external retail theft.
In addition to triggering an audible alarm when a security tagged item is removed from store, the presence of front-of-store detection gates are a visible deterrent to shoplifters.
We understand that many retailers are moving away from the practice of security tagging just their high cost or high-end apparel, in favour of routine tagging of all stock in an attempt to reduce the risk of theft.
Worryingly, however, some retailers within the SafeCity Network have recently reported theft and stock loss of security tagged items, without a resulting gate alarm – leaving retailers none the wiser that the items have been taken until too late. Multiple retailers have reported finding security tags left in change rooms or on the shop floor, pointing to the use of ‘de-taggers’.
A quick search online certainly does seem to indicate that handheld de-tagging tools are easily accessible. Other sites detail various methods of manual ‘DIY removal’ of clothing security tags. How effective and how widespread these tools and techniques are is unknown but, at a minimum, their existence suggests that retailers should guard against complacency when it comes to your in-store security procedures.
So what else can you do? There are a number of actions that retailers can implement immediately, to complement your existing security measures, including:
- prominently display appropriate condition of entry, bag check and CCTV signage in-store;
- ensure that staff are adequately trained in your store’s policies and procedures, empowering them to take the required action with confidence;
- position staff near fitting rooms to hang clothes and take items from customers on exiting, limiting and observing the number of items going in and coming out;
- only display one of paired items;
- display high value items in locked cabinets or behind the register;
- ensure a clear line of sight from the register to high theft items;
- Stack items closely on shelves so that removal is not so quick and easy;
- Keep cash on premises to low levels; and
- report any instances of theft to police and share within the SafeCity Network.
Share your experience, and your in-store processes for preventing retail theft with the network.