Tips to protect your store from theft this Christmas

December and January are two of the busiest months of the year for retailers with many people rushing to purchase last minute gifts or to take advantage of the festive season’s discount sales.

However, large crowds and busy staff can also make it easier for people to get away with theft. Michael Day, national retail manager at Tyco Retail Solutions, says the best way to keep thieves at bay is to make sure they know you are watching them.

“While bolstering staff numbers and providing additional training can keep shoplifters on their toes, there is no better deterrent than having visible security technology, such as electronic article surveillance tags and security cameras in place to protect stock from walking out the door,” he explains.

To help store owners prepare for the sales rush, he suggests the following security tips:

Assess the store layout

• Check the floor area to ensure staff can see every zone within the store and install additional cameras in any blind spots to observe customer behaviour. Increase the use of tags and labels in these areas to reduce the opportunities for shoplifters.

• Ensure that any security sensors at the store’s entry and exit points are clearly visible and not hidden by advertising.

Protect vulnerable merchandise

• Identify the merchandise most prone to shoplifting and put protective measures in place.

• Valuable stock items can be securely protected using electronic article surveillance (EAS) tags and labels that will trigger an alarm if targeted by shoplifters. 

• Don’t feel that every item needs to be tagged―just having some items visibly tagged can be enough to tell a potential shoplifter that the store has security technology in place.

• Make sure stock is neatly displayed and that rejected stock isn’t left lying around in fitting rooms or outside of its packaging.

• Consider an item-level inventory intelligence system such as Sensormatic by Tyco Retail Solutions, which tracks goods as they move through the store, from shelves to POS and out the door.

Train staff

• It is important to treat every customer the same as there is no typical shoplifter profile.

• Ensure staff greet and make eye contact with everyone that walks into the store and are comfortable handling a shoplifting incident. Their job is to deter not detain an offender.

• It is important that staff react to every alarm as this will send a message to customers that the store takes security seriously. 

• Make sure that staff are diligent in removing or deactivating tags and labels from purchases to ensure the store remains efficient and minimises unnecessary distractions.

By Marion Gerritsen