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CONTROLTEK Attends Virtual NRF Retail Converge Conference

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (June 8, 2021)CONTROLTEK, a leader in retail asset protection technology, will attend NRF Retail Converge, a virtual conference presented by the National Retail Federation, to showcase its EAS and RFID solutions in the virtual conference expo.

“2020 has shown us that the digitization of retail isn’t slowing down anytime soon, and that includes how we approach asset protection,” said Tom Meehan, CFI, CONTROTLEK’s chief strategy officer and chief information security officer. “We’re looking forward to learning from retailers and other AP experts how they have adapted to the changing retail environment.” 

“One of our top priorities is to help retailers combat current challenges while preparing for the future,” said Rubin Press, vice president of global sales at CONTROLTEK. “Our team’s technology expertise, specific to asset protection, enables us to support retailers on the latest security trends as well as identify the right solutions to future-proof their business.” 

NRF Retail Converge will take place from June 21 to 25 and bring together retailers, law enforcement agencies, and solutions providers in all areas of retail security. CONTROLTEK will be featured in the virtual NRF Converge Marketplace, where solution providers demo new products and technology. 

For more information about NRF Retail Converge, visit their website. 

Now Is the Time Retailers Should Consider Implementing an RFID Solution Regardless of Their Size

This article originally appeared in Loss Prevention Magazine.

Retailers are living in a time of speed, efficiency, and pressure to secure assets while exceeding customers’ expectations. If you add in the evolving challenges presented by COVID-19 and the demand for contactless and e-commerce shopping experiences, it is no wonder why many retailers are turning to RFID solutions to help automate their inventory and business operations while creating a more seamless customer experience.

Retailers with a limited budget may be hesitant to implement RFID because they view it as costly to integrate or having a long return on investment. The rapid advancement of technology, along with a reliable solutions provider, has improved RFID systems making them more affordable, scalable, and simpler to implement, allowing retailers to generate a quick return on investment.

RFID Solutions Help Retailers Gain Insight into Inventory and Enhance Customer Experience

RFID technology has endless potential to help retailers combat their ever-changing environments and gain access to real-time data for better insight and decision making. Here is a breakdown of some of the many benefits of implementing an RFID solution.

Better Logistics & Supply Chain Management
RFID technology enhances omnichannel fulfillment by automatically tracking assets throughout the supply chain journey, from manufacturing through distribution to warehouse to the sales floor. This enhanced visibility and control of the supply chain process reduces the need for human interaction, increasing efficiency while reducing human error.

Automated Inventory and Stock Counting
Managing inventory no longer needs to be a manual process. Compared to the more familiar barcode inventory system, RFID allows retailers to scan hundreds of tags at once without them having to be visible. Not only does this speed up and streamline the process, but it also complements pre-existing inventory procedures with little to no confusion for store associates. Simple and regular counts enable retailers to have accurate stock information more frequently and allows them to take full control of their inventory.

Real-Time Stock Availability and Instant Item Location
The pandemic has accelerated customer behavior and expectations for omnichannel shopping experiences. With BOPIS (Buy Online and Pickup In Store), curbside delivery and same and next day delivery, it is critical to have accurate stock quantities for customers who both shop online and in stores.  RFID technology provides a 99% accurate overview of a retailer’s assets and the exact location of items. Real-time visibility into stock levels and location minimizes out-of-stock situations and simplifies merchandise retrieval, resulting in increased sales and enhanced customer satisfaction.

Advanced Self-Checkout
As customers look for efficient and contactless shopping experiences, retailers can truly provide a contactless method of checkout with RFID. Friction during the checkout process comes from the time it takes for store associates to scan merchandise. With RFID technology, items are instantaneously checked out once placed on the self-checkout counter, eliminating the need to scan items. This reduces the time customers must wait in the checkout queue and provides them with an efficient, seamless, and truly contactless experience.

