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How Retailers Can Prevent Holiday Season Theft

November 27, 2019

While the holiday season is festive, merry, and bright for many people, for retailers, it’s when they see the highest rate of inventory loss, or “shrinkage,” up to 37 percent.

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, retail thefts go up exponentially. Annually across the U.S., retailers lose roughly $6 billion due to shoplifting, mostly by employees, store visitors, or while cargo is in transit. If your business deals with any of the following material goods, you may be at risk to suffer loss, including:

  • Electronics and associated accessories
  • Leather goods
  • Jewelry, wallets, purses, and other accessories
  • Winter clothing
  • Meat, seafood, and alcohol
  • Perfume and cologne
  • Children’s toys
  • Chocolate

As you prepare to decorate your windows and storefront, it’s also important to start preparing against potential theft long before the seasonal rush begins.

Here are a few strategies to help you prevent retail theft and keep sales high.

Train seasonal staff to spot theft.

Often, a temporary staff is hired to help handle the increased volume of customers, but these staff members may not be well trained in spotting or identifying potential shoplifters, or worse – are plotting to do it themselves.

Taking the time to walk them through scenarios can help your team notice the signs of thievery before it happens. The bonus is that if someone on your staff is likely to steal, they now know that you are on alert and that they are not exempt from monitoring.

Simple steps against customer theft could include requiring frequent checks for propped-open doors and inspecting bags on exit.

Limiting temporary staff’s access to stock rooms, alarm codes, cash, business checks, and company vehicles can also help prevent both small and more devastating losses.

Pay attention to individuals and groups.

Research shows that chances of theft are higher among groups, as it provides distraction and a sense of anonymity.

When you greet and address each individual customer and offer assistance, shoplifters may not feel as concealed and may be less likely to commit a crime. Don’t let groups crowd in certain areas, or enter dressing rooms together.

Once a group is broken apart, give attention to each individual as they peruse inventory and products. Look out for shoppers who avoid eye contact, distract sales staff, and those who frequently come in and out without purchasing goods. 

Take important safety measures

A simple step for retailers is to ensure product displays and normally dark areas of the store are well lit. Positioning sought-after products near checkout counters and in plain view of cameras or security can also deter and discourage thievery from individuals.

Keep entryways, sidewalks, and other areas clear of obstructions, ice, and other potential slip, trip, or fall hazards. While not a product-related type of thievery, some store visitors may try to sue for premise liability due to personal injury suffered from negligence.  

Install surveillance cameras

A video surveillance system can help deter theft and vandalism on the part of customers, staff, or delivery services. If criminal activity does occur, security cameras provide clear and reliable footage to help law enforcement identify and track down the culprit.

Don’t accept heavy shoplifting losses as simply the “cost of doing business” in the holiday season. At Maryland Security Professionals, we can customize your retail security camera system to suit your needs and budget. Wireless surveillance allows you to access live camera feeds remotely, 24/7, from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Our feature-rich commercial security cameras include high definition IP and TVI technology, infrared night vision, and 360-degree coverage.

Contact us today to see how retail video surveillance can provide an added level of protection for your business during the holiday season and beyond. Schedule a free security audit today and let us help you identify gaps in your security and provide time-tested, state-of-the-art solutions.

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