Resolved Or Solved? How Planning Can Make New Year’s Resolutions Work

Have you ever noticed how we all anticipate a New Year will bring new and exciting things into our lives (or businesses) but after the first month we often realize that nothing is new or improved or better? In fact, we may be disappointed as the year progresses that problems we hoped would be resolved (read, “magically disappear”) are still there. We make resolutions at the beginning of the year that are meant to help “improve” or “fix” something we know is an opportunity but then we slide back into our routines and those “problems” don’t get any better.

     In retail, those problems may involve personnel issues such as hiring and retention. Concerns may be for store profitability including expenses, sales, and shortage. Maybe concerns are over what may be classified non-controllable expenses, building rent, taxes, etc. Wishing problems away is not a solution nor is a resolution. If you want to resolve to solve problems you have you need to create an actual action plan and then take a partner(s) to stick to it, often one of your store managers or department management team. As you look at the areas of opportunity and break them down you can find that correcting one area can make a significant impact on other areas. Let me give you an example of what I mean.

e.g You identify that you have an issue with excessively high merchandise shrink.

      You need to identify all of the possible causes of the shortage problem.

  1. Do you use retail anti-theft devices?
  2. If you use a Sensormatic security system are you tagging everything?
  3. What areas are your highest shortage departments and are they vendor serviced?
    • If they are vendor serviced are you checking in and out vendors?
    • Are you improperly tossing out of date merchandise rather than receiving vendor credits?  
  4. Is employee theft causing shrinkage you haven’t seen?
    • Do you complete pre-employment background checks before hiring?
    • Do you require pre-employment drug screening?
    • Do you know the signals to look for that would indicate an employee may be stealing?
  5. Do you control your compactor and who throws out the trash and if you have a baler who is crushing cardboard?
    • Employees and vendors who are stealing and have access to a compactor will toss out the empty packages they would otherwise leave behind.
    • Uncontrolled compactors mean anyone can throw away anything that looks like trash but some small items can be overlooked and thrown away and cause a shortage.

These are not all of the contributors to a shortage. You can continue to drill down and I would encourage you and your team to do so. The project doesn’t stop there. Once you have identified the issues you need to create an action plan to address each concern. The plan should also include benchmarks or measurements that will show you are doing what you said you would do. There must also be deadlines for completion.

     There are areas that will cross over and can be beneficial to each section. Let’s say that you have focused on shortage and you also believe you have a hiring/retention problem. It seems people are going in and out like a revolving door. You have to ask yourself are you hiring the right people in the first place. If your employees keep leaving it could be they have stolen from you to get what they want and they are leaving before you catch on to them. If you start doing background checks you will be more selective in who you are bringing on your team. You may have been hiring a lot of people with criminal records or spotty work histories. Being selective and hiring the right people can also build a more dependable workforce. This leads to improved morale, more initiative and a better work ethic overall. Improving your hiring can improve shortage results due to dishonest employee activity.

     Another example of crossover would be compactor controls. Start regulating who is tossing out the trash and you impact retail shrinkage but you may also find that merchandise that was being overlooked is now being stocked more carefully. Overlooked items are getting back on the sales floor. Not only do you reduce shortage you improve sales.

     Wishing the New Year will bring improvements is no way to operate a business. Planning and follow through on those plans will bring about the positive changes you want to see. Resolve that 2019 will be a year of growth and profitable sales! Happy New Year!


Combating Shoplifting In Your Business

One of the most prevalent crimes in the United States is shoplifting.  While many state governments and lawmakers have taken a strong approach to combat shoplifting, it is a battle that keeps the retail industry checking their loss prevention measures, and their ability to combat this crime.

According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, (NASP) the retail industry loses approximately $35 million per day. Even when advances in technology have aided the loss prevention team in combating this crime, figures about shoplifting has shown an increase in the average inventory shrink rate to 1.44 percent. 

The average shrink rates take into consideration shoplifting, internal theft, vendor or merchant errors and administrative errors.  And although shoplifting accounts for more than a third of the losses, internal or employee theft is pretty close behind.  An employee that is using the cash register as their personal piggy bank, or an employee that steals merchandise worth hundreds of dollars in one incident can be as detrimental as the shoplifter entering the store and stealing merchandise from the shelves.

