People Counting Systems Help You Hear What Your Sales Aren’t Telling You Part 1

For stores with no customers in it people counting systems would appear to be a waste of money. Why bother counting what isn’t walking in your store. Maybe you should be asking why aren’t people walking in your store. If patron counts are so low that you don’t need a device to keep track of them you need to find out what is keeping them out. There may be factors you haven’t even considered that are influencing customers and deterring them from coming in. They may even be telling you and you are not listening to them properly.

 

 For example, I work for a store that has a decent amount of foot traffic. The store even uses a customer counting device to measure customer conversion rates. The one question I often hear from shoppers walking in at night is, “Is the store open?” That is a question but it is also a clue, the store looks closed from the outside of the building. Why does it look closed? Because the front windows are heavily tinted to cut down on the sunlight glaring into the building. The sun shines directly in and can be overpowering and in the summer it heats the building. The tint cuts down some of that impact. The down side of it is that the store appears dark if one is looking at it from the outside. If you are a customer you might not bother trying to come in and visit. It leads me to wonder how many potential shoppers do we lose simply because of this one little issue. The solution in my opinion would be to have a bright neon light on the window that says, OPEN.

 

 Supposing company management listened to my suggestion and placed that OPEN sign so it could be viewed by customers, how would you know if it was working as you intended? That is where people counting systems are useful. Install it on your Sensormatic electronic article surveillance towers and track your foot traffic for several weeks. Afterwards put out your sign and monitor your counts at that point you will see if your solution works. If the results don’t bear out your suspicions then you use the customer counting device for other measurements. It doesn’t lose its usefulness to your store.

 

 Another purpose for the people counting systems installed in stores is the data they can provide to make it easier to see when the peak hours for a store are.  I can hear the chuckles now. “Foolish writer, I can look at my sales slips and final register read and see when my peak hours are, I don’t need to spend money on a customer counting device.” That, my friend, is not totally accurate. Yes, you can see when peak purchase hours are taking place BUT you cannot tell if that was when your peak customer foot traffic took place. How many people walked into your store and left without ever making a purchase? What are those customers telling you? “But wait Mr. Article Writer, they can’t tell me anything because they did not talk to my cashiers or make a purchase!” AHA! I have you again, they did tell you something. Those customers told you that something (or a lack of something) kept them from making a purchase in your establishment. It is up to you to figure out what it was that made them choose to leave empty-handed. Did anyone greet them when they walked in? Was assistance offered if they were looking for something specific? Did they have to wait for a salesfloor associate to open a showcase or fitting room and no one came to help? Is it possible your customers were in line at a cash register and got fed up with waiting to check out so they left? Was the appearance of the store attractive or did it look cluttered? ALL of these are thinks that can influence the decisions customers make while they are in your store. Your sales receipts won’t show this but a customer counting device can aid in seeing what isn’t happening…increased sales.

 

  “Okay Mr. Smarty-Pants, suppose I install one of these counters, then what do I do with the information, all I know is people are leaving without buying.” Boy, you really should not be calling me all of these names! However, I am not going to take offense I am going to offer some suggestions to help you but you are going to have to read those helpful tips in Part 2. But, please when you do come don’t call me so many names I’m really sensitive you know.

 

People counting systems are important and we can help you with them. Call 1.866.914.2567 and let’s talk.

 

Trying To Stop Shoplifting Built Remarkable Friendships


Stop shoplifting – 3
Sensormatic System -3                                                                                                                         wc blog 813
Trying To Stop Shoplifting Built Remarkable Friendships

     I have spent much of my life trying to stop shoplifting and other crime and in the course of doing so I have built some fantastic friendships. I thought my most memorable shoplifters were my own memories and would not be shared by anyone else. Apparently I was wrong. I happened to run into a police officer I had not seen in years while I was at my current retail job a few nights ago. I knew I recognized him but could not recall from where but he recognized me and we started talking about “the good ol’ days” when we worked on the same cases together. He brought up a shoplifting case that I share from time to time with my friends (or in an article) but I was shocked that he still remembered it. As a police officer he worked hundreds of cases so why would one particular shoplifting case stand out to him?  He asked me if I remembered the shoplifter we caught hiding in a trash can! This was a LONG time ago, like early 1990’s, but he had not forgotten about it. 

