Combatting Additional Retail Loss Challenges During the Holidays

retail-loss-prevention-holidaysWith the holidays quickly approaching, major retailers are well into hiring additional seasonal workers to support the increased workload, adding a new set of stresses and security challenges in the coming months.

The National Retail Federation has predicted retailers will hire between 640,000 and 690,000 seasonal workers this year. In line with that prediction, Target recently announced they are on track to hire more than 70,000 seasonal store employees this holiday season.

This year, however, retail stores aren’t just focused on hiring more help for the sales floor to greet and assist customers. Managers are looking to hire for transportation, manufacturing and fulfillment as well. For example, Target is planning to add 7,500 seasonal employees in the distribution and fulfillment centers alone.

Increased Loss Prevention Issues

Criminals see increased activity in stores during the holidays as an opportunity to take advantage, so it’s typical for organizations to notice an increase in theft this time of year. According to a 2013 survey by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, workplace fraud rises 20% during the holidays. Of course, not all of that is attributable to the increase in temporary workers brought on to manage the workload. In fact, there are a number of other loss prevention issues that could increase during the holidays including organized retail crime, fraud and shoplifting. PNC Bank reports credit card fraud increases about 19% during the holiday season.

Since there is so much going on for retail organizations during the holidays, keeping an eye on criminal activity can be overwhelming. However, there are retail loss prevention solutions that can help to manage shrinkage issues.

Deploying Loss Prevention Solutions

It’s important to have retail loss prevention solutions that span the entire process from fulfillment to transportation to the shelves on the sales floor to ensure your inventory is protected.

A GPS tracker is a perfect solution for tracking valuable assets from the distribution center all the way to the store shelves. Retailers are able to use small GPS trackers, similar to the Spark Nano 5.0, by placing them in product containers during shipment. There is also the option to utilize a customized GPS solution which places the tracker discreetly into a product or its casing.

For example, these custom devices can be used to protect jewelry counters at risk for smash and grabs by concealing the GPS unit in a ring or watch pillow—that way, if an item is stolen, it can be easily tracked and recovered without alerting the suspect.

Covert cameras are ideal for protecting inventory by keeping an eye on known blindspots, like a jewelry section or other areas not covered by an overt security system. Deploying covert cameras has the additional advantage of monitoring employees who already know where security cameras are located in a store. The use of covert cameras allows loss prevention managers and store security personnel to focus on both employee theft and shoplifting simultaneously.

For some retail locations, it makes sense to have an additional physical security store presence. It may make sense for some managers to hire an outside security service to ensure that they will have additional uniformed officers at the store as a deterrent for people looking to steal products.

The holidays are a busy time for retailers juggling increased customer traffic, extra employees and, ultimately, additional opportunities for security risks if not planned for in advance. Exploring loss prevention solutions now to deploy ahead of the holiday season helps to mitigate serious inventory shrinkage and ensure your profits don’t walk out the door.

Image by Diariocritico de Venezuela, licensed under Creative Commons.

About the author  ⁄ Lavon Simpson

Lavon Simpson is BrickHouse's B2B Marketing Manager, based in Indianapolis, Indiana. She attended Butler University where she studied International Management. Outside of work, Lavon has volunteered with the Indianapolis American Marketing Association for five years and is currently serving as the secretary on the board. In her free time, she enjoys reading mystery and thriller books, watching the Food Network and doing puzzles.