How can you prevent or combat shoplifting in your store?

Training – One of the best measures for the prevention of shoplifting is training the loss prevention team and management of the store to spot and react accordingly when witnessing a theft. If a theft is happening and a trained employee is a witness to the incident, merchandise can be salvaged and the shoplifter can be apprehended without having the incident escalate to violence.

Hiring – Background checks before hiring an employee can save you time and money.  An employee with a clean employment record can be hired and trained and become an asset to the business right away. According to the 2014 Industry Training Report, small companies with less than 1,000 employees spent an average of $1,238 per training per employee that year. If the new employee is not properly checked or interviewed, the company might lose money and labor that eventually translates into loses for the business and their ability to grow.

Customer Service – The research regarding this important area in the retail industry is unanimous in their findings.  Better customer service means less theft.  Not only that, but better customer service translates into more profits.  Happy customers can be an asset to any business.  Good PR can mean more sales, more customers and more profits.

Shoplifting System – Installing a shoplifting system in your store is part of a solution to the problem, not a whole solution by itself.  The system will discourage thieves and employees from taking merchandise out of the store without paying, and that is an advantage you cannot do without.

If you are interested in installing a shoplifting system, training your personnel, or using background checks to perfect hiring, call us.  We are a company dedicated to providing stores and other businesses the tools necessary to succeed.

We Installed A Sensormatic System. Our Shoplifting Problems Are Over, Right?

NO! not yet. Before we begin patting ourselves on the back you must remember that your Sensormatic System is only part of your shoplifting solution. Your Sensormatic System will protect your merchandise however, many shoplifters are determined and will try to steal anyway. The Sensormatic System itself is a deterrent. Its mere presence will dissuade many shoplifters.

There are TWO PARTS to the shoplifting solution. Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. (LPSI) did not invent them, we simply perfected them both. So in your case:

✓  Sensormatic System installed by Loss Prevention Systems.

 Staff training by Loss Prevention Systems. LPSI includes FREE anti-shoplifting training with every Sensormatic system you purchase from us, as often as you reasonably need it.

Let’s discuss the training to teach your staff how to deter shoplifters. First, we have to get our heads straight about your Sensormatic System. The system is there protecting your tagged merchandise 24/7. It is critical to have but you must realize that to fully stop shoplifters, the first line of defense must be customer service. Shoplifters hate customer service. They do not want you near them and need privacy to conceal your merchandise even if only for a moment.

We want to teach your staff to approach every customer and at a minimum greet them. Did you know that over half of all shoplifters are classified as “impulse” shoplifters? An impulse shoplifter is someone who has entered your store and will only shoplift if you give them the opportunity. Many studies over the years have shown that most impulse shoplifters will not shoplift in your store, during that visit if they are properly greeted! Wow, that means that if you or your staff greet them when they walk in the door with a verbal greeting such as “welcome to xxxx” and as important use good eye contact that it is likely that the impulse shoplifter will not steal from you during that visit! So you have put a serious dent in your shoplifting losses by just greeting customers.

Of course, greeting customers also helps us to achieve higher sales. It gives the legitimate customer a chance to ask a question and makes them feel more at home. Think about it, good customers love customer service, shoplifters hate it. Customer service everyone to death and increase your sales and reduce your shoplifting losses all with one technique.


Is There A Real Difference: EAS Tags & Labels?

You think that you may be scoring a great deal on cheap, knock-off Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) hard tags and labels, however, over time you find that you are missing shoplifters due to poor pick rates or hard tags that are easy to defeat. Why? To make real, quality EAS hard tags and labels it takes more effort and time. The materials and sophistication of the circuit is not something that can be easily done by a slave laborer in some dark factory in a third world nation. The labels we sell are all high-quality EAS labels and tags that are both Sensormatic and Checkpoint Systems compatible.

For example, we see hard tags that can be simply pried apart with a screwdriver. Or labels that fall off when the adhesive dries up. So what standards should you be applying to both EAS labels and hard tags?


