Retail Security Tips for Black Friday

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Black Friday marks the beginning of an intense period of Christmas shopping in the UK as shoppers flock to their local towns and shopping centres to snap up the best Black Friday deals.

“Super Saturday” which is typically the Saturday after Black Friday is usually the busiest UK in-store day of peak trading, with hundreds of thousands heading out to brave the sales and grab some bargains.

What is Black Friday?

The day dates back to the 1960s and is reminiscent of the chaotic, hordes of shoppers who would head to nearby towns and cities to do Christmas shopping. The day offers a multitude of shopping deals and big discounts and in recent years is an online event as well as being hosted in-store.

When is Black Friday 2023?

This year, Black Friday takes place on Friday 25th November 2023.

With more shoppers than usual heading to retail stores to snap up some bargains, the Black Friday and Christmas period can be busy, chaotic and susceptible to increased crime rates.

Retail crime rates surged by more than 20% over the past year, with nine in ten shop workers suffering abuse from customers. Busy retail environments must have a strong security presence over the Christmas period to protect both staff and customers.

With the impact of the cost of living also being felt across the UK, we could likely see crime rates rise further with increased negative sentiment among the general public. The worries of affording Christmas will be stressful for many, with the appeal of the bargains at the Black Friday sales likely being more attractive than ever.

What is retail security?

Retail security officers are responsible for ensuring public safety within retail environments, preventing and handling theft and other challenging situations quickly and safely. Retail security ensures the protection of both customers and staff, providing a reassuring presence for all in the vicinity.

They are also trained, licensed security professionals who can handle potentially challenging or threatening situations quickly and safely.

Our top security tips for Black Friday…

Exceptional customer service

Black Friday shopping can be a stressful experience. Busy shopping centres and hectic crowds are often responsible for increased tension for shoppers and retail staff alike.

Trained security guards can add additional customer service support, answering simple questions and helping tidy or restock shelves. This additional layer of protection also helps deter potential thieves and allows retail security officers to monitor people coming and going from the building, as well as any suspicious behaviour.

Identify high value/at-risk items

Every year, there are new products that everyone wants for Christmas, so identifying these popular or high-value items early is important. In doing so, you can ensure there is a permanent security presence to help deter potential thieves and protect stock.

Last year, Apple AirPods, Shark vacuum cleaners, wireless headphones and the iPhone 13 were all popular, newly released items that had significant Black Friday discounts.

Highlight clear shoplifting policies

Busy retailers will likely see an increase in losses over the Christmas period, as shops are busier than usual – which is why an enhanced security presence is advisable.

However, in instances where you can apprehend a shoplifter, it’s important to have a retail security officer on hand to handle the situation safely. Informing staff of your shoplifting policies and some simple red flags to keep an eye out for will help closely monitor the situation and mitigate too many losses.

Optimise store layout

Optimising your store layout in a way that makes it easy for employees and retail security officers to see shoppers helps ensure maximum visibility.

For example, keeping all displays at waist height allows security guards to see across the shop floor and placing high-value items in locked or monitored areas will mitigate losses, too.

For supermarkets where shelving is typically a lot taller, regular walk-throughs from security personnel as well as active monitoring for staff will help reduce potential theft.

Employee training

Alongside a trained security presence, your employees are another line of defence against theft or potentially challenging situations.

Ahead of Black Friday, it’s worth reminding your staff of some simple security techniques as well as reviewing any official procedure around handling threatening situations, should they arise.

Some simple tips to share with employees ahead of Black Friday 2023 include:

  • Shoppers who are constantly looking around to see if they are being watched
  • Shoppers that pick-up items and place them back in different places in the store
  • Swapping price tags
  • Entering the store as a group and then separating

Retail security and loss prevention

Security loss prevention helps retailers minimise risk, prevent theft and enhance the overall safety of customers and staff. In 2021/22, there were approximately 274,999 shoplifting offences in England and Wales, making it vital for shops and supermarkets to have an effective security strategy in place to avoid losses.

A dedicated security team can help identify potential thieves quickly and efficiently, safely handling the situation and avoiding placing other shoppers or staff members at risk.

However, it’s also important to recognise the potential impact of employee-related theft, which is a prevalent issue in retail environments where a small minority of staff may take advantage of their position.

In the UK, 22% of retail loss is due to employee theft, which is another added benefit of investing in a dedicated, third-party security partner. These licensed professionals can ensure the overall safety of staff and customers and won’t be compromised by any existing personal relationships.

If you’re looking for retail security services this Christmas period, Namib Security provides highly trained and experienced retail security officers to help protect people and property.

With more than 10 years’ experience in providing premium retail security services, we can help you develop a dedicated security strategy for your retail business this festive season.

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