Loss Prevention Systems For The New Year

For a loss prevention officer, the holiday season is a hard time to be jolly when the busiest shopping season of the year brings with it its shoplifters, crime, and theft.  During the holiday season, the number of incidents involving shoplifting increases considerably, and the losses the store suffers can be devastating to their bottom line.

For any retail store in the United States and across the globe, having a loss prevention system in place or a loss prevention officer in their store can be the difference between having profits or losses during their fiscal year. 

According to recent studies, more than half of retail stores in the United States have stopped investing in their loss prevention teams or systems even though their inventory shrink rate has seen an increase in the last year.  The inventory shrink rate takes into consideration the following:

  • Shoplifting
  • Employee theft
  • Vendor fraud
  • Administrative and paperwork errors

Shoplifting theft accounts for almost 40% of the total theft a store experiences, and even though the amount an employee steals can surpass that of the common shoplifter each instance it happens, the shoplifting theft can be considerable every year.

According to many pieces of research, retail stores lose approximately $35 million a day due to shoplifting or $48.9 billion in a year. Those detrimental statistics in the retail industry are worth considering when many stores and businesses decide whether to invest in a loss prevention system or a loss prevention team to combat the shoplifting in their store.

A loss prevention system expense can be recovered within a short period of time, and if your losses are increasing each year, the time you will recoup the money invested in the system shortens considerably. 

The introduction of a loss prevention system in the store allows your employees to dedicate more time with the customers entering your store, than attempting to catch the shoplifter. The system also allows your store to be protected and send a message to the shoplifters. Shoplifters know where and which stores to target.  If you are a store that doesn’t prosecute shoplifters or doesn’t have a loss prevention team or system, you are vulnerable and can become the target store for many of these shoplifters.

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.

Influences That Made A Difference In My L.P. Career

In every career, there are people, places, and things that help to shape who you become in that career. A Retail Loss Prevention career is no different. My career in Loss Prevention goes back nearly 27 years. A long time ago in a department store not far away I was hired as a Loss Prevention Associate with only my military experience and a college degree in hand. I had absolutely no Loss Prevention background. There have been lessons learned along the way that shaped the way I approached Loss Prevention and the way I developed my style of working with people and managing others.

     Coming from a military police background I first approached Loss Prevention with a law enforcement perspective. Unbeknownst to me, a former supervisor of mine from my old unit was working part-time at the store to which I was applying for a job. He saw my application and encouraged the L.P. Manager to hire me. I was trained by this co-worker and the L.P. Manager who also had a military background. We formed a strong team and were very good at catching shoplifters. I learned a lot about identifying suspects and even learned some aspects of investigating an internal crime. What we didn’t do as well I learned later in my career was having a more global outlook on the role of L.P. in the store.

     A little over four and a half years later I found myself hired as a Loss Prevention Manager for another company. Because I was in the same city I brought along my police partnerships, knowledge of the crime in the area and my same perspective. I viewed the work as closely related to police work. It was in this store that I found I had to earn the trust and respect of a Store Manager who had over twenty years of experience with this company. I did not report directly to this manager but rather to a District L.P. Manager who did not get along well with the store manager. I was new to the company, opening a brand new store in a remote market and caught between these two bosses. There were a number of lessons I learned during the tenure of these two. I found there are times you have to learn how to do a delicate balancing act between two managers making demands of you and your team. I learned from the store manager to expect excellence from your team. From the District LPM, I learned to be confident in my interactions.

     After a year a new DLPM took over and from him, I learned that there is more to the L.P. business than saving money. I found out that based on my experience and degree I was hired at a much lower salary than I should have been when I was made a job offer. This new manager went to bat for me and got a mid-year pay increase for me that I had not sought and learned were rarely awarded. While I often disagreed with this supervisor over some of his directions I always respected him for what he did for me though he had only known me a brief time.  Being fair and treating people with respect were valuable takeaways from this manager that I never forgot.

      As the years went by I found my own perspective on what the role of Loss Prevention in stores should be and it changed how I interacted with the others in the store management team. I began to see our department as less a policing department and more of a shortage reduction department. That included the traditional efforts to deter and/or catch shoplifters as well as investigating dishonest employee activity. I also focused on many of the factors that impacted operational shortage, the markdown process, product out of date issues and even employee best practices with freight unloading. As I spent time in other departments I learned more ways to make an impact on overall store shortage.

     Today, my Loss Prevention experiences are used to help me drive sales and deter theft as a retail sales associate. I have carried the management skills into a library supervisor position. I also have the opportunity to provide insights into Loss Prevention and improving sales and how Loss Prevention Systems Inc. can assist businesses in becoming more profitable. As you read this article I would challenge you to look at your own career, whether it is in Loss Prevention or in retail or just in life and reflect on how you have adapted your style and who has influenced your career.