  • High-quality labels have a high pick rate (sensitivity) at your EAS system. Our labels have some of the highest pick rates around.
  • Quality control is critical! Not every label manufactured meets the high standards that we set. That’s why Loss Prevention Systems’ labels that do not pass QC are marked. Those labels will probably work but we suggest that you do not use them. However, every roll of our labels has 2000+ labels. How do we do that? See the next point.
  • Better value! Because the QC mark does show up from time to time, we want to make sure that you get at least 2000 labels on a roll. To achieve that target we actually add approximately 2% more labels to each roll. It is rare to have 2% marked labels on a roll and so you end up with more good labels.
  • Aggressive adhesive! When you put our label on your merchandise, it is there to stay. After about an hour the adhesive sets up and that label is not going to fall off.
  • Variety! We stock many sizes and shapes labels that are Sensormatic or Checkpoint Systems compatible. One type of Checkpoint compatible RF label you should check out is our clear label. It can be applied directly over your merchandise barcode and your scanner can scan right through it. This helps disguise the label and it does not cover up vital information such as directions on your merchandise packaging.
  • Our labels will not reactivate after they have been deactivated! When you pass our label over a quality deactivation unit, it kills the label and the label stays dead. It will not reactivate after your customer leaves the Point-Of-Sale (POS) cash register and before your front door. Cheap labels can and will do this in many cases at an alarming rate. This causes an unnecessary alarm that you have to deal with, embarrassing your good customers.
  • Most of our labels are faced with Thermal Transfer (TT) paper. That means you can print on them with your TT printer which you use to print your store pricing labels. This also helps disguise the EAS label.


  • Look at the seams of a hard tag. Are the seams welded together so that they are smooth and cannot be pried apart with a tool? Our hard tags have a tightly welded seam.
  • Snag clothing? Poorly made hard tags can have a rough seam that will snag your clothing merchandise.
  • Our hard tags come in a wide range of unique styles, sizes, and colors.
  • The clutch mechanism in our hard tags grabs the pin and does not let go easily. The best hard tag in the world is useless unless the tag can securely hold the pin.
  • We have some of the smallest hard tags on the market. They can not only be used for protecting many types of jewelry but can be used on any other product that you can clip it onto.

So don’t cut yourself short. You paid for and installed an EAS system; do not let your investment give you an inadequate return because you use cheap labels or tags. Interested in samples of Loss Prevention Systems’ labels and hard tags? Contact us for a free sample pack.

Preventing Shoplifting The Right Way

The laws in the United States concerning shoplifting undergo changes that in some instances put the strain on the retailers and their profit margins.  The shoplifting law changes in 2014, in California, for example, let retailers in the state feel a sense of vulnerability and hopelessness.  They expressed concerns about the fact that the laws allowed individuals to feel empowered to go into a store and shoplift without getting into too much trouble. 

Those losses are not only detrimental to the profit margins of the store but can mean an increase in the number of shoplifters that can enter the store feeling embolden to steal. Such an increase comes with an increase in violence, and retailers are feeling the change. Proposition 47 passed in 2014 that reduce the penalties for many crimes, shoplifting included a law change that has left many retailers feeling vulnerable.

On the other hand, big retailers such as Wal-Mart, Bloomingdales, and Krogers are being sued for extorting customers.  They accuse customers of shoplifting and then charging them money for the “courtesy” of not calling the police. The customers are bullied into paying for an online class by a company called Corrective Education Company and then the company pays Wal-Mart, Bloomingdales, and Krogers a cut of what they are charging these accused customers.  The practice is insidious and wrong according to the legal company carrying the lawsuit, and customers and retailers have to be aware of this insidious and amoral practice.

Shoplifting is a crime, and retailers are arguably upset by the law changes that make it for them more difficult to do business. But, accusing customers that do not have the financial means to hire legal counsel is preying upon the poor and defenseless, and that is morally wrong.

Protecting a business from shoplifters is the responsibility of the owner and the management team, and no one understands the travail the loss prevention team goes through every day when the store opens its door for business. If, as a store owner, you are asking yourself what is a good solution for the prevention of shoplifting, we have to tell you, you have many.

But, one of the most effective solutions you have at your disposal for the prevention of shoplifting in your businesses is training your personnel and management team.  Research has shown time and again that having trained personnel in your store or business decreases your losses thus increasing your profits.

