For retail jewelers, the holiday season offers tremendous opportunities – for business revenue and for thieves.
Crowds, extra inventory and more transactions create an open invitation for shoplifters and employee theft unless jewelers take special precautions, warns Sid Kalantar, senior vice president of sales and marketing of Senseon™ Secure Access, which provides a keyless, hidden, electronic locking system ideal for jewelry display cases.
“During the holiday season, retail jewelers must be super-vigilant and take additional steps to minimize merchandise losses,” Kalantar said. “Beyond surveillance and alarms, they need to pay Scrooge-like attention to every piece of jewelry kept in a display case and shown to shoppers.”
He added: “Most thefts involve jewelry being taken from showcases, which need better protection. The locking systems for cases and the way sales associates handle merchandise often create opportunities for criminals.”
Retail jewelry theft is rising. Crimes committed against US jewelers reported to the Jewelers’ Security Alliance increased to 1,245 in 2016, up 5.8 percent from 2015. Dollar losses also rose to $72.4 million, up 4.5 percent, in that time frame. And violence and guns are becoming more common in jewelry-store robberies.
Kalantar said the holidays pose particular challenges for jewelers, including an influx of shoppers and high demand for sales. This can cause sales associates to multitask and become distracted. Moreover, temporary, less-experienced employees hired during the holidays are prime targets for criminals.
What can jewelers do to cut down on theft this holiday season?
“Take advantage of emerging technologies that make it easier to deter theft,” Kalantar said.
He recommended adding smash-proof glass, auto relocking of doors and drawers, and an access control system that eliminates metal keys (avoiding keyholes and key-management issues) and hides locks.
Also, for tracking, jewelers can use small radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and etch information on jewelry. In addition, monitor movement of individual items by particular salespeople – also helpful for boosting productivity. In fact, jewelers may want to take a page from top jewelers that inventory every piece of merchandise at the end of the day and shut down stores if any items are missing.
In addition, Kalantar offered these tips:
- Require associates to serve one customer at a time and show one item at a time.
- Never let an associate step away from an unlocked fixture.
- Remove all merchandise from cases overnight.
- Train temporary employees and remind established employees to always be mindful. Educate temps, especially important for large chain stores, where they are more prevalent.
“Benefits transcend loss prevention,” said Kalantar. “A seamless security system and best employee practices improve the customer experience while invisible merchandise protection contributes to aesthetics. The result is an especially happy holiday season for jewelers.”