For clothing stores, a guide on which tags to use for which garments

Shoplifting is a practice that is very widespread, and in terms of the types of businesses targeted, few are hit as frequently or significantly as clothing stores.

“One reason clothing retailers get hit by thieves is because fitting rooms offer convenient privacy for the shoplifter.”

There are several reasons why clothing retailers are especially susceptible to shoplifting. The first is the perceived ease of carrying out the crime. You go into a clothing store, see a t-shirt you like and take it into a fitting room. Then, you put your sweater over it and walk out the front door. The thieves who steal clothes via this method are difficult to nab, as Rutgers’ crime prevention site pointed out. Emboldened by their success, they’ll do it again and again, and clothing store shrinkage will reflect the loss that results from this.

Another reason clothing retailers get hit by thieves is because they offer convenient privacy for the shoplifter. When you go to a hardware store, for instance, you typically don’t get a private room to test out the merchandise, but for clothing stores, this is the norm. For the amateur shoplifter – and the vast majority of shoplifters are amateurs – the fitting room provides a sanctuary to strategize how they’ll get away with theft. While in the fitting room, the shoplifter can determine how best to conceal an article of clothing, and decide how to leave the store so as to arouse as little suspicion as possible.

All too often, amateur thieves get the upper hand when it comes to clothing store theft. But that doesn’t have to be the case. When clothing retailers leverage EAS Hard Tags, they add a critical line of defense against shoplifters. But in order for these stores to reap the biggest theft prevention benefits from hard tags, it’s important to pair the right tags with the right garments.

Clothing stores can protect merchandise with well-placed hard tags.Clothing stores can protect merchandise with well-placed hard tags.

Defending against thieves with well-placed tags
For clothing stores, hard tags can make a big difference in terms of garment security. But to maximize the positive impact, loss prevention experts should aim for the best tag/garment compatibility possible. Here are some of our suggestions for how to tag different common items sold at clothing stores:

  • Shoes: Because of their design, shoes don’t seem to lend themselves to tagging as easily as, say, a pair of jeans. But in fact, tagging them is as easy as finding a solution that can fit through shoelace holes and other small openings. The answer to that is Pencil Tags, whose light and small construction enables them to be easily attached to otherwise challenging items like shoes. Bonus: Pencil tags also work great for accessories like handbags.
  • More expensive items (leather jackets, coats): Not all thieves are amateurs. Some are career criminals who aren’t looking to shoplift for the thrill of it or the desire to have a new item, but are instead focused on a singular task: reselling their stolen goods. For these shoplifters, expensive items like leather jackets are often the most lucrative targets, since they offer the greatest potential value when reselling. To protect these items, clothing stores should affix them with exploding ink tags, which deny thieves the benefit of reselling a pricey item by covering that item in ink when a removal of the tag is attempted.
  • Jeans and t-shirts: Items like t-shirts and pants may not be as pricey as, say, that new leather jacket featured in the display window, but for the impulsive amateur shoplifter looking for an easy swipe, they’re an ideal target. Therefore, clothing stores need to be serious about protecting these rudimentary but highly popular garments. That’s where The Falcon tag from CONTROLTEK can offer a lot of help. A product of careful strategizing among RFID engineers, retail workers and manufacturing experts, the Falcon provides industry-leading protection for apparel items. With a sleek design, these tags are great for stores looking to ensure that products are tagged in a way that’s not only safety-boosting, but cost-efficient as well.

Here at CONTROLTEK, we offer clothing stores an industry-leading EAS Hard Tag arsenal that’s equipped to comprehensively defend all merchandise.