With just weeks to go until the retail industry enters peak season, now is the perfect time to assess whether your shop security and loss prevention strategies are up to par.
Year in, year our statistics indicate peak season, which extends from Black Friday right through the Christmas, is a prime time for retail theft.
So where should your attention lie?
If Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) is one of your loss prevention strategies (and we would argue it should be) now is the time to consider whether it could benefit from an upgrade in terms of tag strength, tag types, large pinheads, and even benefit denial additions like ink-dye pins.
EAS is renowned as one of the most effective ways of protecting items against theft, but like all areas of loss prevention, it benefits from an assessment now and then.
Super-strength tags are the minimum recommended strength as they require a higher-powered magnet to open them.
Meanwhile, larger pin-heads can help thwart tampering attempts, ink-dye pins add an extra layer of security, and even tag shapes like alligator tags or clamshell tags make it harder for shoplifters to illicitly remove tags from items.
When it comes to low-value, high-volume items, these should be protected using security labels. Now is the time to make sure the right label is being used for the right product and that they are applied in a position that is easy to deactivate quickly at the Point of Sale.
Store layout plays a critical role in theft prevention, with research indicating stores which are well-lit, and have a clear line of sight for staff to see all areas of the floor are less prone to theft.
Undertake an audit of your retail outlet, seeking out dark areas or hidden places which make it more likely for shoplifters to attempt a theft.
Meanwhile, options like lockable displays and cabinets can help boost security of frequently targeted high-value items, and the fitting room should also be factored in as an area at risk.
These days there are new tools available to help guard the change room, with options like the ApparelGuard available, which monitor the area and alert staff to potential thefts or tag tampering.
In addition to product-based security like EAS, and good store layout, many retailers also protect their retail outlet at a store-based level using either CCTV and/or loss prevention (LP) personnel.
Now is the time to ensure CCTV is up to scratch in terms of image quality, recording, and vantage points.
It’s also time to consult with your LP personnel on any trends they’ve witnessed or any weak spots they believe the store may have.
You staff are one of your biggest assets or weaknesses when it comes to theft prevention, and the difference is in staff selection and training.
If you are bringing in additional staff for peak season, ensure they are thoroughly screened, and references are checked.
All staff should also be comprehensively trained in order to offer good customer service and also to ensure they recognize the signs of shoplifting and suspicious behaviour.
Again, research indicates well-trained staff who consistently meet and greet the customer go a long way to reducing incidents of theft.
A bumper season
This year’s peak season is expected to be a positive one for retailers, with the industry anticipating a revenue increase of 28.7 per cent on 2018.
If that’s the case, it will also be extremely busy, with more traffic through retail outlets than in years gone by.
For retailers this presents a challenge of balancing high traffic and increased customer expectation with loss prevention at a time many are hoping to enjoy a serious revenue reward.
Ultimately, protecting any revenue boost comes down to the loss prevention strategies retailers implement now to ensure peak season isn’t marred by product theft.
You can learn more about our range of security tags including the latest theft prevention features here.