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.

Stopping Shoplifters Is As Much Attitude As It Is Equipment

We supply and install the best anti-shoplifting equipment made. Checkpoint Systems is the gold standard of Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) equipment. Support is off the chart. Checkpoint Systems has factory Tech’s everywhere, I mean EVERYWHERE. They have to since the majority of the top retailers in the world are using Checkpoint equipment. These Techs are not sub-contractors. They are skilled EAS, Radio Frequency (RF) experts. As an example, my Sr. Tech Dan is a former Navy Electronics Technician; he worked on highly advanced systems that protect our country.

That’s all good and well but we can install the best equipment using the best people out there but if you do not have the right attitude, you will not have solved your shoplifting problem. You will simply have spent money and felt good about what you purchased but YOUR SHOPLIFTING PROBLEM WILL COME BACK.

You have to instill the right attitude about shoplifting prevention in yourself and your staff. Shoplifters are not afraid of the Checkpoint equipment all by itself. But, they are very afraid of the Checkpoint equipment when it is supported by a trained, knowledgeable staff. The equipment will work. It will notify you when someone tries to steal a protected piece of merchandise. But you have to be on your game long before this happens. Do you know what shoplifters look like? Do you know how to spot them before they steal? You can easily expose a shoplifter in your store with the proper customer service techniques. These skills will not make the shoplifter transparent but will delight your good customers and increase your sales. Good customers love attention, shoplifters hate it.

I believe this so deeply that we at Loss Prevention Systems include free, live shoplifting training as often as you reasonably need it. Staff changes, new manager or supervisor, new employees that are new to retail or your store? Let us train them, free of charge, for the life of your Checkpoint System when you buy it from Loss Prevention Systems.

So you get actual LP training from a former Director of Loss Prevention with over 35 years of experience. FREE!

So if training is the key, why do you still need the Checkpoint System? That is a great question and the answer is simple. The equipment is there to support you when you cannot be everywhere at the same time. Retailers’ biggest expense is labor. If we can keep labor dollars down, we are more profitable. The fact of the matter is that shoplifters seek out and even create situations where they steal when you cannot pay the attention required to spot and deter every shoplifter. By the way, one in ten people that are in your store right now is there to steal from you. That is where the Checkpoint System comes into play. It is working 24/7, does not take breaks, vacations, sick-leave or simply not show up. Checkpoint equipment has a great attitude and is always looking for shoplifters.

Now, what are YOU going to do to change your attitude and start getting the margins from your sales that you deserve? Contact Loss Prevention Systems now and make it happen. Chances are we will actually be able to assist you to begin stopping shoplifters before the system is even delivered and our amazing Techs can install it.

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!

Keeping Track of Sales And Customers This Year For Next Year’s Summer Planning

It is hard to believe but summer is almost here! What are you doing about it? As crazy as the question may sound there is a reason I ask. What are you doing that will be different than what you did last summer? Do you know what it was you did to inspire additional sales last year? Maybe you didn’t do anything at all differently. Maybe you added a new piece of summer merchandise to your merchandising strategy. How did that item do in sales? Was it a blockbuster for you? On a similar note, how was the customer foot traffic in your store? Did you see an increase in the number of patrons last summer over the rest of the year? If you aren’t asking the questions then you are probably flying by the seat of your pants and that is not going to be beneficial to you at all. Sales tracking and Customer Counting can assist you in exponentially growing your sales.

Adding products to your merchandise lines may be a good idea. Perhaps last summer you purchased 100 units of a new brand of suntan lotion to supplement your summer lineup. Did you keep track of how many of those units you sold at full price? Did you wind up taking markdowns on them in order to get them to move? You may have eventually been out of the merchandise but if you were not tracking how many you sold by the week you may have lost money if they all went at the end of the season at or below cost. By failing to follow sales of seasonal items you could develop a false picture of how a product moved and make the costly mistake of carrying it again the following year. One aside to this; be sure that seasonal merchandise is in a prominent location. Sticking this merchandise on a back endcap or in the main run is not going to produce the results you are seeking. This can also give you a poor picture of how the item could really have driven sales had it been in a more visible location.