Point of Sale
RFID can also be integrated with POS systems, allowing inventory to be displayed in real time. Store associates can see in stock items at checkout and use that gathered data to track the sales patterns of specific items, allowing you to make more efficient restocking decisions. RFID can also help streamline the return process and combat growing return problems. Rather than having store associates manually log returns, items can be scanned quickly, saving the time it takes to get them processed and back on store shelves. Also, RFID tags conveniently track the history of an item, giving retailers visibility into whether an item was purchased and at what price, helping retailers combat fraudulent returns.

RFID as EAS
A retail store’s security system is one of the most effective tools in fighting shrink and deterring theft. The addition of RFID technology makes that system a futureproof EAS solution. RFID tags and systems can act in the same role as traditional EAS tags and systems while also having the ability to store and communicate incredibly useful information for retailers. From an anti-theft standpoint, if an asset with an RFID tag leaves the store without being paid for, not only will the tag trigger the alarm, but employees can also see which exact product left the store, making it easier for them to ensure all the missing items are recovered, as well as having the ability to replenish the item to not lose a future sale.

Discover the Best RFID Solution For You With CONTROLTEK

When evaluating an RFID solution, it is essential to choose a solution that is a match for your short- and long-term goals to ensure the best return on investment. For the past 45 years CONTROLTEK has partnered with many organizations including banks, retailers, government institutions, armored couriers, and logistics companies to understand their unique challenges and implement technology to help solve their problem. When it comes to RFID solutions, CONTROLTEK provides retailers regardless of their size or budget, access to the highest quality hardware, software, consumables, and seamless systems deployment.

High Performance Hardware
We understand the demands of a retail environment and the importance of hardware that will stand up to the test. In partnership with Nordic ID, we offer sustainable, long-lasting solutions designed for comfort and ease of use day in and day out.

Introducing the newest and one of the lightest, rugged designed handheld RFID readers on the market, the Nordic ID HH85, is made to perform in the most challenging conditions. It is the only handheld reader on the market that has NFC, RFID, barcode, and an integrated camera. It is built with an easy to hold ergonomic pistol grip, a battery life of up to 18 hours of continuous operation, Android 9 software, and one of the largest displays in the industry.

Offering the Nordic ID EXA21, the world’s smallest RFID reader, a wearable device that is compatible with Android, iOS or PC. Its lightweight and compact design makes it the ideal portable RFID reader for easy and comfortable on-the-go data reading.

Smart Software Solutions
We offer highly intuitive software solutions to enable complete visibility into your operations. We understand no two retailers are the same, so our software solutions have infinite configurability to match your operations, your complex workflow, and your requirements. Our solutions are easy to deploy and integrate seamlessly into your existing infrastructure. The power of RFID technology allows you to automate asset management, business processes and collect and consolidate information so you can quickly transform it into actionable business intelligence.

Versatile Labels and Tags
Regardless of the type of assets you need to protect and track, we have RFID tags and labels to match. From freezers, to electronics to elegant apparel and cosmetic displays, CONTROLTEK’s line of RFID tags and labels help protect a variety of products in flexible and unobtrusive ways. We offer a variety of shapes, sizes, specialty materials, adhesives, and inlays as well as customizable options.

First Time Right Deployment
At CONTROLTEK, we want to make it easier for your LP team to get the technology you need, help you get the ROI you expect, and alleviate the most common pain points in the process. From start to finish, we focus on your business goals and budget so you can protect your profitability. Our team of technology experts work with you to find the right RFID solution for your retail store for maximum results in your environment.

CONTROLTEK Offers Virtual Site Surveys to Better Serve Retailers

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (Jun. 4, 2020) – CONTROLTEK a leader in retail asset protection and security solutions, adds virtual site survey services for examining loss prevention solutions to better support retailers while keeping a commitment to the health and safety of employees and customers.

