Department Store Loss Prevention:
A Simpler, Less Intrusive Buying Experience
New options prevent theft of designer apparel, accessories, electronics, and power tools while enabling hands-on interaction with less clutter
For department stores that offer a wide variety of clothes, accessories, electronics, and hardware, the customer’s retail experience can be just as important as loss prevention. Often the look and feel of the product on display in store, including the shopper’s ability to engage and interact with the product, can be crucial in the buying decision.
While intrusive loss prevention devices cannot be a barrier to consumers in the sales process, retailers also cannot let expensive merchandise “walk out the door” due to shoplifting or employee theft. According to the 2016 National Retail Security Survey (NRSS), retailer inventory shrinkage accounted for 1.38 percent of sales – up $1.2 billion from the previous year. In addition, 47 percent of retailers surveyed reported increases in overall inventory shrinkage.
The ideal way to display such designer merchandise is with innovative mechanical or electronic loss prevention devices, which may involve cords, sensors, an alarm console and related equipment. With online competition crimping margins and reducing brick-and-mortar retail staffing today, using effective theft deterrent devices is even more important. Now a greater array of options is allowing retailers to prevent theft and showcase merchandise more naturally with less intrusion.
Security for Apparel and Accessories
With apparel and accessories the focus of most department stores, any loss prevention device – whether a mechanical tether, alarm console or sensor – should not overshadow such products, or be cumbersome or difficult to maintain by employees. To meet this need, innovators in the industry offer a variety of loss prevention devices that secure these designer products with minimal visual clutter or intrusiveness.
In the case of a haute couture handbag, for instance, it is essential for each shopper to see for herself how it feels on the shoulder, how it rests against the hip, as well as how it opens and how much storage it offers.
Yet when some high-end items like designer handbags can cost $2,000 each or more, protecting against “grab and run” theft is critical. A single incident that can take only a few minutes can cost a retailer tens of thousands of dollars as an entire rack of merchandise is swept into a bag and out of the store.
Against such theft, companies like Se-Kure Controls, a Franklin Park, Illinois-based manufacturer of retail product security devices, offer small, retractable, lockable cords that allow customers to examine handbags up close. When the shopper returns the handbag, the cord retracts to reduce visual distraction and keep the display area organized.
The company uses a similar approach to prevent the theft of designer belts, which can cost hundreds of dollars each, with a belt lock security device. This allows hands on inspection of the belts but prevents thieves from pilfering many at once, as is the risk using a typical peg hook display.
For securely showcasing luxury apparel and accessories in a way that optimizes customer-product interactivity, a growing number of retailers are also turning to electronic merchandise display security systems.
“Retailers that want to display apparel or accessories have a range of more aesthetic, easier to use options with different sensors and alarms today,” says John Mangiameli, Se-Kure Controls Executive Vice President. “Sensors can clamp, or magnetically close for more delicate materials like silk or mink that a retailer wouldn’t want to put a pin through.”
According to Mangiameli, tilt alarms, brick-like devices that typically detect either horizontal or vertical motion, can be attached to any item to alert employees to any unauthorized movement. “Horizontal tilt alarms, for instance, can be used on countertop jewelry spinners to allow them to be spun, but not picked up and moved without sounding the alarm horn,” he says.
According to Mangiameli, some advanced electronic alarm systems are even designed to protect up to 20 garments at once. These can fit on wall, t-stand, waterfall and rounder displays while improving security, simplifying operation, and still allowing the customer to pick up and try on the garment.
One such system operates with battery life of up to 16 months, and if the alarm is triggered, battery power can sustain a continuous alarm for almost seven days. It also has a “Where-It’s-At” option that flashes a light at the top of the display to help employees locate the source of the alarm.
Security for Electronics and Power Tools
In terms of retailing electronics, customer interactivity with the product as well as effective, non-cumbersome, loss prevention devices can be just as important. As such, department store loss prevention managers are learning from the successes of experts in the electronics industry.
“We want the focus to be on the product, rather than on the power and security cords,” says Bill Jones, an AT&T regional Director of Asset Protection. “Some of the theft deterrent options on the market create quite a bit of clutter and look outdated.”
To meet this need, innovators in the industry offer a variety of loss prevention devices that secure electronic products without the mess and clutter.
A growing number of retailers, for instance, are turning to electronic merchandise display security systems like the Vantage II by Se-Kure Controls. While most systems require separate wires for security and charging the electronic device it protects, this system utilizes a single wire to provide both security and power.
“One of the things that drew us to our display security system is how nice, clean and modern it looked to have the one cord,” says Kevin Lasky, project manager for Arch Telecom, a wireless retailer with 140 locations in 13 states. “There is no separate cable running up the side of the pedestal or coming out of the display to charge the phone. That was important to us.”
Department store managers are finding additional benefits in such loss prevention devices for items ranging from electronics to power tools.
Such electronic merchandise display security systems also offer an option for dual sensors. This can prevent theft of the device, as well as detachable accessories of value such as removable camera lens for digital cameras, or lithium batteries for cordless power tools.
“In terms of protecting hardware like cordless drills and sanders, dual sensor systems can protect both the equipment and the rechargeable battery from theft,” says Mangiameli. “This is important to do while allowing shoppers to physically handle and test the equipment’s weight, heft, and ergonomics to see if it is right for them.”
With department stores facing greater competition from e-commerce, vendors that enhance the hands on buying experience of their customers, while minimizing theft with more aesthetic loss prevention devices, will gain a competitive edge.
For more info, call 800-250-9260 toll free; fax: 847-288-9999; email firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.se-kure.com; write to Se-Kure Controls, Inc., 3714 Runge St., Franklin Park, IL 60131, USA.