How Abused Return Policies Can Hamper Customer Relations

Having to balance a customer friendly environment that makes patrons feel like you want their business and keeping a structure in place that ensures the store is profitable can be difficult. This is especially true when it comes to customer returns. At times, return policies even seem to put store management and loss prevention teams at odds with each other. On one hand, stores are afraid that a strict return policy will turn off regular customers and result in a loss of business. On the other hand Loss Prevention teams in their efforts to…well…prevent losses have a tendency to want to tighten procedures on everything. There is an argument to be made for both sides but there may also be a happy middle ground where both can come to an agreement.

Customers can and do lose receipts and in many instances, this hinders the person’s ability to get a refund and in some stores, it may even prevent an exchange of merchandise. In some of these situations, the customer may only be seeking to exchange an item for a different size, color or design and yet the manager sticks to the policy regardless of circumstances. This hardline approach can and does anger many shoppers and it will result in lost business. Yes, the policy is in place and the intentions of it are good but the lack of flexibility in not permitting even an even exchange or a trade for a similar item can be a poor choice. A store will pay for that decision through the loss of future sales.

Many stores have gone to the extreme of allowing an exchange or return giving the shopper up to 365 days to make a return! In a article, “15 Stores With The Best Return Policies”, by Maryalene LaPonsie, Nov. 22, 2017, they reference 15 stores that have some of the best (read easiest) return policies. The article points out that even among these stores a bit of tightening up on the policies had to be done due to return fraud and abuse. Still, consumers will find that even without receipts they can at least receive store credits towards future purchases. Not too bad for losing a receipt and keeping merchandise for a year.

From a Loss Prevention perspective, this seems far too excessive and an abuse of a retailer’s goodwill. Taking back a return that is a year old or even 90 days old means that item has dropped in value due to markdowns or because it is out of season and no one is going to purchase it. Loss Prevention departments are concerned with profitability just as are store managers but tend to see things in more immediate terms. Taking that winter coat back in July means that it is either going to take up valuable stockroom space or will have to be marked down. Is there some way to come to an understanding between Loss Prevention concerns and store manager concerns?

Shoplifters do abuse store return policies often on repeat occasions. A May 14, 2018 article by staff, “Racine woman charged for Walmart thefts”, reported on a woman who was caught on camera entering a Walmart store, selecting an airbed and taking it to the return desk and receiving a gift card. She was caught on camera committing the same type of theft about three weeks later at the same store. The story reported that the suspect had a history of shoplifting in the county dating back to 1991. In a related story from, May 21, 2018, a woman entered a Walmart store and “placed several items into a cart including DVD’s, floor mats, jeans, household goods and groceries.” The story relates that she went to the service desk and made returns for items she hadn’t bought and was able to get about $64 cash. This offender also had a history of 10 prior theft convictions.

Store owners and Loss Prevention officials need to devise clear-cut policies that provide fair returns and refunds to honest customers while putting roadblocks in place for criminals. Once policies are hashed out and agreed upon, consistency in administering those policies is required. Deviating and making exceptions only opens up the door to return fraud and abuse and takes you back to square one and career shoplifters will continue to abuse your goodwill. 

Good Intentions With Bad Outcomes; Retailers Must Prepare For Increased Violence From Shoplifting Gangs

Actions based on good intentions don’t always have good results. One of the most famous of missteps was the Coca-Cola attempt to improve its formula and market “New” Coke. The idea was well-intentioned but the public reception was cool if not outright hostile. According to the website INVESTOPEDIA, “ “Classic Coke” returned to the shelves less than three months after it had been retired.” In the same article, they point out that in 2008 the manufacturer of Motrin found out that there was a problem with the medicine not dissolving properly. Reportedly they did not want to “incur the associated negative publicity, the firm sent out secret shoppers to buy the products off of store shelves, which resulted in a lawsuit in Oregon in 2011.” (“8 Good Intentions With Bad Outcomes”, Lisa Smith, updated December 15, 2017). Laws can have the same problems of unintended consequences, helping one constituency while hurting another.

In an article in LPM Magazine, “Retail Crime In Los Angeles”, May 1, 2018, An example of a law that was intended to help “reduce prison crowding in California’s overwhelmed prisons and provide treatment rather than jail time to qualifying drug offenders” was Proposition 47. How could such a program go wrong? Who would not benefit from such a law? Apparently, retailers are bearing the burden of unforeseen consequences in this case. According to the article part of Proposition 47 also converted “many non-violent offenses, including shoplifting from felonies to misdemeanors.” The story goes on to say that shoplifting offense under $950 result only in a citation to show up in court. Inevitably career and habitual shoplifters are going to learn what the lines are between a misdemeanor and a felony and they are going to take advantage of those delineations.