“Retailers are preparing their stores for reopening and the anticipated increase in theft issues and health and safety concerns. We want to allow them to examine asset protection solution options without having to wait for lifted restrictions or be concerned about exposing the health and safety of their employees,” said Rubin Press, vice president, global sales at CONTROLTEK. “We’ve simply taken our LP Professional Services and made them virtual to meet the needs of our customers.”

“Our Customer Success organization’s many years of experience operating remotely has allowed us to provide uninterrupted and responsive customer support during this difficult time,” said David Hardeman, CONTROLTEK’s director of customer success. “We conduct the virtual site survey with the same First Time Right approach and level of service our customers would experience in-store. Our certified representatives know the right questions to ask to understand our customer’s challenges, and which loss prevention solution would work best in their particular retail environment.”

“This new service offering is another way we continue to support our customers amidst the challenges brought on by the pandemic, while helping them prepare their stores and protect their assets,” said Rod Diplock, CEO of CONTROLTEK. “Thinking differently to evolve and improve our operations has also allowed us to keep our employees working while ensuring their health and safety is protected.”

About CONTROLTEK’s Professional Services and Virtual Site Survey

Our First Time Right™ Systems Deployment and Professional Services streamline the process of implementing a new loss prevention technology, making your life easier. Our team of retail and technology experts are with our customers every step of the way. During the virtual site survey, our Professional Services team conducts a video conference survey examining the store and providing loss prevention solution recommendations. For more information about our Virtual Site Survey and Professional Services, visit the CONTROLTEK website.

What is RFID & How Does RFID Work?

by Rubin Press, Vice President of Global Sales at CONTROLTEK

Radio frequency identification, more commonly known as RFID, has been around since World War II and used in many settings and applications. In the last 20 years, the developments in the technology have made RFID available in the retail industry.

How RFID Works

RFID consists of an RFID reader and a tag with an RFID chip and antenna. The reader sends out a radio frequency (RF) signal and waits for any tags in range to respond. The tags used in retail are typically passive tags and require no battery, and the RF signal sent from the device powers the chip on the tag to enable it to respond. One of RFID’s greatest advantages is that it does not need to “see” a tag to detect it. This means a tag can be read through product packaging, inside a shopping cart, or even through clothing, which allows for a very quick reading process.

An RFID tag also contains information about the asset, compared to traditional EAS tags which cannot carry information at all. This means that the company will always know where an asset is, which is a great benefit in asset protection and store operations.

RFID Applications

RFID was first introduced as a way to improve inventory accuracy, not to reduce shrink. However, retailers who implement RFID in their store locations have seen shrink decreased by an as much as 55 percent. RFID tags and systems can act in the same role as traditional EAS tags and systems while also having the ability to provide much more information to the retailer. For example, if an asset with an RFID tag leaves the store without being paid for, not only will the tag trigger the alarm, but employees can see exactly which product left the store, making it easier for them to ensure all the missing items are recovered. This also provides retailers with insight into what stock may need to be replenished, in turn minimizing the loss of future sales revenue.

RFID technology is also a huge advantage for supply chain management. RFID tags can provide important data for lost items because assets can be tracked from source to sale. Considering that many assets begin their journey with overseas manufacturers, then pass through several ports, customs checks and logistical channels before actually reaching a store floor, RFID can be an invaluable technology for supply chain asset protection.

RFID Systems & Tags

RFID systems can be tricky and expensive to install. However, here at CONTROLTEK, we make the process easy. From start to finish, we focus on your business goals and budget so you can protect your profitability and enhance your customer experience. And with our First Time Right™ approach, over 97 percent of our installations are fully completed on the very first visit. Contact us today for a free quote!

CONTROLTEK’s RFID Veteran Rubin Press Publishes Educational Article Series

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (Jan. 23, 2020)Rubin Press, vice president of global sales at CONTROLTEK, has published the first part of a series of articles about RFID technology. In his articles, Press uses his technical expertise, developed from years of experience partnering with retailers to implement the technology to improve their operations, to explain how RFID technology works and the endless potential for retail and other industries.

