As I do with nearly every store I go into I am interested to see the types of security measures different businesses use to prevent theft. Recently I have visited three grocery stores affiliated with different chains. I looked at what they were doing to protect the wines they carry. I find it interesting to compare bottle security strategies among the retailers. In this case all three stores are within a 5 mile radius of my home and yet there were no similarities among any of them.
The first store I visited uses bottle locks to secure higher priced bottle of wines. It appeared they set a price point around $25 per bottle before they used a bottle lock on their products. The locks covered the entire cap and part of the bottle neck. There was no ability to see the advertising on the seal of the bottle with this particular device. It did appear there was no way the cap or seal could be tampered with making this an effective deterrent tool.
The second store I visited used a lock up case to secure the higher priced wines. There was no additional security for any of the other bottles of wine or champagnes on the shelves. Two things disturbed me about this type of bottle security. First, had someone been shopping for the higher priced wine, there were no empty places on the shelf or signage indicating a customer should ask for assistance to make a purchase. Second, I saw no sales associates in the area. Even if there was signage directing a customer to get help to obtain a wine in lock-up, I saw no one to assist and I did not see an apparent call button in the area.
Finally I went to a grocery store that had no bottle security whatsoever. There were no bottle locks in use and no security cases. The wine was located near the front of the store, in the vicinity of the registers, but there was no direct line of sight to act as a deterrent to potential theft. I did look at the price points and there were few, if any, bottles priced over $20. The area this store is located has enough crime that the store has gone from being a 24/7 operation to closing at midnight and now closing at 11:00pm. I know there is enough theft in this store that closed circuit television monitors have been placed on the baby formula aisle.
So here is my good, bad and the ugly of my observations and what a good strategy would be for a grocery store:
• The Good: The use of bottle locks in the first store. A Bottle lock provides visual deterrence to theft, they are electronic article surveillance compatible and they allow a customer the ability to handle the merchandise, see the advertising and content information and there is no requirement to wait for someone to unlock a case.
• The Bad: Limited use of bottle locks on only select price points. Inconsistent use of the locks. Where bottles did have locks on the caps, when I looked more closely, I found some were secured and behind those were same brand bottles without locks. I am also listing the use of a locking case as bad. While it does provide bottle security it requires employee response and if a patron has to wait too long it can lead to a lost sale.
• The ugly: No bottle security of any type.
If you own a grocery business or manage one, I strongly encourage you to invest in a bottle lock for each of your wine bottles. While it may seem like a lot, the payoff will be in reduced shrinkage. Shoplifters will steal unprotected merchandise so securing the higher priced merchandise simply moves the thieves to the cheaper bottles. I do not encourage lock up cases to be used since they can turn off customers and potentially cost your business sales. You also need to have an employee ready to respond at all times to unlock a case. Don’t settle on just enough security or none at all, see how bottle locks can protect your investment and drive up sales.
For more information on bottle locks, contact us or call 1.866.914.2567