Prevent Retail Theft: The Detachment Effect

Having increased the amount of merchandise that we secure with anti-shoplifting methods in our store, one of the biggest struggles that I have had to come to terms with is training our employees. The bottom line is that they must always be on the look out for anti-theft devices at the point of sale in order to deactivate them during a sale. In the past we had relied on lists of protected merchandise at the registers to inform our employees what merchandise they will need to remove anti-theft devices from. After a while these lists became too long and cluttered to use and things were getting missed.

 While anti-shoplifting devices are a great tool to prevent retail theft, when you do not properly remove these devices, you can have the opposite effect. The first negative effect is increased workload. When the employee doesn’t remove a security measure at the register, the alarms at the doors will sound. With any luck the employees in the area will respond to the alarm and remove whatever it was that was setting off the alarm. This additional encounter is unnecessary and not productive. In the case that an employee does not respond to the alarm, this causes our second problem. Customers and potential shoplifters will observe the lack of attention to the alarm and begin to form the idea that theft is possible because no one is looking. Lastly, we have the problem of a negative customer impression. If the employee responds, the customer is embarrassed as we are forcing them to set of the alarm and return to the register under the watchful eye of all who heard it. If the employee doesn’t respond, when the customer gets home they will soon find that they can’t use their new item and have to drive all the way back to get the device removed.

 The solution to all of these issues is simple, look for anti-theft devices on every item, and detach all that you find. Preventing retail theft is paramount, and using anti-shoplifting devices to do so is absolutely necessary. Just don’t forget that proper use and removal is just as important.

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Posted March 23rd, 2012 by Staff Writer and filed in prevent theft

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