“Rubin has a great understanding of the many possibilities of RFID technology, not just from a sales standpoint but as an innovator,” said Tom Meehan, CFI, chief strategy officer at CONTROLTEK. “Since he has returned to CONTROLTEK, we have met with many clients to learn about their challenges and collaborate with them to come up with new approaches to their problems.”

“RFID is no longer the future, it is the present,” said Press. “From the many benefits in asset protection and inventory management to improving merchandise availability and providing a more seamless customer experience, the technology has endless potential for solutions for loss prevention and other industries. RFID technology is a scalable, omnichannel tool that can help professionals across multiple industries combat their ever-changing environments while meeting and exceeding customer expectations.”

The first article in Press’s series “What is RFID and How Does RFID Work?” has been published and can be found on the CONTROLTEK company blog.

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About CONTROLTEK
Since 1976 CONTROLTEK has been a global leader in tamper-evident security packaging, helping banks, armored couriers and retailers transport cash safely and securely. The company’s expanding line of inventory protection and visibility solutions also helps retailers protect their merchandise better and run their operations more efficiently. As a second-generation family owned business, with a history of stable growth and a reputation for strong customer focus, CONTROLTEK continues to deliver on its mission every single day: to provide solutions that protect and to always deliver on their promises.

Media Contact
Nathalie Schrans
Content and Social Media Manager
(908) 603-2704
Nathalie.Schrans@controltekusa.com

Asset Protection: Spelling out some key terms for all employees

As a loss prevention leader, you’re certainly familiar with all the main terms surrounding inventory security. And if there are other employees working in your store’s loss prevention division, they probably know these terms as well. But members of the LP team aren’t the only team members who need to be up on their inventory security lingo: There are certain key terms that all other store employees need to know as well.

“All store employees need to be up on certain inventory security terms.”

That’s because when it comes to inventory security, it represents a group effort. When dealing with a store whose inventory security knowledge is limited to only a few individuals, what happens if those people aren’t around and a shrink-causing incident occurs? Having staff members who know what they’re doing in terms of inventory management and security can help eliminate this kind of scenario.

To get store employees up to par in terms of inventory management and security jargon, we’ve decided to put together a list of some of the key terms. For store employees, knowing these terms and how they fit into a business’s broader asset protection plan is vital for playing a necessary role in limiting incidents that compromise security:

Shrinkage: In the retail sector, it’s imperative to keep track of items from when they’re received to the moment they leave a store with a paying customer. Shrinkage refers to item losses in the time period between the point of receiving and the point of sale. If employees notice a discrepancy between the number of items delivered to the store and the number of items that are on the shelf, this is a common situation that reveals shrink. Shrink can also be discovered at other points in the lifecycle of a product, such as damages or product expirations.

Shrink encompasses more than theft alone. While it’s true that theft incidents constitute a large part of shrink causation, there are other things that also cause shrink, including administrative/paperwork errors and vendor fraud/error. For retail stores, shrink figures are far from insignificant, with the average retailer reporting a shrink percentage of 1.22 in 2014.

One key reason why shrink numbers are so high, as National Retail Security Survey (NRSS) lead study author Dr. Richard Hollinger explained, is because shoplifting groups are growing in sophistication, with “gangs of thieves … using a lot of skills … [and] doing investigations prior to the thefts.” This is all the more reason to have store employees know what shrink is, how it occurs and how to prevent it.

stealing_shirt
Shrink is the difference between what is supposed to be in the store according to the inventory management system, and what is actually in the store.

RFID: Radio-frequency identification is a system that offers multiple functionalities, including EAS (electronic article surveillance as outlined below) as well as for providing increased inventory visibility, throughout your entire supply chain. When it comes to loss prevention, RFID is a great technology to harness because it allows for highly robust tag monitoring via readers that are either handheld or mounted for hands-free operation. RFID technology also offers stores significant data benefits, since information can be more quickly accessed using the technology. This makes RFID a vital part of overall supply chain management as well.