     The case involved a clothing security problem we were experiencing in the department store where I was a Loss Prevention Officer. Baseball caps were becoming a high theft issue for our store so we began focusing closed circuit television on the area. Our store had an anti-theft system to stop shoplifting, similar to a Sensormatic system but we had not started tagging hats at that point. I was focused on watching the ballcaps this day and observed a suspect walk up to the display. He picked up a small stack of hats and tucked them under his shirt and walked towards the exit. To prevent the theft of the hats I had to run to the exit, meet him at the door, recover the merchandise and escort him back to the doors. I successfully stopped the suspect… for about 5 seconds then he dropped the merchandise and ran from me. I chased the suspect to an apartment complex (we were allowed to chase in those days) and he lost me. Local police arrived but we were unable to find the would-be shoplifter. I stayed in the area after the police left and kept surveillance of the area. Eventually I saw the suspect peek out of a trash can and I called the police back through our store operator. The apartment owner also called the police when they heard movement on their porch. Police returned and lifted the lid from the trash can and the suspect tipped over then tried to flee. The suspect was captured, cuffed and transported to the city jail. 

     My police officer friend recalled the story since he responded to this call he laughed because he remembered how much our thief stank from hiding in the trash bin. I should mention it was not long after that incident that we started tagging our ballcaps with clothing security dye tags. The tags looked like the Sensormatic system Benefit Denial Tags that also have electronic article surveillance technology in them. I guess it goes to show you that you can’t take friendships for granted. Even when I only thought I was doing my job trying to stop shoplifting in the process I built partnerships and friendships that would last for a long time.

     The interesting thing is my trip down memory lane did not stop here. I have also been going through old paperwork cleaning out my briefcase and came across a certificate of recognition from the former Chief of Police for my work with the police department on a Police/Community event. By that time I had moved into a Loss Prevention Manager position with another company. There were photos of a Christmas shopping event I assisted the police and fire department to hold in our store for local underprivileged children. I came across more pictures of police/store events over the years that brought back more memories and some of the officers I have remained in contact with. 

     A Sensormatic system will help deter shoplifters from stealing from your store. Building partnerships with your local police department can help too. Offering a designated parking space for police vehicles, inviting officers to visit and have a cup of coffee and even providing a small percentage discount to police and first responders can increase their presence in your building. As you do this you will find you too can build friendships that may last longer than you imagined they would.
For more information on a Sensormatic System contact us or call 1.866.914.2567 and let’s talk.

I have spent much of my life trying to stop shoplifting and other crime and in the course of doing so I have built some fantastic friendships. I thought my most memorable shoplifters were my own memories and would not be shared by anyone else. Apparently I was wrong. I happened to run into a police officer I had not seen in years while I was at my current retail job a few nights ago. I knew I recognized him but could not recall from where but he recognized me and we started talking about “the good ol’ days” when we worked on the same cases together. He brought up a shoplifting case that I share from time to time with my friends (or in an article) but I was shocked that he still remembered it. As a police officer he worked hundreds of cases so why would one particular shoplifting case stand out to him?  He asked me if I remembered the shoplifter we caught hiding in a trash can! This was a LONG time ago, like early 1990’s, but he had not forgotten about it. 
     

The case involved a clothing security problem we were experiencing in the department store where I was a Loss Prevention Officer. Baseball caps were becoming a high theft issue for our store so we began focusing closed circuit television on the area. Our store had an anti-theft system to stop shoplifting, similar to a Sensormatic system but we had not started tagging hats at that point. I was focused on watching the ballcaps this day and observed a suspect walk up to the display. He picked up a small stack of hats and tucked them under his shirt and walked towards the exit. To prevent the theft of the hats I had to run to the exit, meet him at the door, recover the merchandise and escort him back to the doors. I successfully stopped the suspect… for about 5 seconds then he dropped the merchandise and ran from me. I chased the suspect to an apartment complex (we were allowed to chase in those days) and he lost me. Local police arrived but we were unable to find the would-be shoplifter. I stayed in the area after the police left and kept surveillance of the area. Eventually I saw the suspect peek out of a trash can and I called the police back through our store operator. The apartment owner also called the police when they heard movement on their porch. Police returned and lifted the lid from the trash can and the suspect tipped over then tried to flee. The suspect was captured, cuffed and transported to the city jail. 
     

