Tackling shoplifting with Checkpoint Systems
Mike French, Business Unit Director at Checkpoint Systems UK
Shoplifting is a perennial challenge for retailers and, according to the latest data released by Police Forces across the UK, and reviewed by Checkpoint Systems UK, there were more than 366,952 reported incidents in 2018. It’s a shocking statistic and particularly troublesome considering the number of stores that have ceased trading over the last 12 months due to poor financial performance.
Worryingly, retailers believe that this figure is a gross underestimate and that the real number may be closer to 950,000. Why? I suspect that it’s because many smaller stores are now unwilling or don’t see the point of reporting shoplifters. One of the main reasons for this is the 2014 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, which defines "low-value shoplifting" as a summary offence that doesn’t warrant a police investigation if the theft is less than £200. In addition to this, it could simply be that the store isn’t aware that there has even been a theft until they manually check their inventory.
What I find most telling of all is that there is no suspect identified in more than 43% of reported incidents. While it’s not clear why this is, inadequate security processes and theft prevention solutions are likely to be major factors. And as we continue to face a particularity turbulent economic period, it’s vital that retailers are protecting their merchandise from both theft and loss – be it online, in store or along the supply chain – so that they can sell more. This is where Checkpoint’s unique source to shopper capability can help.
Where is shoplifting hurting retailers most?
The 2018 police data mentioned above, provides useful insights to retailers, especially those that operate nationwide, as they can identify the shoplifting hotspots which may determine where best to locate their operations.
In 2018, retailers in the City of London experienced a 20% increase in shoplifting, while those based in Cleveland (16%), Durham (14%), Nottinghamshire (13%) and West Mercia (11%) also experienced double-digit rises last year.
Conversely, those based in the Thames Valley (-18%), Northamptonshire (-14%), South Yorkshire (-12%), Cambridgeshire (-12%) and Gwent (-12%) all reported positive news, with a total of 6,499 fewer instances of shoplifting during the year, compared to 2017.
Store compliance is a proven and effective way of deterring and catching shoplifters. In order to identify and apprehend suspected shoplifters it’s vital that store associates respond to alarms and any antenna issues as quickly as possible. Our Halo software – which we revealed at NRF – alerts staff when EAS alarms are activated or when there are system-malfunctions, and monitors their responses. It means managers can ensure their in-store teams are following the correct procedures and minimising the chance a shoplifter will succeed in stealing an item.
Checkpoint’s innovative, NEO electronics, which we launched last year, have revolutionised RF-based EAS antennas, boosting the detection range by up to 35% and allowing stores to place the sensors further apart to create a more enticing store entrance, whilst not compromising on detection levels.
The unique technology also delivers superior detection and can protect even the smallest of labels. Our NEO-enabled antennas can become a key component of the connected store, providing retailers with a live system health check and online service support to ensure they operate effectively 24/7, while alarm-related data can be synchronised to provide real-time actionable insights.
The right tagging solutions
The second step for retail loss prevention is security tagging, but a truly effective loss prevention programme centres on retailers identifying their most at-risk merchandise and deploying appropriate theft prevention solutions to protect them.
One of the most effective ways of doing this is the implementation of RFID label and software technology. While it is most commonly known for delivering improved inventory accuracy, it can provide complete visibility of a product’s movements in-store. And it enables retailers to see which items have been stolen in real-time so they can respond accordingly.
However, more often than not, basic security labels and tags are not suitable for the most at-risk items – fresh meat, expensive headphones and alcohol, for example. We’ve seen instances when the security solution is easily removed or the product is simply taken out of the box. And that’s where Checkpoint’s Alpha High-Theft Solutions division comes in.
It has developed some incredible, highly innovative, personalised solutions that protect specific merchandise. An example is the Mini Needlelok that has been created to protect delicate apparel items without damaging the garment. Additionally, the ALPHA Density Tag is another ingenious solution that protects valuable items inside packaged merchandise by “sensing” a product’s presence through the box – if the item is removed from the package, the change in measured density results in an audible alarm. And not to mention our latest generation of bottle caps that are proven to reduce theft of high end spirits and wines.
If you are a retailer and need our expertise to help detect and prevent in-store theft, contact Checkpoint Systems today on 01635 567070. Click on the heat map below to take a look at the UK's hotspots.
Checkpoint Systems, a division of CCL Industries, addresses two critical issues for its customers: Improving Profitability and Improving Consumer experience. With consumer demands accelerating at an extraordinary rate driven by technology, Checkpoint recognizes the challenges faced by its customers in the rapidly evolving retail market. We deliver intelligent solutions – bringing clarity and efficiency into the retail environment anytime, anywhere. Through a unique offering of software, hardware, labels, tags and connected cloud based solutions, Checkpoint optimizes operational efficiencies through analysis of real time data captured throughout the Supply Chain and in store then translating this to clear concise actions and tasks.
We provide end-to-end solutions enabling retailers to achieve accurate real-time inventory, accelerate the replenishment cycle, prevent out-of-stocks and reduce theft, thus improving merchandise availability and the shopper’s experience. Checkpoint’s solutions are built upon 48 years of radio frequency technology expertise, innovative high-theft and loss-prevention solutions, market-leading RFID hardware, RFID software, and comprehensive labeling capabilities, to brand, secure and track merchandise from source to shelf. Checkpoint’s customers benefit from increased sales and profits by implementing merchandise availability solutions, to ensure the right merchandise is available at the right place and time when consumers are ready to buy. Checkpoint operates in every major geographic market and employs 4,500 people worldwide.