Did you know there is a 20 per cent increase in shoplifting over the Christmas period?*
Whilst retailers plan months in advance to create the perfect Christmas environment for their customers, security measures also need to be stepped up as the overcrowded shop floors provide perfect cover for shoplifters.
Women’s clothing, alcohol, fashion accessories, toys, smart phones and tablet computers, electrical goods and jewellery, will be the most stolen items. Experts say professional and semi-professional thieves are the main cause of the losses, as they steal higher value items than petty shoplifters.
Says Jamie Allam, Commercial Director: “Everyone looks forward to Christmas, especially retailers who have invested heavily in putting finest advertising together and a retail environment to encourage customers to enjoy bringing the festive feeling to life (and spend in the process!)
“Opportunist criminals also look forward to the chance to hide in the increased crowds and escape unnoticed with their goods. Security and extra vigilance should be every shop owner’s number one priority, not only to ensure that nothing is stolen, but also to guarantee the safety of customers and staff.”
Here are Amthal’s top ten tips for keeping your retail business secure during the busy festive season:
- If you have got security measures installed, make sure you have them serviced and monitored before the start of the traditional busy period.
- Invest in smart CCTV and alarm systems to add an extra level of security, and take expert advice on where to station your monitor and your cameras for best effect.
- Add visual verification to your security system so that anytime an alarm is activated, a ten second clip can be sent to your smart phone to maintain monitoring across your store and if there is a burglary, have the evidence on your mobile to hand to police.
- Anti-theft equipment is becoming more affordable and simple signage warning people that the store is equipped with CCTV and that shoplifters will be prosecuted is a great deterrent.
- Think about your store layout and change it often: the most popular items to steal are those that are high cost and easy to sell, but these goods are most likely to be on obvious display.
- If you’re taking on Christmas / January sales temporary staff to help cover the busy period, ensure you carry out all necessary CRB testing, employment history and reference checks as employee theft can be particularly devastating.
- If your stock room is on the ground floor, block the windows to stop visibility and consider adding bars and grilles. Adding bars and posts to your parking areas is a good idea. If they are removable posts, this enables you to decide who can park around your store and who can’t, giving you control over the access areas.
- Ensure you have plenty of warnings in place to remind consumers to protect their possessions, keeping handbags and goods in check at all times. This is especially in shoe stores where opportunists will make the most of you being distracted by a new pair of shoes and leaving handbags unattended.
- With the increase in online shopping, it’s important for retailers to be aware of fraud risks. The practical things to look out for include whether the delivery address matches the cardholder’s address, foreign credit cards, and high value and high-volume orders from new customers.
- Overall, having a relationship with your local police can help reduce crime because it helps to identify local repeat offenders and organised gangs, which are the primary causes of retail theft.
Jamie concludes: “The best tip of them all for retailers is to provide great customer service, with staff trained to meet and greet, make eye contact and remain vigilant at all times, reporting any suspicious activity. It’s sometimes the simplest steps that will immediately unnerve the opportunist who will go on to find easier retail environments to commit their crime.”
*Research by Centre for Retail Research
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