As the end of a tough year draws to close, retail is looking to capitalize and convert the foot traffic that will inevitably begin to venture back into the real-world environment as part of the holiday shopping season ahead.
With this year likely to see fewer visits per customer and less time spent instore due to the lingering threat of Covid-19, making every visit count will be one of the major priorities for the retail sector in the upcoming period.
Which begs the question of how can retailers create true customer appeal for their storefront while also maintaining security?
Loss prevention in the right places
Protecting a store against shoplifting, organized retail crime, and employee theft is all about ensuring the right security in the right places, and often that involves a multi-layered approach.
Items should be protected at a product-based level through tools such as electronic article surveillance including security tags and labels, while the whole store should be guarded by CCTV, staff training, good layout, and perhaps even loss prevention personnel.
The key here is to maintain a balance that treads a fine line between protecting products and the retail outlet while still enticing customers in.
That means the right security in the right places, and it involves factoring in the level of security that a reasonable customer would expect to find in a particular store.
In department stores and electronics outlets for example, you might expect to see a security guard at the door. In your average apparel outlet, that could prove overkill and actually deter patrons from entering.
In some stores where theft is a persistent problem, obvious CCTV might be required to deter shoplifting, but in others, the approach to surveillance would need to be more subtle.
Meanwhile, there are additional security options that allow you to protect products without a display of obvious security.
Subtle yet secure
Recent innovations in the world of electronic article surveillance (EAS) allow the antennas that guard the store to be concealed within the doorway, under the floor, or even overhead.
In boutique stores, upmarket retailers and even department stores, this seamless entryway helps create a warm, welcoming environment which entices the customer in.
Rather than being evident and obvious, the entryway is kept clear and can be designed to really cater to the customer experience.
In the interim, concealed EAS still allows labels and tags to be monitored, protecting products against shoplifting and theft.
In addition, there are also new EAS tools available for the fitting room. These notify staff when a tag is being tampered with in the private environment of the change room, or when a product is being concealed beneath the patron’s clothing or in booster bags.
The right tag or security label for the right job
As effective as security tags and labels are at protecting products, there is such a thing as security overkill, where the tag or label is too cumbersome, large or distracting to effectively protect the product and instead deters customers from actually interacting with it.
That’s why it’s important to source the right security label or tag for the job at hand.
As a quick rule of thumb:
- Apparel is best protected by tags which should be positioned so as not to interfere when customers try on clothing
- High-value accessories like handbags and brand label sports shoes are best protected with cables or lanyards and tags
- High-value eyewear and sunglasses should be protected by specific optical tags
- High-value liquor can be protected with bottle top tags
- High volume, low-value products like pharmaceuticals, books, DVDs, games and perfumes are best protected by labels, as are non-perishable groceries and small hardware products.
The above is just a brief guide, however, and you can learn more about selecting the right tag or label for the job at hand here.
Cabinets and displays
For commonly targeted items including electronics like tablets, computers, and cell phones, secure displays are the ideal choice.
These displays allow the item to be accessible to the consumer, yet protect the product against theft. They also help entice the customer in to experience the product and allow for interaction, playing to the ‘touch, feel and experience’ strength of real-world retail.
Meanwhile, additional products can be secured in lockable cabinets or glass displays, but the key here is to ensure they can quickly be accessed by staff to serve the customer.
Smart keys which can be allocated to a staff member and programmed to open multiple cabinets in their section are recommended to streamline this process.