I moved to Florida and found myself helping a friend run his small package store business. As I reviewed his books I noticed his shrink was outrageously high for his liquor and wine categories. He could not understand what was happening to his inventory. Since I spent my entire retail career in loss prevention I had a pretty good idea that his lack of liquor bottle security was going to be the biggest key to finding the answer.
I decided to spend a few days working in the store to get a feel for the local clientele. On the very first day I observed a suspect very casually taking bottles of wine and placing them in his bag from another retailer. I was a bit amazed by how calm this shoplifter appeared to be while committing the crime. The cameras in the store had no deterrence effect on this shoplifter thus making the camera system a poor excuse for liquor bottle security. This thief had done this before at this location and felt very comfortable while performing the theft.
My friend Joe had never even heard of bottle locks or considered there might be a feasible way to employ bottle security. I approached the thief and casually asked him if he planned on paying for the items he bagged and that I would be more than happy to hold the items at the front of the store until he was ready to check out. Talk about a person’s eyeballs popping out of their head! This guy could not believe he had been caught! He handed me the bottles and said he was just browsing and decided to leave the store.
After a few days of numerous incidents occurring I knew exactly why Joe was losing so much of his inventory. Joe had never considered researching any type of bottle locks. Joe worried about sales and overhead. Inventory was basically a weekly and monthly chore. I sat down with Joe after a week of reviewing his business and laid out my thoughts in detail. I showed Joe a few of the videos of the shoplifting incidents I had caught during my shifts. Joe had no idea these occurrences happened so regularly. Liquor bottle security suddenly became Joe’s number one priority. I had been digging into possible solutions to the losses when I came across a company called Alpha Security.
Alpha Security had a product line called EASy bottle locks. I could not believe there was actually a bottle lock that was alarmed and if tampered with would make the liquor non consumable. The bottle lock is lean allowing Joe to still merchandise and store his bottles without problems. We looked at the losses vs. the cost of the tags and system and realized immediately that the ROI would happen very quickly. Joe purchased the bottle locks as well as the entire EASy bottle system. I trained Joe and his staff to tag and audit the bottle lock system properly. Alpha Security offered orientation materials that helped the staff become acclimated with bottle security as well as with system efficiency. After a month of implementing the system fully Joe’s sales have increased exponentially.
I had to explain to Joe a couple things, first, his customers felt safer in his store now that the habitual shoplifters were gone and second his sales were up as well since he had the actual product on the shelf to sell. Joe’s shrink has dropped almost 75%. I also believe that once the employees were orientated with the bottle security system they were also deterred from stealing from the store. The EASy bottle system really saved Joe’s business, I will take some credit as well but having the right tool for the job really helps!
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