My police officer friend recalled the story since he responded to this call he laughed because he remembered how much our thief stank from hiding in the trash bin. I should mention it was not long after that incident that we started tagging our ballcaps with clothing security dye tags. The tags looked like the Sensormatic system Benefit Denial Tags that also have electronic article surveillance technology in them. I guess it goes to show you that you can’t take friendships for granted. Even when I only thought I was doing my job trying to stop shoplifting in the process I built partnerships and friendships that would last for a long time.
     

The interesting thing is my trip down memory lane did not stop here. I have also been going through old paperwork cleaning out my briefcase and came across a certificate of recognition from the former Chief of Police for my work with the police department on a Police/Community event. By that time I had moved into a Loss Prevention Manager position with another company. There were photos of a Christmas shopping event I assisted the police and fire department to hold in our store for local underprivileged children. I came across more pictures of police/store events over the years that brought back more memories and some of the officers I have remained in contact with. 
     

A Sensormatic system will help deter shoplifters from stealing from your store. Building partnerships with your local police department can help too. Offering a designated parking space for police vehicles, inviting officers to visit and have a cup of coffee and even providing a small percentage discount to police and first responders can increase their presence in your building. As you do this you will find you too can build friendships that may last longer than you imagined they would.

 

For more information on a Sensormatic System contact us or call 1.866.914.2567 and let’s talk.

 

Employee Theft Reduction Training Can Help Avoid Blunders


Employee theft –   4                                                                                                                       WC Blog 797
Employee Theft Reduction Training – 3
Employee Theft Reduction Training Can Help Avoid Blunders

     How do you stop employee theft and shoplifting? Well, when you are a Loss Prevention Manager for a major retail store you may hire Loss Prevention Officers. Unfortunately we don’t always have the ability to see how well an employee is going to work out. I for one have made my share of poor hiring decisions. Sometimes people look great on paper and may even excel at interviewing but boy can they make life miserable when they get hired.  One such hire for me seemed like he would be competent according to his resume and application. I did see one place on his resume which caused me some minor concern but other than that the interview went well, our background check company cleared him (but to what extent he was investigated I don’t know) and we brought him onboard. I had an employee theft case I started investigating and asked this employee if he knew how to tie into a CCTV camera cable for a covert camera. He told me he did and he was anxious to help. I gave him the okay, made sure he and the other associate knew what the plan was and I went home. There may have been a better outcome had I tested his knowledge before leaving for the day because his training was lacking. I’ll finish my story shortly but it brings up two questions I have for store managers.

     What kind of employee theft reduction training do you have for your managers and do you incorporate employee background checks as part of your strategy to reduce employee theft? The two questions are not mutually exclusive. Pre-employment screening can be a tool for reducing the chances of hiring dishonest employees. The right screening company will allow you to choose what you want to have investigated. In the case of my employee if I had been given options I would have asked for that question from the resume to be investigated. Why did he have this gap or oddity on his resume? Did he actually have the experience he said he had? You can keep from making a similar mistake and ensure your employees are who they present themselves to be by using the right pre-employment screening company. Theft reduction training for non-Loss Prevention personnel is also much different than the training for Loss Prevention Associates. Theft reduction training for store managers and employees will not include running covert cameras, or conducting surveillance on shoplifters. It should include being able to identify suspicious behaviors, how to use electronic article surveillance technology to deter theft and the impact of customer service on theft prevention. Employee theft reduction for managers is or should be conducted by a business with experienced Loss Prevention trainers. Have them do the training and you won’t need to ask the follow-up questions I should have asked my employee.

