In this series I am discussing the liquor bottle security needs of grocery store owners and alcohol beverage store owners. Due to my television bombarding me with car and truck advertisements I thought it was interesting to note the different ploys used to try to entice me to buy their products. On the high end there are the luxury cars with the guy in the tuxedo looking rather James Bondish driving through the city at night to go to some posh nightclub. All eyes turn to watch as the car glides through the streets commanding the attention of even the drivers of other cars. On the other end of the spectrum, I am wooed by the company that can get me into a car under $200 a month, 100,000 mile warranties and buy here pay here promises. Not everyone can afford that sports car but nearly everyone can get into the affordable car. But neither one may fit the needs of the driver who needs a truck to haul work- loads around on a farm. Different needs for different purposes and budgets. Store owners can face the same considerations and needs. In part 1 of the series I reviewed how the owner on a tight economy budget can still get protection with bottle locks and some strategic planning. In Part 2, I am going to cover the mid-sized budget and the liquor bottle security enhancements that can be more effective.
Before going on, if you did not read part 1 of the series or are new to retail anti-theft devices, I want to review what bottle locks are and how they work. Simply stated, bottle locks are devices that are placed on a bottle to prevent someone from being able to open a bottle and drink the contents. They can activate Electronic Article Surveillance antennas if a shoplifter tries to steal a bottle that is protected. The locks are removed only with a removal key held at a register or carried by store personnel. Bottle locks also come in different designs, some are collars that are designed to activate EAS antennas, but don’t prevent the opening of the cap. Other locks provide full cap coverage and extend down part of the bottle neck.
So what would I call a mid-priced system or the pick-up truck of liquor bottle security for a retail store? Having a background of nearly 20 years of retail loss prevention experience and over 25 years of total retail experience I can provide some solid steps to make a strong impact on shortage reduction without breaking the bank. First, invest in electronic article surveillance antennas that will cover each entrance, including vendor doors and employee entrances to your facility. Theft doesn’t occur with shoplifters only, employees can and do steal as well. Next, decide on how much of your inventory you want to protect. In a perfect world, I would recommend a lock on each and every wine or liquor bottle, but that might not be in your budget. If not, set a price point for bottle locks and another for bottle collars. I suggested a $30 price point for budget constrained stores, but in this case, perhaps a $20 price point could be the mark for locking bottles.
For this category of stores, also consider staffing two employees at all times. The store owner and another employee would be perfect. One person operates the cash register and the other person provides customer service while doing other duties such as stocking shelves, straightening and ensuring locks are on all the bottles within the price range determined earlier. A full blown camera system may not be affordable, but often two or three cameras are within a budget, hooked up through a store computer. Place one camera at the entrance to the store ensuring great face shots. Place another at the register so the register, employee and customer are in view and finally, one at an employee or vendor door. Keep fixtures no higher than shoulder height and where possible, place mirrors in corners to see hidden areas.
Following these suggestions, your liquor bottle security will be effective and do the job you need to keep shrinkage low. The payoff will be seen in the performance of your bottom line.
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