LP Magazine

MAY-JUN 2019

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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Protective Signage Research H uman behavior in our lots, offices, distribution centers, and stores is LP's business. We're supporting more good activity and less bad behavior by shaping people's perceptions and our capabilities. We use physical place design, digital and physical messaging, purposeful people tasking, and of course technologies to accomplish this end. As part of a situational crime-prevention process, we strive to understand all place-users' (shoppers, employees, and offenders) perspectives of and likely responses to our efforts. Shoppers, employees, and other visitors, including offenders, all contribute to in-store behavior and outcomes, and what we do and how we do it can support our enterprise's success if fewer bad guys disrupt our business. Protective signage is designed to credibly warn offenders that their contemplated criminal act will be quickly detected and seriously responded to. Signage can also prime or reinforce other interventions like CCTV or EAS. In addition to the quantitative analysis of the impact of various product protection interventions on shrink and sales in a set of large retail stores, the LPRC research team conducted interviews with twenty-six randomly selected store customers to obtain their perceptions of prevention signage interventions. The purpose of customer interviews is to better understand their awareness and understanding of each intervention; their likely reaction to the interventions; their understanding that signage and other tactics can reduce theft, allowing desirable merchandise to be more easily accessed for scrutiny and purchase, rather than kept locked or behind the counter; their likely willingness to purchase signage-protected products; and the impact of the signage treatment on their perceived personal safety in the store. Results Customer Awareness of Security Measures. The first question in the customer survey asked the customers what security measures they noticed in the location in the store where the interviews took place, to note whether shoppers perceived the signage as well as other deployed treatments. More than four-fifths (84.6%) of interviewed customers noticed the special signage in this section in the store. About three-fifths of the customers noticed "banding or packaging solutions" (61.5%) or "protective display fixtures" (61.5%) were present. Customer Reactions to the Sign. Customers who did not notice the sign were shown the security measure, and all customers were asked for their immediate reactions to the sign. Generally, respondents offered positive or neutral initial remarks about the sign indicating electronic theft protection. Many noted the theft-deterrent benefits of the sign and indicated it made them feel like the store was doing something about shoplifting. Several respondents said the sign made them feel more "safe." Most of the negative reactions to the sign related to feeling nervous or worried about being watched or about interacting with products that are electronically protected. Follow-up questions indicated only 6 of 26 respondents felt at all worried or anxious about being "watched" by surveillance of some type. Nine respondents felt somewhat concerned about their "privacy" in a public place. Only one of the customers mentioned electronic product protection was worrisome, while three mentioned they didn't feel safe or secure when thinking about the sign. Customer Reactions to Wording and Images on the Sign. Customers were next asked, "What do you think of the wording and images on the sign?" A series of follow-up questions probed for customers' perceptions about whether the sign was clear or confusing; whether the sign distracted or annoyed them, or if they don't really notice it; and whether the sign changed their shopping experience in any way. Two of the twenty-six respondents indicated the sign's wording and images were unclear or confusing in any way, and none indicated not understanding the sign. About 30 percent of the respondents (N=8) said they didn't really notice the sign, and a similar number (N=7, 27%) by Read Hayes, PhD, CPP Dr. Hayes is director of the Loss Prevention Research Council and coordinator of the Loss Prevention Research Team at the University of Florida. He can be reached at 321-303-6193 or via email at rhayes@lpresearch.org. © 2019 Loss Prevention Research Council EVIDENCE-BASED LP What security measures do you notice? Signage Camera domes Banding or packaging solutions PVMs Protective display fixtures 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 84.6% 61.5% 61.5% 50% 0% 62 MAY–JUNE 2019 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM

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