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   By :  Ravinder
    Jun 16, 2017 06:42 AM
Shoplifting continues to be a challenge for retailers.  According to the National Retail Federation Security Survey inventory shrink averaged 1.38 percent of retail sales.  External theft or shoplifting accounted for a significant portion of this with an average loss of $377 per incident.  
 
All retailers are affected by this kind of theft and understand that it’s just one of the frustrating parts of running the business.  With good customer service, store design, and the use of loss prevention technologies you can significantly reduce this problem.
 
Having said that it is an excellent idea to train staff to recognise suspicious behaviour and spot a shoplifter in real time.  Depending on the type of thief some are more easily identified than others.  For example professionals or organized criminals make a career out of stealing and can be difficult to detect.  While amateurs may not be as smooth they could be easier to catch in the act.
 
Not all shoplifters fit the stereotypical look of a “street person” or “gang member”.  It’s the behaviours that are the biggest telltale signs and not so much about how they’re dressed. For a comedic view of the types of shoplifters take a look at this video:
 
 
Identifying suspicious behaviour or incidents
 
For over 29 years Halo Metrics has worked with Loss Prevention professionals across Canada to prevent theft. Along the way the LP community has provided great insights and have pointed out several suspicious behaviours and clues to watch out for.  Here are some tips to note:
  • Be aware when an individual is dressed inconsistently with the weather ie: large over coat in the summer.
  • A person who is paying more attention to the employees rather than the merchandise should be considered suspicious.
  • “Shoppers” coming in with large duffle bags or worn out, wrinkled bags from other retailers.
  • Be cautious when a shopper asks the employee to check the back room for certain models or having them write down model numbers under the guise they want to compare item online. This distracts the employee for their purpose.
  • An uptick in false alarms from security products. Thieves will watch to see how staff react or don’t react.  
  • Someone refusing customer service.
  • Person lingering or staying in an area in the store where employee visibility is limited ie: corners, behind pillars.
  • Check merchandise to make sure other merchandise is not hidden inside especially for fitting room items or other things with storage compartments.
  • Shelves or displays purposely disorganized to hide “holes” should be a flag.
  • Be careful when a group of three or more than either swarming the employee or distracting them while the others steal.
  • When you notice the same individual in the store but they never make a purchase.
Some typical methods used for stealing include:
 
1. Distracting the employee.
2. Grab and run
3. Concealing product in their pockets, underneath clothing, in bags, purses and strollers.
4. Working in groups
5. Waiting for peak selling times when the employees are busy helping other customers.
6. Targeting new employees or employees working alone. 
 
Although all theft negatively impacts the profitability and bottom line of the business, the professional shoplifter and organized retail crime groups have the biggest negative impact.  This is due to the large quantities they steal that are often higher ticket items as they have more value when re-sold on the street.  If they were successful, they will continue to target that location or other stores in the chain.  One incident can result in several thousands of dollars in losses. Ultimately, the losses will impact the price the consumer pays, product not being available for the consumer to purchase and possibly the future growth of the company.
 
How should you approach a suspected shoplifter to deter or prevent a theft?
 
It is absolutely crucial for the organization to have a theft awareness program in place that includes policies and procedures that address shoplifting.  
 
The first line of defence is to make eye contact and greet everyone that enters the store.
 
When you SUSPECT that a customer may steal, the employee should attempt to provide extra customer service to the individual.  Open ended questions such as “Are you finding everything ok?” or “Do you need any help?” will only result in the individual refusing service.  Employees need to engage the individual by introducing a new product, asking questions about what they are specifically looking for or find a “conversation piece” about the customer ie: “I love your shoes, I used to have a pair that looked identical” or “Wow! For a second there I thought you were my uncle….you look JUST like him!”  This tells the suspect he would easily be identified.
 
When you have WITNESSED the SELECTION and CONCEALMENT, safety comes first!!  Do not confront or accuse the shoplifter or ask them to empty out their pockets/bag etc.  Most importantly, DO NOT search them.  If you saw the theft, notify other employees or your Manager and advise them of the incident.  At this point, you could approach the suspect and begin a conversation such as “I see you’ve selected the brown ‘xxxx’,  “Let me show you something similar that you may like…”,  “I see you’ve selected ‘xxxxx’….can I show you where the register is or start a fitting room for you?”.  Then, give the shoplifter a little bit of space to be able to “ditch” the product and if possible, position yourself close to the entrance.
 
For apparel retailer how can fitting rooms create challenges for loss prevention?
 
The key component that shoplifter looks for is PRIVACY.  The fitting room offers the suspect a place to conceal the merchandise and remove the security tags.  The fitting room is the most vulnerable area of the store unless a stringent fitting room policy is in place.  The other challenge is keeping the rooms free of merchandise.  Even with a policy is in place, if a customer enters a fitting room and there is other merchandise left behind, they now have the opportunity to steal even more.  If a fitting room has price tags and security tags that have been removed and not collected by the employee, it tells customers it’s easy to steal from this retailer.
 
