I wanted to buy a comforter at a popular bedding store, and found two that would do. The color and size was perfect and the price was right. There was only one problem: both bags that housed the comforters were security tagged. I couldn’t open them. I couldn’t touch them. The sales staff couldn’t help me. A cashier would need to open up the bag. The registers were on the opposite side of the store, and the line when I got there was lengthy. I was ready to walk out the door and leave my $200 worth of purchases behind until a manager saw my aggravation and helped me.

All retailers deal with shrink and struggle with ways of making five fingered discounts minimal. Security tags are everywhere. But, to tag a comforter so that I could not explore it’s comfort (no pun intended) made no sense. When I shared my frustration with a sales person, he told me that the main reason these large items were tagged was to make sure they didn’t get taken out of the bag and tossed on the floor.

Can you imagine if you told a customer shopping for clothing that he or she could not take their potential purchase into the dressing room to try something on?

Now, I’m not advocating for the removal of security devices by any means; like it or not, they are a part of the retailer’s landscape. What I am advocating for is the mindful usage of them. With a little common sense, they shouldn’t get in the way of sales.

Ask yourself:

  • What happens to sales when you lock something up? Maybe shrink goes down, but what happens to sales?
  • What happens to shrink when you keep something unlocked? Do sales rise incrementally, perhaps outweighing the cost of loss?
  • Where are you placing tags? Can coats still zip up, can packages that should be able to open still open? Is the weight of the tag damaging delicate fabric?
  • Are you adequately staffing areas that have items locked up?

Shopping is a multi-sensory experience. The challenge is how to protect your high shrink items and still provide an opportunity for product exploration. A display case or security tag should not insure your merchandise never leaves the store!