EAS: Electronic article surveillance is the primary technology used by stores to limit instances of shoplifting and drive down overall shrink. According to experts, the deployment of EAS technology can drive down theft by 60 percent or higher. The way EAS works is through a system of tags that interact with specially designed gates or overheads. If a tag isn’t removed by a store employee, the gate/overhead will detect this and trigger an alarm. In this way, shoplifters can be caught in the act. Beyond that, however, the presence of tags and gates/overheads present thieves with a strong deterrent to commit a crime in the first place, since good EAS systems are highly reliable.

RF Systems: Radio frequency systems are so named because they rely on electromagnetic – aka radio wave frequencies. In terms of inventory management and security, this technology can be centrally helpful in keeping thieves out of your stores. One prime example of RF technology in action is CONTROLTEK’s first-rate pedestals (the i30 and i45), which provide a seamless presence in any store environment.

As Dr. Hollinger pointed out, today’s retail climate is one in which loss prevention professionals have to contend with far more sophisticated criminals who work in well-planned groups to get away with theft. To deal with threats like these, stores need to mount equally sophisticated defensive strategies. Here at CONTROLTEK, we’ve built a powerful line of inventory security products that provide stores with cutting-edge security solutions that can help to significantly limit store losses. But for stores to drive down shrink even more, it helps to have all staffers on the same page, and teaching them the fundamentals of Shrink, RFID and EAS is a great place to start.

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.

Caught red handed: How tags with exploding ink are the ultimate theft deterrent

For all the benefits of the summer months, there is one big drawback for retailers: As the temperatures increase, so do shoplifting incidents. As loss prevention professionals know, crime tends to surge in the summer, and shoplifting is no exception to this trend. Kids are on summer break, people are out of their homes and merchandise is displayed at storefronts everywhere. These factors add up to a ripe season for shoplifting.

But they also add up to a great season for sales. Since retailers are necessarily focused on running the business and keeping customers happy, they don’t want to have to be preoccupied with shoplifters all the time. But losses from theft add up fast, and threaten to put a huge dent in profits. No business wants to find itself in this situation. Solving the problem calls for more than careful surveillance monitoring – it requires on-the-ground action.

Understanding – and undermining – the shoplifter mindset
According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, there are around 27 million active shoplifters in the country. And these shoplifters often come out in larger numbers during the summer.

Given that roughly one in every 11 people is a shoplifter, it’s no surprise that there’s not a typical profile of this kind of criminal. As an industry professional, you know merchandise swindlers are young and old, male and female. Some of them are professional criminals, but many are not.

“By denying thieves the possibility of benefiting from their theft, they can take away their incentive to steal in the first place.”

Yet despite these differences, shoplifters are united by a common trait: the desire to benefit from what they’re stealing. When a thief steals a pair of jeans, for example, it’s because he or she wants to put them to use. Whether that means wearing them, giving them as a gift or attempting to resell them, the shoplifter plans to benefit from an item he or she didn’t pay for. But what if retailers deny thieves that benefit altogether? This is the idea behind exploding ink tags.

Enjoy some permanent ink with those stolen jeans
There’s a reason exploding ink tags have been a go-to theft deterrent for retailers since the early 1990s: they’re the ultimate tool for theft benefit denial. That’s because even if a shoplifter manages to remove a garment with an ink tag from the store, he or she won’t get to enjoy their stolen item. While some shoplifters are adept at removing regular security tags, with ink tags, they won’t be able to avoid the explosion of permanent ink. This creates an additional deterrent for prospective thieves.

Thieves can be hard to spot, but easy to deter with exploding ink tags.Thieves can be hard to spot, but easy to deter with exploding ink tags.

If a thief attempts to remove an ink tag in your store, that person will literally be caught red-handed. And if they make it out, it’ll be with an item that can neither be used nor resold. By heightening the chance of capture and denying all benefits, exploding ink tags reduce retail theft to a dangerous practice that lacks any reward. The technology has been effective for a long time. Back in 1996, for example, a survey of 14 stores that introduced ink tags found that these establishments experienced a 14 percent reduction in industry shortages after the incorporation of the ink tags.

