Chirp in the News

Chirp cuts theft and proves return on investment

Chirp cuts theft and proves return on investment

Chirp Protect tagging trials cut theft and prove return on investment in local shops

Stores report success in tackling shoplifting with the help of Chirp Protect.

Product tagging firm Chirp Protect is successfully delivering a return on investment in every independent convenience store trialling the service.

Speaking to Better Retailing, the company’s sales development manager Michelle Miles said the £1,100 plus VAT trial kits were preventing enough shoplifting to pay for themselves within three months to two years. Miles explained: “We’re finding stores are losing between £50 and £800 a month, so this could be paid for within three months or two years. The tags last three to five years and the system doesn’t require maintenance so it’s a consistent deterrent.”

Unlike other systems, only a small sensor above the door and a deactivator at the till is needed, with the rest of the alarms contained within the tags, described as ‘the size of a domino’. The set-up means that the alarm sounds on the product and continues even when the thief goes beyond the premises. Miles said this increases the chances of the thief giving up the goods. “Nearly every store has caught a thief on the way out,” she added.

Miles said the success allowed trial stores to put higher value stock on shelves and in places based on suitability rather than visibility. “It help store owners make the best use of all their space in store, even putting high value items in what would traditionally be described as blind spots.

“A major supermarket has stopped doing twin-packs of steak because they’re easier to slip into a bag than two singles. If that’s the picture at big stores with security on the doors, you can imagine what it’s like for smaller shops.”

“Chirp Protect can change this. I means Sandeep Bains in Kent now has 30 steaks out rather than keeping his availability lower and losing sales as a result. Being able to do this is rare for a shop and it’s because he tagged the lot. And it works. He caught someone at the weekend leaving with a £9 steak.”

Through deterrence, prevention of theft attempts and allowing better on-shelf availability and placement, Miles claimed the company is having a wide impact on local shops. “We are here to protect retailer’s sales and margins,” she explained, adding the company offers a 30 day money back ‘no questions asked’ guarantee.

The use of the system has varied dramatically among the trial stores. Miles told Better Retailing some are using it to tag items above £8, while others are tagging items as low as £3.50. Others are tagging items based on location, category or even seasonality, meaning some are using just 25 tags, while others are using 250.

As well as catching and deterring ‘the usual suspects’, the system led to some shocking discoveries for trial stores. Miles revealed: “One store had a customer they’d known for 10 years, she was kind and sweet, always stopped for a chat. She was caught leaving with a tagged bottle at the bottom of a bag, but how many years had this been going on for? The retailer was quite hurt by it.”

While major stores have long made use of RFID tagging and gates at the door, local shops have generally shunned the concept. Asked why Miles thinks Chirp Protect can win round local shop owners, she responded: “In a big Tesco or Asda, they do have the RFID gates, often with ads on them. They are cumbersome to install, have to be concreted into the ground and cost a lot of money. That puts people off because it’s five figures to have them installed, then it’s staffing and the message it sends. Sue Nithyanandan [Costcutter Epsom] for instance has a really lovely store front, wide and open, perfect for big gates but she said its intrusive. It makes people think it’s a rough store, and can put off customers.”

Chirp Protect is small, simple to install and affordable. It’s an antenna above the door just 14cm cubed attached by one screw or a clamp, it’s plugged in with the deactivator behind the counter and it’s working within minutes. It’s affordable as well. You can tag 25 to 50 items, for less than £1,250 plus VAT.  Even if you are losing just £50 a month in theft, it’s still going to pay for itself.”



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