It seems that shoplifting has dramatically increased in Los Angeles as criminals have found that it is lucrative for them to engage in the crime with minimal cost if they are caught. The ramifications that are being felt include increased monetary losses for retailers due to theft-related shrink. Worse, the story states that violent behavior from shoplifters is seemingly on the rise. Danger has always been a concern for retailers and especially Loss Prevention professionals when stopping a shoplifter(s). Now that potentially violent criminals have been released because of the reclassification of certain crimes the stakes are higher. The story points out that gangs are becoming more active in shoplifting. As mentioned criminals are quick to learn and they learn rapidly when penalties for a crime become less severe.

Violence in shoplifting cases is becoming more pronounced and not simply in Los Angeles. A story on by the reporter, Michelle Bandur, Dec. 20, 2017, referenced a group of women boosting merchandise from retailers in the Omaha area. Detective Galloway interviewed in the report, “said they don’t avoid confrontation and may resort to violence.” He said they have received reports that these women will, “… load bags in front of employees and sometimes I’ve been told by employees they will taunt them.” He went on to describe incidents of the members of the group knocking people to the floor. They have attempted to run over others in a parking lot if they noticed a person trying to take a picture of their license plate. These incidents support data from the National Retail Federation 2017 Organized Retail Crime Survey. According to the survey, 98.5% of responding retailers reported “ORC (Organized Retail Crime) gangs are just as aggressive or more aggressive and violent when compared with last year. 26.5% said that gangs are much more aggressive than in the previous year (pg. 10). If these numbers from the NRF Survey are true, when coupled with Proposition 47 retailers in L.A. may be in for some very rocky times in years to come.

Retailer owners must become familiar with methods to prevent shoplifting without endangering employees in the process. Tried and true methods such as aggressive customer service may not be effective deterrents any longer. Adjustments by Managers may include carefully reviewing hours of operation and not staying open as late at night. If cameras are not in place owners may want to install them to have quality video and pictures for police in case of a serious incident. Starting a Retail Crime Prevention organization in partnership with local police can help identify theft trends and organized and violent persons. Finally, retail theft prevention training from Loss Prevention Systems Inc. can provide more information on how to stop theft and keep your employees safe from harm.

Prop. 47 may have been well-intentioned but it has opened up a Pandora’s Box of problems for California retailers.  Through proper training, owners and managers can position store teams to be ready for security and safety issues now and in the future.

Reviewing Your Store Policies Today

Reviewing your store policies today and training your employees about the ramification of not following them properly is imperative. The consequences of not following those policies properly are too costly to postpone.  Employees, as they are human, try to use shortcuts or in some instances, take the easy way out while doing some chores without thinking it may affect the bottom line at the end of the day.  Profits for a store cannot be thought of as profits for the owner only, employment and benefits for the employees are inherently tied to those of the owner.  If the owner must close the store for loses, the employees lose as well.

Is it time then to review the policies and procedures the employees must follow while working at the store? You bet.  If you do not think it is necessary to do a complete training workshop today, you must at least remind them of the policies, the procedures, and their responsibility to stay calm and professional at all times. Safety plays an important topic when talking about staying calm and professional while dealing with a shoplifter.  Their safety and the safety of the customers cannot be jeopardized by carelessness or by improper behavior. By reminding them of this important and oftentimes forgotten topic, you are ensuring fatalities or brutal behavior do not occur at your store.

Click here to read about a news story and the fact that many retail shop owners deal with this issue on a daily basis.  The return policies of any store have to be continuously checked and tried to asses their effectiveness, otherwise, you may be dealing with a deficit you cannot recover from.


Inventory Software

Inventory in a retail store can offer the management and the loss prevention team a clear picture of whether their efforts are working or they need to modify something entirely different. 

After a busy day or during the holidays, inventory plays a very important role in your store.  A visual inventory can give you only a glimpse of what is happening, but a true inventory can offer you a real picture, even if it’s more expensive for your store. 