Here at CONTROLTEK’s Retail Security Solutions division, we offer an ink tag that serves as the best line of defense for your store’s merchandise:

  • InkGuard ink tag: The InkGuard offers visual deterrence like no other and is available in AM and RF technologies. This ink tag works for any of your apparel items.

When it comes to defending your merchandise in the summer months, loss prevention experts know that a passive approach won’t cut it. The solution to the summer shoplifting boom is to confront the problem head-on, with a theft prevention solution that is explosively effective.

How to safeguard merchandise stored outside

For retailers, summer is great for business, but it can also make for risky business. That’s because with the rise in temperatures, many enterprises will display merchandise outside the storefront to entice foot traffic. By showing what you’ve got on the outside, you drive people inside. But this setup is also lucrative for thieves.

“Making off with an item when it’s already outside seems like a decidedly easy task to thieves.”

Going inside a store and swiping an item is one thing. In that case, a potential shoplifter has many factors to content with, like security cameras, the watchful eyes of staff members and the challenge of getting past the RF pedestals at the exit. But making off with an item when it’s already outside seems decidedly easier. In fact, it appears to be as simple as taking the item and continuing to walk.

Retail loss prevention experts are familiar with crime opportunity theory, which posits, broadly, that “opportunity makes the thief” – i.e. particular circumstances play a huge role in whether or not someone commits a crime. The circumstance that’s most desirable to a thief is one with lots of temptation and few potential consequences – such as merchandise displayed unattended in front of a store.

Merchandise can face a higher risk of attack depending on where it's placed in or outside of the store.Merchandise can face a higher risk of attack depending on where it’s placed in or outside of the store.

No retailer wants merchandise stored outside to be a source of shrinkage. To solve the problem, stores have to eliminate the sense of opportunity thieves feel when they see products displayed outside. Here’s how loss prevention experts can do that:

  • Affix prominently displayed ink tags to every outdoor item: Having clearly visible ink tags on items stored outside is an ideal first step to eliminating the sense of opportunity a prospective thief would feel. An item with an ink tag on it, after all, is no good unless the tag is removed by a special key in the store. Otherwise, you can guarantee an explosion of ink that will ruin the item. Thus, the presence of ink tags present a strong visual deterrent to thieves.
  • Make sure surveillance systems are in place for storefront: Surveillance systems – and the presence of them – are a strong force in combatting crime. When someone planning to shoplift an item outside sees that they’re on film, they’ll probably think twice. In that regard, it’s not a bad idea to have a sign out front – alongside the display merchandise – that says something like, “Smile! You’re on camera!”
  • Prioritize inventory management: Inventory oversight should be atop your business’ priority list year-round, but most definitely in the summer. When you’re displaying items outside, you’ll need to make sure every item is accounted for – which means having a comprehensive overview of everything in stock. That’s where active inventory control using our RFID Inventory Software comes in handy.

As your store prepares for the summer shopping boom, you’ll want to focus on business as much as possible, without having to devote extra time to theft prevention. CONTROLTEK is happy to help.

3 common weaknesses that thieves take advantage of

You know all of those movies about pulling off the perfect heist? In them, thieves identify a high-value target — say, a bank or a vault with jewelry — and then painstakingly detail a plan of attack. The film shows how hard the thieves work to strategize, with one guy mapping out a grid of their intended target and another looking into every conceivable way they could be captured.

Well, that’s the Hollywood version of thieves. In reality, the vast majority of thieves are nothing like that. Far from being the careful planning and highly organized types, most thieves are impulsive and clumsy. They don’t rely on their own complex strategizing. Instead, they count on something else: store weaknesses.