Customer service, employee awareness, the use of loss prevention technologies and the cleanliness of the store are just some of ways to prevent theft. Alternate measures are to have a code word with Mall Security that alerts them (and not the shoplifter) that you need assistance with a walk through to help deter the theft or possibility of one.  
 
For more information about loss prevention strategies to prevent theft contact Halo Metrics Inc.
 
   By :  Ravinder
    May 02, 2017 03:19 AM
The Halo Metrics team and I recently attended a terrific Asset Protection workshop put on by the Loss Prevention team at Best Buy including Martin Dempsey, Victor Vilas, and Joe Haddad.  With a room full of Loss Prevention professionals the agenda featured a presentation by Doug Fell from the Vancouver Police Department’s Anti-Fencing Unit.  Doug speaks at many of these events and throughout his lengthy career has accumulated numerous stories and insights on how organized crime works and the impact on retailers.  
 
We also learned what life is like from the point of view of those committing the crimes.  Kevin McArthur from the Hope for Freedom Society spoke eloquently about how mostly young men fall into a life of crime at their weakest moments of addiction and personal tragedies. He admits that there are those who are hardened criminals who will never change. But as in his own example, people can recover and rejoin society as positive and productive members.  It was valuable to hear him speak.
 
We all know theft from shoplifting is fuel for bigger issues related to organized crime.  Police departments and retailers are working together to help stop this through various creative strategies.  Doug’s team has been successful in using Civil Forfeiture laws to hurt organized criminals where it matters the most. In their wallets!
 
Photo: JENNIFER GAUTHIER/METRO
[Detective Const. Doug Fell motions to the baby formula and other goods police seized in early November from an individual who is expected to face numerous charges.]
 
It takes a tremendous amount of effort to catch the bad guys. The success stories end with examples of prosecution of the criminals and recovery of the stolen goods.  We see some of these recoveries on the news when the stolen merchandise is spread out across tables or floor space in a warehouse. These cases take time to come to a successful end.
 
Photo: THANDI FLETCHER/METRO
[Among the stolen items, police seized 3,500 razor blades stolen from local Metro Vancouver pharmacies, including London Drugs and Shoppers Drug Mart, as part of a large-scale fencing ring operating out of a convenience store in Surrey.]
 
 
Doug pointed out something very simple that can help the police and retailer.  The police are not experts in your product or how it is sold or how you can track it.  When they come upon an individual who has 50 packs of razor blades or 24 containers of infant formula how can they tell if these items were stolen?? That’s where the experience of a retail loss prevention expert comes in handy.  You know the typical life cycle of an item and if someone has way too many for normal use.  You have access to your inventory database and can figure out if the merchandise is missing from your store.
 
But perhaps the simplest thing that one can do to help the police is to simply tag the items with your store logo and location or some other way to uniquely identify the goods. If the recovered items can be identified stolen from a specific store it speeds up the process tremendously.  Better yet, once recovered the items can be returned back to your business!!  The police love returning stolen merchandise once the bad guys have been caught.
 
Photo: RAVINDER SANGHA
 
What happens when they can’t return the stolen goods to the rightful owner? After a waiting period the items typically go to a Police Recovered Goods auction like the one held in Surrey, British Columbia this past weekend.  In an interview with News1130 VPD Supervisor of Property and Evidence Control, Justin Hull stated: “It’s bittersweet because we do have a pretty impressive haul, but that means we’re unsuccessful in getting a lot of these items back to their owners.”
 
It was amazing to see bags full of batteries, razor blades, Tide detergent pods and much, much more! I just happened to attend this auction looking to purchase one of the hundreds of bicycles being sold.  But it really emphasized how much really gets stolen and that this warehouse was just a small sample of that!
 
Halo Metrics has introduced the new 2829s Micro SWAT label to our customers in Canada.  It works with an existing RF based EAS systems but more importantly it is very difficult to remove and leaves behind a mark on the stolen product regardless of what EAS system you use.  This mark can be custom printed with your store information.  See the product details here and watch a quick video of the tag from our partners at Checkpoint Systems here:
 
  
Contact Halo Metrics to learn more about the SWAT label and what other options are available to prevent theft.
 
   By :  Ravinder
    Mar 25, 2017 06:24 AM
Retailing is a challenging business.  Customers can purchase products from you or your competitors anywhere and at any time.  Be it online or in your physical stores. But we know that shoppers still like to come in to a store to have their shopping experience.  They may want something quickly or want to touch and feel the product before they buy.  When they do remember that the quality of their experience will be a major factor in whether or not they make a purchase.
 
