The holiday season is the busiest and most profitable time of the year for retailers. It’s also a busy and profitable time for criminals.
Shoppers are flooding the malls, big box stores, and smaller neighborhood shops looking for just the right gifts for family and friends. With all the extra foot traffic, businesses must be extra vigilant, paying particular attention to thwarting shoplifters, which may include employees.
Here are four holidays loss prevention tips to help you protect your bottom line:
1. Train Your People
Ensure your regular and seasonal employees have been well trained to keep their eyes on the store while dealing with the throngs of holiday shoppers. Be sure to stress that they should never accuse, chase, or place their hands on a shoplifter. They should notify the manager, who will then notify security or the police.
“Team regular employees with new and seasonal associates and empower them to make positive decisions balancing customer service with enforcing tried-and-true loss prevention techniques across the retail sales floor,” notes the National Retail Federation.
Remind cashiers how to tell counterfeit cash from the real McCoy, and be sure they look at the more popular denominations closely. Additionally, cashiers should not be allowed to enter credit card numbers by hand. They can take screen shots of customers’ card numbers, then use that information to make purchases online.
2. Use Technology
Controlling shoplifting in your establishment is easier if you install a high-quality business video surveillance system that will let you look at what’s happening inside your store at any given time. Your trained personnel can scan the store on a computer screen or via a mobile device to look for potential shoplifters. If you bag a crook, the video surveillance system can provide the evidence you need for the police.
A video surveillance system will also help you cut down on employee theft. You can integrate the video surveillance system with your cash registers to capture exact images of every transaction, helping to catch dishonest employees. Install cameras in storage areas and the loading dock as well as in the store. You should also install anti-theft devices such as security cameras, mirrors, and anti-theft tags on merchandise.
3. Don’t Make Shoplifting Easy
Eliminate areas that are too dark or hard to monitor. Put small, expensive items—such as jewelry—where your sales floor staff can keep tabs on the merchandise, or lock them up in display cases to keep them safe.
4. Staff the Self-Checkout Area
Dedicate a worker to watch your self-check area–one for every four self-check outs. That employee can help customers with any issues they might have with the machines as well as keep the thieves from stealing your merchandise. Don’t pull that person away to bag groceries or answer a customer phone call because that’s when a theft will happen.
The challenge for retailers, then, is knowing what to expect and how to respond to certain situations. Keeping these tips in mind will help you and your employees handle the pressure so you can have a safe and profitable holiday season, while keeping your losses to a minimum.