Customer foot traffic is also an important tool for summer planning for the next year. If one of your intended purposes in adding a summer product line in your store is to drive up sales you need to know whether it has the intended effect. If you are keeping track of customer counts you can determine if a new product is drawing in more shoppers. A spike in customer counts can be compared to sales tracking of a new product(s). If there appears to be a correlation in the data you can make preparations for the next summer and plan for additional sales by bringing back those summer items. If a group of summer products proved profitable and drew in more customers then add to it with new summer goods. It would also be a good idea to review those sales figures and add more people on shifts. You may find that customer counts proved to be much higher than sales transactions were. If this is the case it is possible that your store could have lost sales by having insufficient cashiers or sales floor staff to provide assistance. Customer counting can also benefit your store with a breakdown of the time of day patrons were shopping. This provides flexibility in adding staff at peak times rather than adding people for an entire day if it isn’t necessary.  Though it may take time to plan it out using the information you have collected from sales tracking and customer counting the payoff will be seen in sales increases.

A website, workzone.com, had an article, “45 Planning Quotes To Help You Reach Your Goals” by Steve Pogue. One of the quotes was from Warren Buffet, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree long ago.” Another quote attributed to Robert H. Schuller, “Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.” So friends, spectacular sales next summer will be dependent on how much preparation you are willing to put into planning today. Dedicate time now in reviewing your seasonal specialty item sales and how many customers entered your business and create a plan that will dazzle you with results next summer.

May is the month to prepare for your summer sales season

March is known for coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb. April showers bring May flowers but what in the world does May bring? May ushers in the summer sales season! Spring is wrapping up and now is the time to be getting your store ready for all of the shoppers looking for the items that will make the long, warm days of June, July and August a memorable time. The big stores are rolling out grills, picnic wares and yard games.  They are loading up with tons of bathing suits, beach towels, sunscreens and sunglasses. The big boys appeal to all of the summer trends in almost every department. They are also preparing for criminal activity and preparing to prevent it.

     With the end of May families start to travel and take vacations, children and teens are out of school and so there is just more free time on people’s hands. No, I’m not advocating doing away with summer vacations from school (I remember my school days and my break times could never get here fast enough). The simple fact is that with more people coming and going into stores theft will increase as will sales. Big box retailers prepare for this influx of traffic. Store Managers are setting planograms and endcaps to encourage the sale of those items that are relevant to the tourist, vacationer and outdoor-minded families. Loss Prevention Managers are evaluating product placement and the appropriate retail anti-theft devices for the particular merchandise in question. They may also be reviewing camera coverage to ensure thieves will be discouraged from trying to steal. Electronic Article Surveillance Systems will be tested for functionality and that tagging standards are met. The small business retail owner could have to do such things on his/her own. If you are that owner you may not even think you have a store that lends itself to seasonal merchandise sales. Take a look again, you may have more items that can be season specific than you think. You may also be able to take advantage of Loss prevention measures you have not implemented yet.

     If a store specializes in jewelry sales it may not occur to an owner that there is a seasonal element to it. Jewelry would seem to be a year-round item to sell but think about your merchandise in terms of accessorizing summer dresses or casual watches for a man preparing to go on a trip. Someone on a cruise may need jewelry that will accentuate an evening dress for formal dinners. How about the small corner grocer? What kind of impact can summer have in that store? Think about the traditional things we do during the summer days. We load up coolers with soft drinks and beer. We have cookouts with hot dogs, burgers, marshmallows, buns, condiments etcetera. Put the dry goods at the front of the store in high traffic areas to impact customer interest. Running a hardware store means putting lawn and garden care tools and supplies in front of the customers. Maybe you carry drink coolers or gas containers for boaters. Product placement is key to reminding customers what they need for the season.

     As you begin strategizing about how the merchandise you carry can have a seasonal component you also want to think about whether those goods will be stolen. Retail merchandise anti-theft devices are available for nearly every single item that is sold. It is simply a matter of finding the correct tag or label for the item. If you are going to promote meat for summer cookouts you have to know that there are going to be shoplifters who will try to steal some of it. Using food-safe Checkpoint EAS labels will prevent pilferage while allowing you the freedom to fill your meat freezers with the items that will increase sales. Having a grill display may be an opportunity to use an Alpha Security cable lock to keep it from being rolled out the door. Condiments on that display can be protected with EAS soft tags.  An end cap with bathing suits near the front of the store will drive sales and theft but clothing security tags will deter shoplifters. Jewelry store owners, you will be happy to know there are jewelry locks available to permit open-air display which can increase sales.

     Be ready for summer. Sales will sizzle as the days heat up if you use May to get your merchandise in front of the shoppers. Prepare displays that will mesmerize your customers and entice them to make purchases. In the process, don’t forget to use merchandise protection strategies. Increased foot traffic does not have to mean increased theft if you protect your products with the appropriate devices.