Everyone knows that customer service has to be great and we all strive to deliver the best experience possible. Sometimes technology can help.  Smart response is an in-store system that alerts staff when attention or assistance is required anywhere in the store.
 
An example of this is the strategic placement of Help Buttons within the store.  Now customers can quickly alert staff when they need help with something with a simple push of a button.  Smart Response measures how many times a button was pushed and how long it takes for a staff member to respond.  Wow! What a great way to measure staff performance!
 
        
 
One major retailer took the step to add a question to their online customer survey found on the sales receipts given to customers.  It simply asked “Did you use the Help Button?”  The retailer wanted to know if customers who used the Help Button system purchased more than other customers.
 
The answer was YES!  The receipts with the YES answer had an average transaction value that was $9 or 16% higher than the non-help button users.  

Great customer service is a competitive advantage.  Take a look this commercial from a major retailer highlighting their efforts in this area:
 
 
 
 
Now you can get the Smart Response system including Help Buttons and other sensors directly from Halo Metrics in Canada.  Visit our product page for more info or contact Halo Metrics to learn more. 
 
 
   By :  Ravinder
    Aug 31, 2016 06:22 AM
Shopping in most electronics or smart phone stores often involves a familiar hassle: You can’t really examine the product you like because it’s tethered to a corded alarm. Want to see if a phone fits in your pocket? You can’t because the cord won’t reach. Want to carry the product to another display to comparison shop? You’re likely to set off the store alarm and send the sales team into a tizzy. But what if that pesky tethered system were no more?
 
What if it were replaced with a digital solution that offered security, analytics and a whole lot more?
 
What if retail security systems were in essence, reborn?
 
Genesis Wireless is the answer. Halo Metrics is proud to be the exclusive Canadian source for the world’s first and  only wireless display security system that also provides instant informational analytics to retailers and the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). The small change from tethered to wireless IoT  (Internet of Things) technology makes retail security a resource for countless business and analytics benefits never before available.
 
 
Here are just a few ways Genesis redefines retail:
 
1) Improved customer experience
  • Before Genesis: Alarms were permanently attached to display products. These traditional security systems were cumbersome and intrusive to the customer shopping experience. Additionally, they provided no useful data or analytics.
  • With Genesis: Genesis is a far less cumbersome security system. It has small wireless attachments that generate an audio alarm when the device leaves a geo-fenced perimeter around the display. Customers can now move around the store, test the feel of a device in their pocket, compare products side by side, and connect the product with either wearable or other bluetooth devices
2) Customer behavior analytics
 
Genesis provides a wealth of useful information about customer and retail shopping trends. The data provided by Genesis tells retailers how  many times a product is picked up by consumers (“lifts”) as well how long the product is held (“dwell time”). With this lift and dwell-time data retailers can:
  • Track customer interest 
  • Compare customer interest against sales
  • Predict peak times to manage personnel accordingly
  • Compare data across products and between stores 
  • Identify products that aren’t selling and boost related employee training
  • Improve marketing and product placement
  • Spend the advertising budget appropriately
3) New revenue streams
 
Genesis’s data on customer behavior is valuable to the product’s manufacturer. Additionally, the company or retailer could market that data to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
 
Contact your local Halo Metrics representative to learn more about Genesis Wireless or visit wireless.halometrics.com 
   By :  Ravinder
    Feb 18, 2016 06:24 AM
Have you been thinking about purchasing an EAS security system?  Well now is a great time to go ahead with one.  Halo Metrics has launched a special offer with something we are calling a Starter EAS System.  With the purchase of either a single P10 antenna (sometimes called a gate) or two QX antennas you will get 2000 x 410 soft labels, one case of Mini Spider Wraps, and one counter mounted detacher for FREE!!
 
Contact you local sales representative for more information.  Offer expires May 16, 2016.
 
   By :  Ravinder
    Jan 28, 2016 02:32 AM
Halo Metrics is proud to announce a new reseller agreement with Indyme Solutions to bring Smart Response technology to our customers. The agreement creates a relationship between two companies that have over 50 years of combined experience servicing retailers across North America and beyond.
 
Smart Response. It’s about instant awareness of urgent actionable events happening in your stores right now. Store teams with Smart Response instantly know when and where a shopper desires assistance, a cashier needs support, a perimeter door unexpectedly opens, a camera detects a suspicious event, and much more. It delivers real-time awareness resulting in prompt actions that build sales, reduce shrink, and increase the effectiveness of lean store teams.
 
Watch this video to learn more:

Smart Response activity reports uniquely quantify store-level qualitative execution by revealing such things as shopper assistance request frequency and response times. This chainwide information pinpoints stores with improvement opportunities and reveals operational and staffing change impacts.

Contact your local Halo Metrics representative to see a live demonstration of the system.  Or view the product range here.  
 
