The holidays are a crucial time for owners and operators of retail businesses. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), Americans spend an average of $997.73 each Christmas, with the retail industry raking in an astounding 936.3 billion dollars (despite historic levels of inflation) in holidays sales last year alone. Many retailers bank on a solid showing in the final six weeks of the year to put their businesses firmly in the black.
While volatile outside factors can affect the robustness of any particular sales season, retailers can depend on two factors to perennially disrupt holiday profitability: retail and employee theft. While retail theft remains a threat year-round, the holidays create a unique surge in criminal activity. An estimated 182 million people are planning to shop in-store and online from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday this year. With the chaos of door-buster deals and a higher volume of foot traffic, retail theft losses swelled to $112.1 billion in 2022, up 19% from $93.9 billion the year before.
Further eating into year-end profitability is the higher incidence rate of employee theft. While occurrences of retail theft often get the headlines, it’s estimated that ill-intentioned employees bilk their employers to the tune of $50 billion annually. In the chaos of holiday shopping and with many employees hiring temporary seasonal workers to help with the additional volume, some employers are tempted to cut corners on vetting temporary workers or are too busy to supervise employees effectively.
However, retailers need not be destined to suffer inventory and monetary losses over the holidays. Many of the factors that contribute to retail and employee theft—a lack of oversight over new employees and customers, the inability to watch every corner of you store at once—can be mitigated by a professionally installed security system. By bolstering physical security, business can translate protection into maximum profitability—and have a very merry Christmas, indeed.
First, the security basics
Before businesses deal with security issues during business hours, it helps to lay the foundation for a comprehensive security solution—and that starts with a professional burglary alarm system. Installing door and window sensors can help detect break-ins within seconds. Motion detectors use microwave and infrared waves to detect intruders prowling about when the system is armed. Many forward-thinking businesses couple their burglary system to their fire alarm to protect from another major profit-decimating issue—property fires.
Of course, a burglary alarm system is useless if it goes off after hours and no one can hear it. A professionally installed burglary system requires professional, 24/7 monitoring. In the event of a break-in, the alarm system would send a signal to a professional operator, who would evaluate the alarm signal, notify the business contacts, and dispatch authorities as needed. By allowing a security provider to protect their business from general threats, business owners are freed up to focus specifically on security concerns that arise seasonally.
If you don’t have cameras…get cameras
Business owners cannot supervise every customer and employee at all times. Modern surveillance cameras can help to cover inventory, points of sale, and even the exterior of a building depending on a business’ needs. Popular dome cameras can be installed to discreetly monitor activity, while bullet cameras can provide higher visibility for intentional deterrence against theft. Instead of spending more money on supervisors and shift leaders to try and cover your bases, dedicating a single person to monitoring or reviewing cameras footage can go a long way in limiting shrinkage.
Video cameras aren’t just point-and-capture anymore, either. Even standard surveillance cameras often come with remote zoom and focus and infrared capabilities for better night vision. Pan-tilt-zoom cameras can be moved manually to better focus on a point of interest or even use facial recognition to zoom in automatically on passersby. Multi-sensor cameras can provide comprehensive views of hallway intersections and building or room corners to eliminate the blind spots thieves covet. Specialty cameras such as fisheye and pinhole cameras can discreetly monitor points of sale to help keep an eye on cash transactions or even capture images of shoplifters as they make their exit.
With high-end cameras more affordable than ever, a one-time investment in a video surveillance system can save you big bucks in the long run. Not only are cameras higher performing than ever before, they also come with features that didn’t even exist only years ago. Network video recorders are available with various memory capabilities, allowing businesses to run anywhere from a solitary camera to hundreds and letting them store the footage for anywhere to a couple of days to a month. The scalability allows for businesses to get the system that best fits their needs while only investing as much as it absolutely necessary. Putting down for a world-beating surveillance system once allows for retail businesses to better protect themselves for holiday security concerns years into the future.
Don’t need to be there? Don’t let them in
Granting only certain employees privileges to open and close the store or access inventory can minimize the risk of theft. While cameras can catch someone in the act or deter prospective thieves, a card access system can prevent employees from being where they don’t need to be.
Businesses can administrate their own card access system, granting each individual employee a unique card and granting each employee unique access permissions. Management, for instance, could be granted access to every room in the shop, while cashiers may only need access to the sales floor or a specific storage room. Card access systems also allow for employers to track card activity. If a box went missing out of the inventory room, the administrator of the system could pull up a usage report and see who accessed the room during a certain span of time.
Card access systems also allow for easier management of temporary employees. Instead of giving out keys to the actual building and then trying to track them down again at the end of the holiday season, cards can be activated at the date of hire and deactivated at the point of lay-off or termination. If an employee leaves with hostility, the administrator can simply deactivate the card and deny access to the former employee immediately. And if business owners don’t want to designate an employee to assign cards or don’t have time to administrate and monitor the card access system themselves, EPS Security specifically has a Card Access Administration group comprised of trained technicians to help with the workload.
The key to successfully safeguarding your retail property is proper planning. Scheduling the right staff, organizing your store layout, and implementing security protocols can go a long way in reducing the risk of inventory loss. With manpower spread thin and heavy holiday traffic, however, the best way to limit retail and employee theft is by strengthening your business security system. Luckily, EPS Security makes protecting your store easy by providing local businesses with everything they need for comprehensive security coverage. From working with experienced consultants to pinpoint vulnerabilities to engineering and installing systems using experienced technicians and world-class vendors, EPS Security will use it 65 years of security authority to craft the perfect solution for your business needs. Don’t let humbugs harsh your holiday cheer. Let EPS Security show you how our 65 years of commercial security experience can help you ring in a very happy New Year.