The holiday season is just around the corner, and retailers are gearing up for their busiest time of the year. However, in all the excitement of preparing for the holidays, it’s important to remember that not everyone is in the holiday spirit. Retail theft tends to spike during this period, creating challenges for store operators. In this guide, we’ll explore effective strategies to prevent retail theft during the holidays and get your store ready for a successful and safe holiday season.
Understanding the Retail Holiday Landscape
Before we dive into the strategies for theft prevention, let’s get a clear picture of what the holiday shopping season looks like. The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects retail sales to go up by 4% to 6% in 2023, possibly reaching between $5.13 trillion and $5.23 trillion. While these numbers sound promising, economic challenges, such as inflation and high credit card debt, might affect consumer spending during the holiday season. With that in mind, retailers need to be ready for more customers and also ready for the possibility of increased theft.
Retail Theft Prevention Strategies
Now, let’s explore a range of strategies to prevent retail theft during the holiday season:
1. Hire the Right Employees During Retail Holiday Seasons
If you’re hiring temporary or seasonal staff to manage the holiday rush, be diligent in your selection process. While additional hands are helpful, make sure that new employees share your commitment to preventing retail theft.
2. Early Employee Training for Retail Holiday Preparation
Start your retail holiday preparation with employee training programs that outline essential training such as good hiring practices, effective communication, enhanced security measures, and the importance of both employee and customer safety. By training your team early, your team will be well-prepared to handle potential theft situations confidently.
“The frequency of the day‑to-day incidents our team and associates are experiencing is now escalating at a faster rate than I have ever seen before. So, for us, making sure that constant communication and that training is happening is vital, to ensure they’re prepared for those scenarios”, says Joe Laufenberg, Skogen’s Festival Foods’ senior director of asset protection. “Right up until the holidays, our job as asset protection is to equip our associates—equip them to do the job, to have the knowledge to support all the asset protection initiatives. And when we get to the holidays, that’s a time where you must just sit back and trust all that work is going to pay off, and the team is going to be equipped to handle whatever comes.” (Loss Prevention Media)
3. Incorporate Daily Operations Audits
Consider using an external team of certified auditors as an additional layer of security in your loss prevention strategy. These experts can provide an extra set of eyes to ensure the safety, cleanliness, and overall customer experience in your establishment, utilizing access to security cameras for thorough assessments.
4. Strategic Staffing to Prevent Retail Theft
Once you’ve hired the right team, it’s crucial to strategically place them throughout your store. Focus on placing employees near hotspots like fitting rooms or products with high value. This not only enhances the customer experience but also serves as a deterrent against theft in less-monitored spaces.
5. Promote Clear and Open Communication
Maintain clear and consistent communication within your team. Have regular morning huddles and shift meetings to go over preparedness and security measures. An open line of communication is essential for a quick and precise response to potential threats.
6. Engage with Your Customers to Prevent Retail Theft
Encourage your employees to offer friendly communication with shoppers. Greeting customers warmly and providing exceptional customer service not only promotes customer satisfaction and loyalty but can also serve as a deterrent to potential theft. Simple questions like “How can I help you today?” create a friendly atmosphere while letting potential shoplifters know that attentive staff is present.
7. Product Placement for Retail Holiday Preparation
Be strategic when arranging merchandise around your store. Avoid overcrowding aisles with high-value items. Instead, distribute them evenly across your store to prevent congestion. Maintain a clear inventory count so you know the quantity and location of items on your sales floor. An organized store not only enhances the shopping experience but also contributes to overall security and operational efficiency.
8. Combat Gift Card Fraud
As per security experts cited by CNBC, there’s a growing trend of gift card fraud among financial scammers. Train your staff to recognize and handle fraudulent gift card transactions. Use technology, including security cameras and a managed video solution, to closely monitor gift card activity.
9. Keep an Eye on Self-Checkout
Pay close attention to self-checkout areas for retail holiday preparation. Incidents frequently take place in these locations, making your watchfulness important in deterring theft. Train employees to look for unusual or suspicious behavior. Because self-checkouts are considered hotspots in loss prevention, security cameras should be strategically placed to monitor these areas.
10. Leverage the Right Retail Loss Prevention Technology
Invest in retail loss prevention technology to minimize theft. This includes the strategic use of security cameras and a managed video solution. Surveillance cameras placed around your store can scare off potential thieves and provide crucial evidence in case of incidents.
Even further, a managed video solution can seamlessly integrate with your point-of-sale (POS) system. It closely monitors transaction data and has the ability to identify potential theft incidents that occur at your cash register. For instance, if the system detects suspicious patterns like sweethearting (when an employee gives unauthorized discounts to friends or themselves) or fraudulent transactions, a managed video solution offers a comprehensive view of the situation. By displaying the receipt side-by-side with video footage of the transaction, you’ll get a clear and complete picture of what happened.
With the holiday season quickly approaching, retailers are gearing up for their busiest and most lucrative time of the year. As retail theft tends to spike during this season, it’s important for retail operators to prepare for the holiday season accordingly. With the right preparations in place, you can look forward to a successful and theft-free holiday season for your retail store.
Are you ready to boost your retail store’s safety for the holiday season? Get in touch with our team of experts to discover how we can enhance security at your store and ensure the safety of your team and customers.