Simply put, almost no thieves are Robert Redford in “The Hot Rock.” They’re not professionals, they don’t have sophisticated strategies and they’re highly susceptible to capture. Why, then, do they keep getting away with it?

Most successful thieves identify and exploit store weaknesses.Most successful thieves identify and exploit store weaknesses.

Identifying weaknesses is the name of the thievery game

“The average shoplifter is captured only around 2 percent of the time.”

The average shoplifter is captured only around 2 percent of the time. This leaves them with a 98 percent success rate to enjoy their stolen goods — and put a dent in the profits of whatever retailer they targeted. And these aren’t professional shoplifters we’re talking about — they’re casual thieves. Looking at these two facts — the 98 percent success rate of the typical shoplifter versus the fact that the huge majority are non-professionals — the seeming incongruity becomes clear. How can sloppy and impulsive thieves enjoy such a low risk of capture? One of the main answers is simple: They identify clear vulnerabilities within stores, and take advantage of them. In this post, we’ve identified three of the key retail store weaknesses that prospective thieves are on the lookout for, as well as solutions to each problem:

  • Garments kept too close to the door: No thief is looking to make his or her task overly challenging. Instead, when an easy opportunity presents itself, they’ll take it. That’s why, as a Rutgers release on common shoplifting techniques points out, thieves will frequently look toward the door to see if there are any garments being kept around there. Items close to the exit present a lucrative target because thieves can then just snatch them and walk right out the front door, often without fear of being observed, since staff members are likely occupied by patrons at other places in the store.The solution: If you’re going to keep garments near the entrance/exit of the store, you need to account for the fact that this is an inherently vulnerable area that will be difficult to monitor and more challenging to detect something like a theft in progress. Therefore, items displayed at this physical point need to be held to a higher security standard. One way to do that, as Rutgers suggests, is to make sure that merch located close to the door is hung on hangers facing alternate directions, so that “the hangers ‘lock up’ when someone tries to remove many at once.” Another way to better guard garments that are close to the door is to outfit them with ink tags, which will either sound an alarm as a thief tries to leave or generate an attention-grabbing ink explosion if they attempt to remove the tags.
  • A lack of a clear employee presence around the store: If a thief peruses the aisles of a clothing store and doesn’t see an employee anywhere in his or her scope of vision, he or she will feel a lot safer swiping an item. At a 2010 loss prevention workshop that took place at the University of Florida, actual shoplifters informed attendees during a panel that most thieves have a keen eye out for employees, store detectives and managers. If these folks aren’t around — or if they only appear infrequently — this provides a thief with a significant window of unobserved time in which to steal a garment.The solution: Make sure your workers are both attentive and well spread out throughout your store. No, that doesn’t mean your employees need to be watching every patron like a hawk — that’d be bad policy. But by merely having your workers well-dispersed and visible to customers, that will serve as a significant deterrent to potential thieves.
  • The possibility of walking out the front door without an alarm sounding: The first thing a thief will do when he or she walks into a store is look at what the setup is like right at the front door. If there doesn’t appear to be any technology in place to detect and alert store staffers to the act of merchandise being stolen, the prospective thief will feel emboldened. Therefore, retailers that have an exit that seems like you can simply walk out are at an immediate disadvantage.​The solution: In your store, you don’t want thieves to feel a sense of relief right when they reach the exit of your store. On the contrary, you want them to feel their greatest surge of anxiety. The way to do that is by rolling out RF Pedestals within your store. A robust pedestal system doesn’t only function to detect stolen merchandise at a very high rate — it also serves as a strong visual deterrent to thieves, even the most amateur of whom know what a pedestal signifies. This is the kind of resource that will give possible thieves pause.

In a world of amateur thieves who don’t think too much before committing their crimes, it would seem that retail loss prevention is an easy feat. But it isn’t. After all, retail stores have a lot to focus on besides the possibility of theft, including inventory maintenance and customer service. For retailers that want some much-needed expert help in the realm of loss prevention, CONTROLTEK ISS is your partner.