Retailers may have had holiday decorations and discounts throughout their stores since shortly after Halloween, but this upcoming Friday marks the official start of the holiday season. Have you completed your holiday loss prevention checklist? Review your checklist while keeping in mind the following current concerns and potential loss prevention issues.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects an increase in holiday sales and for consumers to be looking fast and furious for discounts and lowered prices. Advances in smart phone technology and the use of the Internet has affected shopper behavior, making it easier for them to find the best deals quickly. One can also expect to see alterations in theft methods, both internally and externally throughout your store. Here are some of the key topics to make sure your staff is aware of this holiday season.
Crowd Management and Control
The NRF has their 2011 Crowd Management and Control Guidelines available on their website. Use these guidelines to prepare store management team and all personnel for handling the holiday crowds during Black Friday and throughout the holiday season. Let’s make it a safe holiday season for shoppers, employees and all those visiting your stores.
Workplace Violence Emergency Response
The holidays can be a difficult time for some people. In past years some unfortunate incidents of violence have taken place in retail environments. Ensure that your staff knows how to respond in the event of a violent act occurring in their environment. The Department of Homeland Security has many resources on emergency procedures dealing with workplace violence, available on the NRF Website. Let’s hope this year is not marred with violence in the workplace, whether it be a retail location, distribution center or corporate office.
External Theft Awareness
Although Organized Retail Crime and Criminal Flash mobs continue to be the rage, with a sluggish economy and the need to be a “good Santa” to children, amateur shoplifting is expected to increase during the holidays. Run down your list of associate training requirements and needs for all full-time, part-time and seasonal associates this holiday season. Focus on good customer service, proper POS procedures and consistency in your training and awareness program for all associates. Tis’ the season for holiday loss prevention success.
Internal Theft Awareness
Shoppers aren’t the only ones feeling the pinch of today’s economy. Internal theft continues to rise and the holiday season can very much increase the likelihood of internal theft activity. During a recent Exception-Based Reporting Group discussion (visit www.ebrgroup.net for more information about this group), it appears that gift cards, discounting and mobile couponing will be of great concern this year. Associates will be a large source of loss with regards to these concerns; either directly by being involved in theft or indirectly through errors made during the POS process. To learn more about these concerns, check out our blog article, Gift Card Discounting through the Holidays and Beyond.
Here‘s to the official start of the holiday season and to a most successful season to all of our retail partners and readers. There is still time for you to get our 2011 Holiday Loss Prevention Toolkit, a free download of various materials from LP Innovations, Inc.