All retailers want for Christmas…is to minimise retail shrink

All retailers want for Christmas

Over the coming weeks retailers across Australia will be enthusiastically unpacking stock, bringing in new staff and gearing up for the busiest event on the annual calendar – the Christmas rush.

While Christmas is set to see registers ring across the country, it also presents a prime opportunity for thieves to take advantage of busy conditions and the premium stock on display.

Now is the time for retailers to roll out their security strategies in advance of Christmas and ensure those tidy little Christmas profits are maximised to their greatest potential.

Here’s a Christmas security checklist to guard against silly season shrink…

The Christmas shrink reality

With the brightest and the best high-end products available and on display, Christmas is a prime time for shoplifters.

In fact Australian Retailers Association (ARA) Executive Director, Russell Zimmermam told Canstar in the six weeks to Christmas alone, theft would cost retailers around $1.4 billion – or three per cent of the predicted Christmas spend.

“Theft is a serious problem for retailers, accounting for around three percent of all retail spend,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Christmas is a prime time for thieves, because with more people in shops it allows more opportunity to slip under the radar unseen. Despite new and sophisticated technologies aimed at stopping these criminals, thieves are also becoming smarter and employing their own advances techniques to commit crimes.”

What gets stolen?

High value items like electronics, perfumes, fashion accessories and even alcohol are always prime fodder for thieves, but even more so during the Christmas period due to their ready accessibility and resale demand.

The most recent Global Retail Theft Barometer notes:

  • In the fashion sector thieves go for footwear, accessories, sports related clothing, sunglasses and handbags, in that order.
  • In the electronics arena, mobile device accessories, iPads/tablets, video games, connection devices, and home office consumables are targeted.
  • In health and beauty, razor blades, makeup, perfumes, facial creams and deodorants are most likely to be stolen.
  • In food and beverage, wine and spirits takes out prime position, followed by tobacco, fresh meat, razor blades and cheese.
  • In DIY/Home improvement, thieves target batteries, power tools, door locks, screws, and washers, then cables.

So as a retailer how do you adequately arm yourself in advance of one of the busiest period of the year?

Audit your EAS system

Now is the opportune time to audit your EAS system and look for weaknesses, before implementing any upgrades that may be required.

Recurring issues like hard tags being found on the floor give you a clue that you might be using tags of insufficient magnet strength, or that the pinhead size is allowing thieves to free them from your items.

This is also the time to consider upgrading tag strengths, acquiring extra detachers for the rush, and ensuring you have the right tags suited to the right product.

In addition, the lead up to Christmas is the chance to assess how and where you display items, looking at your lockable cabinets and implementing more convenient smart key options or secure display hooks.

Different tags for different purposes

The type of products you intend to stock over the Christmas period will also determine the type of tags you require. A host of specialist hard tags area available for clothing, fashion accessories, bottles and even sunglasses.

Meanwhile, there are security measures you can implement that still allow items to be accessible to the consumer yet secured against theft.

For electronics like iPads, mobile phones, wearables, cameras and tablets, this includes secure display stands that allow the consumer to touch, feel and interact with a product without the risk of theft.

Staff training

A key component of any security strategy, particularly at busy times, is staff training.

Ensure new and current staff are aware of the best practice when it comes to spotting and dealing with shoplifters. Research has consistently shown that staff who engage with customers go a long way to reducing the opportunity and incidents of theft.

Meanwhile, store layout also plays a major role. While your store may be packed to the rafters with all the latest Christmas offerings, having good visibility that allows a view to all areas of department or shop front also reduces the opportunity for theft.