While security and safety should be a priority throughout the year, you should pay much closer attention to such matters during the vacations.
Seasonal events and promotions can send bigger than normal crowds to your shop. And while that may be a fantastic thing for earnings, it can also leave you vulnerable to fraud and theft, or worse — place your workers and customers in harm’s way.
But do not worry — by taking the appropriate steps, you can minimize or even completely avoid any safety and security issues this holiday season.
Begin with the following best practices under.
1. Carry out holiday-specific safety precautions
Besides your yearlong health and safety policies, take additional time to examine and execute holiday-specific precautions.
According to Gary Johnson, Senior Advisor at Prevention Advisors, health and security”become more magnified throughout the holiday season” due to the extra crowds.
Bear in mind, you will have more shoppers with kids and shoppers with backpacks, and this may open up both safety and security concerns. Consider how you can deal with these problems before the rush starts.
Johnson also brought up holiday decorations. If you are adding Christmas lights, as an instance, you want to be certain that the cords do not cross over walkways. Or if you are setting up a Christmas tree, then you need to see to it that it is installed properly, so it does not fall over.
2. Implement crowd management measures if necessary
Craft a crowd management strategy so you and your employees can handle the holiday rush. Here are some things to consider:
Start by mapping out your shop
Planning for audiences will be much easier when you’ve got a visual aid. When you haven’t done so yet, make a store map and use it to identify entries, exits, and other significant spaces. Doing this will also help you plan how to control traffic flow, where to put equipment and fixtures, and where to position your employees.
Devise ways to maintain your shop from being overcrowded
Observe your shop’s maximum occupancy and make certain you stay within its limitations. Some retailers have found success by implementing staggered entrance during busy shopping occasions. These shops would only allow a specific amount of people in the shop (e.g. 25 a time) to make sure that the space does not get too crowded.
Create a contingency plan
Always have a contingency aka “what if” plan. Since the NRF sets it:
Even the best-laid plans run into challenges. Contingency plans should be made for the”what if” scenarios that could arise, such as larger-than-anticipated audiences, inclement weather, power outages, big lines of angry customers, trampling, shooting and product sell-outs.
Business continuity and emergency preparedness programs give partners a base upon which they can handle unexpected conditions. Contingency plans can also have alternative entry/exit points for clients, celebrity guests, partners, and security/law enforcement.
To prepare for the unexpected, retailers must consider:
- Evacuation routes
- Communication programs
- Law enforcement/public official participation
- Preservation of proof
Use the Ideal equipment
As soon as you’ve some idea of how to control in-store traffic, see to it that you have all of the materials that will assist you execute your plans. Based on what you are implementing, these could include
- Stanchion ropes
- Surveillance tools
3. Invest in loss prevention and anti inflammatory apparatus
Speaking of gear, have you armed your shop with anti inflammatory tools to curb shoplifting and other crimes? It is not too late to do so! Here are some of the anti-theft devices that you can use in your shop during the holidays and beyond:
- Merchandising safety tools (e.g., safety racks, shelf locks, etc.)
4. Protect Your Company from internal theft
Do you have enough people in your group to deal with the rush? If not, you might want to begin hiring seasonal workers . The functions for which to employ will depend on your organization. Some retailers might have to bring in extra cashiers, although other stores may need more safety personnel too.
Do note that while hiring individuals can definitely make things easier during the holidays, it can occasionally lead to internal theft. Avoid that together with the following best practices:
Conduct background checks
Display potential hires thoroughly. Besides the normal application and interview process, run background checks on prospective hires — particularly if they are going to manage sensitive information.
Establish the right user permissions
Most modern point-of-sale systems permit you to set user permissions to enable or restrict staff members from performing certain tasks. Check with your POS solution provider and find out how you can upgrade permissions in your shop.
Review your user permissions to ensure you understand just what your staff can see and do with your POS. Pay additional attention to people who can process voided earnings, since this is a really simple way to steal inventory.
Onboard and train them correctly
“Amid the hustle and bustle, supervisors will need to fill positions with leading candidates, get them up to speed quickly without sacrificing the customer experience or slowing the teams momentum,” says Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify, a microlearning platform for frontline staff.
“Remember, seasonal staff is here for a great time, not a very long time. So how can managers be certain that you receive your new hires up to speed quickly? For seasonal hires particularly, a constant onboarding approach helps them succeed from day one, immersing them quickly in your own culture, products and brand and strengthening their learning over time”
She continues,”By focusing on crucial knowledge to begin with, you will be certain they have the knowledge they need to present top-notch customer support, stay safe at work, keep an eye out for loss prevention and promotions.”
Keep your employees happy
When an employee feels just like he/she isn’t paid , or is over-worked, or the job is beneath their level of abilities, they enable themselves with a mindset of’I deserve this, for whatever it is they intend to steal, he wrote.
Then there is the fact that temporary employees are not as invested in the industry as full-time employees. Zahran continued:
The temporary character, and comparatively lower compensation in comparison with fulltime positions fuels some of those employees’ belief that”taking this 1 thing will not really matter and, I’m gone in a couple weeks anyway.” In worker screening interviews, we’ve had employees acknowledge to this mindset. It’s particularly prevalent during the holiday season since these employees are also laying out plenty of money for presents, so picking up one for free, even though illegal, helps with their financial burden.
So, how do you make certain that your workers, even the seasonal ones, stay engaged? You can start with appropriate training. Arm them with the knowledge they need to perform their jobs well and be sure that your educational resources are available.
You should also look at pairing temps with experienced workers to quickly get them up to speed and incorporate them into your organization.
In the end, offer incentives. Based upon your organization and budget, these perks may include bonuses, swag, or the chance for full-time work.
Stay on top of stock counts
Doing routine stock counts not only helps you keep on top of your inventory, but in addition, it reduces theft and shrinkage. Strive to count your inventory on a regular basis, so you always have a handle on what you have available.
Understandably, it can be tough to conduct whole inventory counts many times, so if that is a problem, think about cycle counting or partial inventory takes instead. Such stock counting methods only ask that you count certain portions of stock on a daily or weekly basis, so you won’t need to do complete inventory counts.
5. Make sure your technology is up to date
Your retail tech stack (i.e. POS, payment terminals, readers, scanners), in addition to any loss prevention tools you might have, must be up-to-date for your holidays.
Get in contact with your hardware and tech vendors and speak with them about any applicable updates. Obviously, if your gear is not up to snuff, take immediate measures to deal with the issues.
The same is true for your software. Don’t ignore those upgrade prompts you get from the apps. The most recent version of an app or solution comprises the most updated features and safety measures, so it is less vulnerable to hacks and breaches.
And while you are at it, uninstall plugins or programs you are no longer using. All programs have vulnerabilities, so fewer apps mean less chance of attacks. Proceed through all of the programs installed on your personal computer and mobile devices, and eliminate the ones that you’re no longer using.
6. