As promotions are starting to run in TV ads and in storefronts, there’s no denying the holiday season is almost here. Retailers have been preparing for the busiest shopping season since the late spring and early summer to make sure they’re ready for the droves of shoppers. However, as the holiday season becomes more top of mind for consumers, the increase in shopper traffic also means the potential for holiday shoplifting and theft issues.
While retailers button up and finalize their in-store staffing strategies for the holidays, it’s important to keep in mind the days and times that are expected to be busiest in-store. According to ShopperTrak‘s historical data, 45 percent of all holiday shopper traffic falls during the top ten busiest days, beginning on Black Friday and dispersed throughout the end of the year. The top ten busiest shopping days for 2018, as predicted by ShopperTrak, are as follows:
1. Friday, November 23 – Black Friday
2. Saturday, December 22 – Super Saturday
3. Saturday, December 15
4. Sunday, December 23
5. Saturday, November 24
6. Saturday, December 8
7. Friday, December 21
8. Wednesday, December 26
9. Saturday, December 1
10. Saturday, December 29
In preparation for the busiest shopping days, loss prevention should play a key role during the hiring, scheduling and training processes for store associates. The proper education paired with up-to-date loss prevention technology can help retailers reduce theft and ultimately enhance the in-store experience among store associates and shoppers for a merry and bright holiday season.
Optimized Scheduling and Training
Looking at the busiest shopping days and unique traffic data from previous years can help retailers optimally schedule their store teams. For example, Saturdays are known to be busy year-round, but in the holiday season they’re exceptionally busy with six of the top ten busiest shopping days falling on a Saturday. Along with specific days, there are peak shopping hours for retailers to pay close attention. ShopperTrak reports that the power hours between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. will be the busiest on the weekends, with 4:00 p.m. being the peak. These insights can help retailers make better informed scheduling decisions to get the most out of the holiday season.
Once retailers understand the busiest days and shopping hours, they can use this knowledge to schedule associates appropriately and make sure LP agents are on the floor and ready to go. Retailers want their most talented, hard-working associates on the floor to not only improve customer service, but also to help monitor shoppers’ behavior.
During peak hours and high-traffic days, all departments should be staffed with no space left unsupervised. LP agents should be on the floor during these times to help keep retail company assets, employees and customers safe, perform physical security checks, respond to any alarm events, assist with LP equipment troubleshooting, and more. Associates should be there to greet customers when they arrive, establish eye contact and ask how they can help them; potential shoplifters can become nervous and, knowing that they’ll be watched, can be deterred.
Associates should also strategically position themselves near product displays and attentively check in on customers to help make holiday shoplifting less likely.
Reducing shrink involves closely monitoring daily operations to increase awareness of where things are going wrong and associates are closest to the inner workings of the day-to-day business. Accurately scheduling associates goes in conjunction with investing time into educating store associates on the importance of a loss prevention strategy to manage shrink. When managers are transparent about their loss prevention objectives and the cost of shrink to the bottom line, it’s easier for associates to understand the importance of loss prevention and share similar goals.
Having Your Store and Technology in Place
Alongside training associates on the best practices to use to prevent holiday shoplifting and theft, it’s critical that associates understand the store layout and technologies that are in place to help decrease theft, better protect merchandise and increase profitably. Retailers organize stores in a variety of ways to better deter theft, such as:
- Increase visibility with open floorplans
- Keep more easily stolen merchandise, like smaller knick-knacks and jewelry, closer to the point-of-sale (POS) areas
- Design POS areas to give staff a clear sightline of the store floor while they’re checking out customers
- Keep stores organized and shelves stocked; overflowing merchandise is more easily stolen
- Install adequate lighting to eliminate dimly lit areas for intruders to hide
- Display shoplifting signage, video monitors and security mirrors as a great low-cost deterrence option
- Confirm all loss prevention equipment and devices are connected and operationally functional to optimize security measures
Using the knowledge at hand, including key busiest shopping days and power hours, will allow retailers to make informed decisions about how and when to schedule LP agents and sales associates. Retailers will be ready for the holiday rush by having the team properly scheduled, trained and armed with the right loss prevention technology to keep customers happy and coming back well beyond the holidays.