Retail stores anticipate the high-volume holiday season all year. Although there are, of course, other times of the year when sales are good, there’s no comparison to the spike most retail businesses enjoy in the weeks leading up to the end of the year.
Unfortunately, would-be thieves also see an opportunity. When stores are packed with shoppers—and employees are otherwise occupied—criminals may enter stores and take advantage of the chaos to walk away with unpaid-for goods, or alternately, to trick harried clerks into giving them refunds for items they never bought in the first place.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to prepare employees and even increase security measures to prevent losses during the busy holiday shopping season. Here are a few strategies to employ.
Policies and Procedures
If you have yet to develop policies and procedures related to in-store theft, now is the time to create clear rules related to what employees should do in the event of suspected theft. You also need to lay out a return policy that protects you, such as requiring a receipt for returns.
Even if you already have such policies in place, you could always make additions, such as having employees place “paid” stickers or other markings on large or expensive items so that door checkers can spot people trying to get away with walking right out of the store without paying for big-ticket goods.
Your staff is probably trained to look for suspicious behavior in order to spot shoplifting year-round, but with the extra volume of customers in the store, you may just want to hold a meeting to remind your staff to be vigilant. You’ll also want to thoroughly train any temporary staff you’re hiring to cover extended holiday hours or handle increased volume.
Don’t assume that employees know what to look for or how to react to theft, even if it seems like common sense. Always offer training to ensure the best chances to stop shoplifting during the busy and stressful holiday season, while remaining pleasant to the customers. You don’t want employees making accusations or causing a scene.
Employees are your first line of defense against shoplifting, but they aren’t your only option, and additional coverage can only increase your odds of foiling theft. There are several measures you can take, but checkpoint systems are popular. Whether you use tags or labels of some sort, you’ll know pretty quickly if someone is walking out the door with stolen goods when the alarm is set off.
If you’ve had issues with theft in the past and you’re worried about losing money this holiday season, you can always go the extra mile by adding security professionals at the door or even installing security cameras in and around your store to catch shoplifters in the act.
It can be difficult to weigh the cost of adding security measures or hiring additional security force against the potential for loss during the holiday season. You’ll simply have to assess losses from years past to see if the numbers balance out.
If you’re a Specialty Store Services Customer who would like more information on Security Products, just Email Us. You can also shop for all of your Loss Prevention products online at Specialty Store Services, or if you have a quesion that needs answering in a hurry, just Live Chat, or by phone at 800-999-0771.