Anyone who is in the retail clothing business knows that the highest risk for shoplifting occurs in the changing room. This is the location where the shoplifter feels free to attack the anti-shoplifting features of the merchandise. They know that closed-circuit television can’t watch them inside the changing room and there is no electronic article surveillance antennae located at the changing room or customers could not take merchandise into the changing room if there were clothing security tags located on the merchandise.
In order to be successful at defeating a shoplifter intent on stealing your apparel merchandise, you need to have good strategies in place enforced by strong policy. Monitored fitting rooms are of course the best and strongest option with your staff counting and tagging merchandise going into the fitting room and checking items coming out as well as immediately searching the fitting room as the customer departs the room; however, this is not always practical to the small retailer.
The next best thing is conducting regular checks of your fitting rooms regularly throughout the day while utilizing clothing security tags and hard tags such as the 2 alarm or 3 alarm Checkpoint tags by Checkpoint Systems. These clothing security tags provide multiple defenses against attempts to steal clothing merchandise. The tags will alarm when they enter the field of an electronic article surveillance (EAS) antenna but they will also alarm if an attempt is made to remove the pin that secures the tag to the garment. It will also alarm if the pin is cut to remove it. In addition, the 2 alarm and 3 alarm Alpha tags by Checkpoint have a flashing LED light that basically tells the shoplifter, “Don’t tread on me.” The only way to remove the tag is with the magnetic key used by your cashiers to do so once the merchandise is purchased.
Checkpoint has a variety of Checkpoint tags enabling you to place a variety of security tags on clothes. There are tags that are very low-profile that house clothing security tags that will set off the EAS alarms at the door as well as tags designed to make the merchandise worthless to the shoplifter should they get the merchandise out of the store and try to remove the tag as it will release an ink that will permanently stain the garment, making it worthless.
In addition if you want to really add to your clothing security, all you have to do is hide soft Checkpoint tags inside the pockets of the garment and should the shoplifter be able to defeat one of the low profile hard tags they won’t think about multiple layers of clothing security and be caught by the soft Checkpoint tags when they try to leave the store.
I have seen all of the strategies work inside real store operations with customers trying to wear merchandise out of the store that they changed into in the fitting room and being apprehended at the door when the EAS alarms were activated. I have seen the shoplifter look at me dumfounded when I was waiting for them to come outside the fitting room when they activated a 95 dB alarm on a Checkpoint tag when they tried to remove the tag inside the fitting room, not knowing what to say except confess. Fortunately, removal of an anti-theft device was a crime in the state in which we were operating, and unfortunately for them, that wasn’t their first time at shoplifting so they became long-term guests of the state. I have been called to the customer service desk when someone brought in a garment that had a distinctive ink stain on the garment and was trying to return it – yes, they really tried to return it. It didn’t take more than 30 minutes of interviewing to get the truth out of them that they had stolen the merchandise and tried to remove the Checkpoint tag only to spray ink all over the garment.
Although fitting rooms are “safe haven” in the eyes of shoplifters, you don’t have to allow them to be. If you employ strong policies, routine fitting room checks, and clothing security tags, you will make the thief feel as they entered a “danger zone” rather than a “safe haven.”
For more information on Checkpoint tags contact us or call 1.770.426.0547.