There are many software programs that can aid you with the inventory of your store, and even if that becomes a little costly for you, it will pay to know what’s selling, what is not, and what is being stolen.

A software program will aid you by tracking packages that are being delivered, on transit, items which expiration dates are approaching, and items that are selling well and need to be re-stocked. An inventory software program can help you make decisions that otherwise could take weeks to put in place.  What items to display, or put on sale, which items to have discounted and which items are selling so well you need to put an order in place.

A simple Google search can deliver a list of the most promising software inventory programs that can help you.  Those programs can offer an array of features you may not even know you need, and the companies selling those software programs can offer you pricing for you to compare other programs and their features. Do you know an owner of a retail store that is using a software program? Have you asked them how they like it? If you know someone that is already using an inventory software program, you are in luck.  It can save you time and perhaps money when you decide you are ready to purchase one yourself.

There are many small business owners that own a retail store that has many issues they do not know how to solve. Starting with problems with personnel, management, and loss prevention techniques, the issues can be many and varied.

Address those issues before you buy any software programs to help you with the inventory of your store. What are some of the strength and weaknesses you need to address with the personnel of your store? Is the management team coordinating with the loss prevention team? Is there a loss prevention team? Are they addressing the issues or just pushing them aside for other people to tackle? Not all problems can be solved by buying software or by hiring more employees.  There are many problems that can be solved by being vigilant and by addressing those problems without hesitation. A software program can help, but that is only one key aspect of running a store.

A Checkpoint System Is Now More Important Than Ever

Shoplifters seem to be getting bolder than ever. Much of this is greed. Many people simply want stuff and have no moral compass. Others are emboldened by lax law enforcement or Politicians that pass laws that do little to protect you. Whatever the case be, it has a negative impact on Retailers. We are expected to open our stores, compete, pay employees, pay expenses, taxes…. And make a profit. Shoplifting theft is yet another pressure on us.

The key to stopping shoplifting is prevention! You have to keep the losses from occurring. Once the shoplifter has stolen merchandise, even if you catch them, you lose money in labor, unsellable merchandise, sales and the like. This is where a Checkpoint System shines. This is high-quality commercial grade equipment that works 24/7. However, like anything else, you must get as much value out of any equipment you have. A piece of equipment that can pull double and triple duty for the same investment brings a better return on investment. Consider what Loss Prevention Systems offers.

First, when our customers purchase a system from us, they get FREE anti-shoplifting training for the life of the system. This is live training by a Loss Prevention professional as often as you reasonably need it. I actually spend a fraction of that time on the Checkpoint System itself. Most of the time is spent teaching you and your staff how to detect and dissuade shoplifters from even entering your store. You can actually have fun with shoplifters. Drive them crazy and they will get frustrated and simply leave you alone.

Next, there is a whole world of new innovations in the Checkpoint Systems line. People/Customer counting is one. Your system can count customer traffic. You then receive a weekly report that details your traffic by the hour of the day, day or the week. This data can be merged into your sales data to give you a more complete picture. Customers use this data to help with decisions on staffing levels, open/close times and more. The system will also report on the Checkpoint System alarms. How and when they occur. This further feeds into your decisions about staffing levels. You may say that my cash register tells me traffic. Not so, as not every customer that comes into your store makes a purchase. Why is that? Possibly because you do not have enough staff on at the times when you really need it.

How about remote control of your Checkpoint System from your mobile device while inside your store? This feature notifies you of alarms, maintenance issues, and real-time stats. You can be in your office, stock room or anywhere in your store and the system will notify you of an alarm. Immediately. This also gives you control of the system itself. Checkpoints systems are already ECO-friendly in their power consumption. But you can set up a schedule that tells your system to power down during the hours you are closed. Over a year that money adds up.

Marketing? Our systems have AD Panel capability either built-in or as an add-on. The antennas are there at the front door anyway, why not have them greet your customers with signage that you can change out as often as you wish. Promote an item, a sale, a special or simply say “welcome”. Print whatever you want and slide it into the clear acrylic frame. Now you get double duty without taking up any more floor space.

How about control of items you do not want to leave the store under any circumstances? Key rings, customer hand baskets, notebooks, documents, tools, equipment or supplies. Simply put a tag or label on them.

Contact Loss Prevention Systems today and we will help set you on the path to higher profits!