     So what was it I failed to do and what was the result? Well, I took my employee’s word for what he told me, that he knew how to splice into a CCTV cable to run a separate line. The purpose was so that I could conduct surveillance in an area of the stockroom where suspected employee theft was taking place. The idea was fantastic, the execution horrible. I received a call from my store manager telling me my Associate had cut the ALARM cable to the building and he wanted to know what I was going to do about it. I had to go back to the store, see what my employee had done and then contact the alarm company. I also had to contact MY District Loss Prevention Manager and explain what had transpired. As I recall I also had to stay overnight in the building since the alarms were not working properly…did I mention my employees tried to splice the alarm wire back together? The alarm technician came out the next day and repaired the screw-up. 

     I wound up setting the covert camera myself and I did finally catch the dishonest employee but at quite a cost. I also eventually fired the Associate. After this I always made sure I spent a great deal of time training one of my Associates before allowing them to help me with an employee theft investigation. For you employee theft reduction training can be much easier than it was for me. Use a background check company so you don’t have as many workers stealing from you and hire a company specializing in Loss Prevention training to do your training for you. Trust me the results will be so much better than what I went through.
Get more information on employee theft reduction training, contact us or call 1.866.914.2567

How do you stop employee theft and shoplifting? Well, when you are a Loss Prevention Manager for a major retail store you may hire Loss Prevention Officers. Unfortunately we don’t always have the ability to see how well an employee is going to work out. I for one have made my share of poor hiring decisions. Sometimes people look great on paper and may even excel at interviewing but boy can they make life miserable when they get hired.  One such hire for me seemed like he would be competent according to his resume and application. I did see one place on his resume which caused me some minor concern but other than that the interview went well, our background check company cleared him (but to what extent he was investigated I don’t know) and we brought him onboard. I had an employee theft case I started investigating and asked this employee if he knew how to tie into a CCTV camera cable for a covert camera. He told me he did and he was anxious to help. I gave him the okay, made sure he and the other associate knew what the plan was and I went home. There may have been a better outcome had I tested his knowledge before leaving for the day because his training was lacking. I’ll finish my story shortly but it brings up two questions I have for store managers.
     

What kind of employee theft reduction training do you have for your managers and do you incorporate employee background checks as part of your strategy to reduce employee theft? The two questions are not mutually exclusive. Pre-employment screening can be a tool for reducing the chances of hiring dishonest employees. The right screening company will allow you to choose what you want to have investigated. In the case of my employee if I had been given options I would have asked for that question from the resume to be investigated. Why did he have this gap or oddity on his resume? Did he actually have the experience he said he had? You can keep from making a similar mistake and ensure your employees are who they present themselves to be by using the right pre-employment screening company. Theft reduction training for non-Loss Prevention personnel is also much different than the training for Loss Prevention Associates. Theft reduction training for store managers and employees will not include running covert cameras, or conducting surveillance on shoplifters. It should include being able to identify suspicious behaviors, how to use electronic article surveillance technology to deter theft and the impact of customer service on theft prevention. Employee theft reduction for managers is or should be conducted by a business with experienced Loss Prevention trainers. Have them do the training and you won’t need to ask the follow-up questions I should have asked my employee.
     

So what was it I failed to do and what was the result? Well, I took my employee’s word for what he told me, that he knew how to splice into a CCTV cable to run a separate line. The purpose was so that I could conduct surveillance in an area of the stockroom where suspected employee theft was taking place. The idea was fantastic, the execution horrible. I received a call from my store manager telling me my Associate had cut the ALARM cable to the building and he wanted to know what I was going to do about it. I had to go back to the store, see what my employee had done and then contact the alarm company. I also had to contact MY District Loss Prevention Manager and explain what had transpired. As I recall I also had to stay overnight in the building since the alarms were not working properly…did I mention my employees tried to splice the alarm wire back together? The alarm technician came out the next day and repaired the screw-up. 
     

I wound up setting the covert camera myself and I did finally catch the dishonest employee but at quite a cost. I also eventually fired the Associate. After this I always made sure I spent a great deal of time training one of my Associates before allowing them to help me with an employee theft investigation. For you employee theft reduction training can be much easier than it was for me. Use a background check company so you don’t have as many workers stealing from you and hire a company specializing in Loss Prevention training to do your training for you. Trust me the results will be so much better than what I went through.

 

Get more information on employee theft reduction training, contact us or call 1.866.914.2567