The National Retail Federation’s latest National Retail Security Survey reports an estimated $50.6 billion in shrink, and liquor is one of the top targeted products for shoplifters. This considerable number impacts the retail industry. It affects how Asset Protection (AP) and Loss Prevention (LP) professionals prepare their liquor store theft protection plans.  

Why Is Alcohol a High Shrink Item?

Whether it’s wine, top-shelf liquor, or craft beer, alcohol products are still a highly targeted item that costs retailers significant losses every year. 

Some of the reasons alcohol is a high theft item include:

  • Readily available 
  • Easy to conceal 
  • High resale value 
  • Many retailers have a no chase and no confrontation policy
  • Lack of product security (unless it’s a high-value item)

After learning why thieves target alcohol products, AP/LP professionals can use that knowledge to better equip retailers to prevent liquor theft. 

Preventing Liquor Loss

A cost-effective and viable option for securing alcohol products (whether it’s high value or not) combines Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) technology with security tags or labels. There are hard tags (bottle caps) and soft tags (labels) explicitly designed for wines, spirits, and other liquor products.

Combining tags and positioning the EAS system near the point of sale will help to significantly reduce alcohol theft and improve the retailer’s bottom line.  

Planning a Loss Prevention Strategy  

As AP/LP professionals begin planning a loss prevention strategy, it’s essential to evaluate the current or potential future EAS systems. Evaluating the EAS systems ensures it’s performing efficiently and decreases the likelihood that the alarms don’t sound or there’s a false alarm. 

These three questions can help to evaluate the EAS system:

  1. How well does the EAS system deactivate the security tags and labels?
  2. How well are the security tags and labels detected by the EAS system?
  3. How does the store’s staff respond to alarms? 

How to Determine Which Label to Use?

When selecting the EAS security tags and labels, evaluate the products and determine which security option will provide the most product protection. 

Consider the following factors when strategizing security options: 

  • Application method (in-store or source tagging)
  • Deactivation or removal of tags/labels 
  • Product type
  • Product value
  • Protection visibility 
  • Shelf space needed 
  • Volume sold of product 

Learn more about Nedap EAS.

Hard Tags Vs. Security Labels 

Below is a guideline to help determine if hard tags or soft tags are the best security solution. Both security options have advantages and disadvantages. Make sure to understand the retailer’s specific needs when evaluating the tags.  

Hard Tags (Bottle Caps)

Reasons a hard tag may be the best security option includes:

  • Protect a high-value liquor product 
  • Product is sold in a single transaction or only a few items
  • Is a theft deterrent factor 
  • Easily detached at the point of sale
  • Tags can be reused on multiple products 
  • 10+ year lifespan 
  • Open display 

Bottle tags are easily placed over the bottle’s neck and removed during the point of sale. There is a higher upfront investment, but retailers can reuse the tags for other products. Some retailers have reported using the same tag for over ten years.

The only disadvantage is that some bottle tags take up additional shelf space. Be sure to find a bottle tag design that works with existing planograms. 

Soft Tags (Labels)

Reasons a label may be the best security option includes:

  • Cost-effective option
  • Quick deactivation at the point of sale
  • Applied directly on the bottle 
  • Discrete security option

These labels are a discreet way to protect the product without the customers seeing the label. It uses a process called “spotting” by applying the security label before adding the brand label. 

The only disadvantage is that this security option requires source tagging and working with the product’s manufacturers or label providers. Be sure to work with a solution provider who has experience coordinating with both.

Work with the Experts in Liquor Store Theft Prevention

Product Protection Solutions (PPS) understands that each retailer has its own needs, challenges, and goals. That’s why the PPS team takes the time to learn and understand their specific needs to guide them with excellent, trustworthy advice towards the best solution. 

Contact PPS using the online form or by phone at 888-542-3065.