I run a medium sized independent HiFi and Home Cinema shop, and this year we have finally caved to demand from our customers and organised a large Black Friday sales event. We were planning on upgrading our CCTV already, but with this on the horizon we want to make sure that it is capable of monitoring the increased footfall. Unfortunately we are somewhat resigned that the large crowds we’re expecting will lead to some loss of stock, but do you have any tips for how to limit this?
With it’s seemingly unstoppable rise over the last few years, Black Friday is now firmly set as one of the biggest days on the calendar for retail, and more shops than ever are now seeking to take a slice of that frantic, frantic business. The huge crowds that this brings however can be something of a double-edged sword, as there is now an expectation for news reports on the day to be filled with mobile phone footage of riotous crowds barging down doors and tearing apart POS displays. With the prospect of this riotous disorder, many of the most established ways of keeping your shop secure will unfortunately fall by the wayside. For example, the most common tip for retail security is to make sure staff are attentive and communicate with customers, subtly letting them know that they are keeping watch. Obviously, this would be completely impossible with such a huge crowd. Similarly, one common tip is to make sure all the shelves are kept neat a tidy with stock at the front facing outwards, helping staff quickly identify if someone has shoved an armful of goods into a bag. Again, for such a chaotic sales event this is essentially a non-starter. So what measures would work?
- Watch the price tags! One of the most common ruses to be used during sales events like these is for unscrupulous shoppers to switch price tags on items, taking advantage of any confusion from sales staff who might be less familiar with selling prices. Make sure all of your staff are fully briefed on which items have the headline discounts, and that they watch out like a hawk for any switched labels on items brought to the counter.
- Put together a code system. This is good practice, but especially useful for situations like Black Friday events. Put together a small list of code words for common security problems, such as suspected shoplifters or bust-up between shoppers. This lets them easily escalate a situation to management or security without a potential confrontation. In such a high-stress situation, it’s worth reiterating that you should never expect your staff to physically confront a shoplifter!
- All hands on deck! This probably doesn’t need stating, but Black Friday really is the time to have as many staff on the shop floor as possible. If you are looking at taking on part time Christmas staff, then make sure they’re trained and ready for then. And it’s not just about keeping the tills ringing- staff on the shop floor and by the entrance can help control the flow of customers and deter theft.
- Limit staff user priviliges. It’s not nice to think about, but a recent survey of UK retail found that 35% of losses from crime were due to employee theft or fraud. Temporary staff have less of an incentive to stay in your good books, so it’s worth if possible placing limits on their user privileges on things like till systems and alarm codes. For example, most till systems will easily let you prevent certain users from doing refunds.
Naturally, it’s also vital to make sure that your CCTV system is up and running, and that each camera is capturing a high quality image. If there are any problems, then it’s vital that people are recognisable in the video recordings afterwards. An HD CCTV system really is the best way to go for this- see the sample footage below- and Hikvision’s Turbo HD TVI range simply plug together using standard coaxial cables. This makes them perfectly suited to retail security. When looking at a system, make that you have enough cameras to cover every part of your shop without any blindspots- shoplifters can easily figure these out and take advantage of them. Also, make sure that they cover behind the counter and the tills. The staff might not like this, but it is in their benefit as well, as this can easily prove their innocence if there is an issue.
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