   By :  Tina
    Dec 24, 2015 09:17 AM
Thank you to all of our customers for your support in 2015!  Every year our President creatively puts together a Holiday Message based on a familiar theme.  Enjoy this years Holiday Opus from Cheryl Gillott!
 
Holiday Message 
   By :  Ravinder
    Dec 10, 2015 09:27 AM
Troy believes he is a professional thief who last year unsuccessfully tried to steal all the items from his Christmas wish list.  He is better equipped this year and is out to try again.  Will he succeed?  Watch the video below as he visits a local retailer and tries to defeat the security devices he encounters as he attempts to get what he deserves!
 
 
Halo Metrics has launched several new solutions this year and there is more to come in 2016.  For more information and a preview of what is coming click the links below:
 
S3Verified - Coming in 2016 S3 Verified is a uniquely coded detacher that alarms when a thief tries to use a counterfeit key to remove security devices. 
Smart Sense - Smart Sense Touch works within the Smart Response system and alerts staff to respond to activity in the store.
Wireless Alarm - Truly an innovation for an untethered and interactive shopping experience.  The Wireless system uses a proximity sensor to keep product in a safe bubble close to the display.
   By :  Ravinder
    Nov 27, 2015 03:35 PM
The New Global Retail Theft Barometer study has been released. The objective of this report is to understand shrinkage rates in four key regions, covering 24 countries, as well as the reasons for shrinkage and steps taken to prevent such loss. 
 
Key data points provided are as follows: 
• Average rate of shrinkage (in percentage terms) for the retail industry 
• Reasons for shrinkage: % internal theft, external theft, vendor theft, and administrative factors 
• Popular loss prevention solutions  
 
This year is the first year that participating retail loss prevention managers reported internal theft as the leading cause of loss at a global level of impact. Internal theft increased to 39% from 28% last year (LY), external theft decreased to 38% from 39% LY, vendor fraud decreased to 7% from 13% LY, and administrative loss decreased to 16% from 21% LY.
 
203 respondents reported a shrinkage rate of 1.23% across 18 retail verticals in the survey conducted during 2014–2015.The shrinkage cost stood at a whopping $123.39 billion for retailers, globally.
 
Based on responses from common respondents, who participated in both surveys during 2013–2014 and 2014–2015, the global shrinkage increased from 0.94% during 2013-2014 to 1.42% during 2014-2015.

GLOBAL SHRINKAGE – BY VERTICAL
Pharmacies/drugstores, apparel specialist retailers, and jewelry and watch specialist retailers witnessed the highest shrinkage across all regions during 2014–2015. One of the key reasons for such high pilferage in these stores is that these retailers deal in merchandise which can be easily concealed and resold at good prices, without any significant legal implications. Warehouse clubs and pet shops witnessed the lowest shrinkage rates. 
 
Pharmacies/drugstores witnessed the highest increase in shrinkage rate (1.62 pps) during 2014–2015 (over the previous year). Other store types witnessing high increase in shrinkage included apparel specialist retailers (1.31 pps) and other non-grocery retailers (0.70 pps). Department stores witnessed an decrease of 0.87 pps, the highest among all store types. 
 
ORC, which is impacting the entire retail industry, is one of the major reasons for high shrinkage in pharmacies/drugstores. These criminals typically steal items such as medicine, baby formula, and health and beauty supplies. Some of these criminal groups have complex warehouse operations with bogus business accounts. This allows them to peddle stolen goods to wholesalers that sell them back to retailers from where the goods were originally stolen. The increasing sophistication and skills of shoplifters pose serious challenges to retailers.
 
GET YOUR COPY OF THE REPORT!
The GRTB report includes very interesting global shrinkage data from multiple retail verticals.  Including details about shrink rates broken down by internal, external, vendors, and administrative sources. Information is also included for all major retail verticals such as apparel, drug store, grocery, electronics etc. 
 
Although the study is a global and reaches 24 countries it does not have specific data for Canada.  In its North American results it only includes the US. The report is still a great source of information that can be used as a point of reference for Canadian Retailers.  For a free copy of the 135 page report please contact your local Halo Metrics sales representative.  It is available in both English and French.
   By :  Ravinder
    Oct 30, 2015 08:23 AM
On September 16th, 2015 Halo Metrics unveiled for the first time in Canada a wireless security solution that allows staff to untether live devices such as smartphones and tablets and hand them over to customers for a truly uninhibited shopping experience.
 
Once a user steps outside of the invisible alarm bubble with a protected device an audible alarm will trigger at the display and at the smart device held by the user.  This innovative system also tracks display interaction with metrics showing product lifts, duration of lifts, battery charge levels on the devices and alarm event logs.  See the video below to learn more or contact your local Halo representative for a live demonstration.
 
 
Technology continues to move toward greater connectivity through wireless devices.  Halo Metrics is moving with this trend and will be announcing more solutions that incorporate this technology very soon.  Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with our product launches.
 
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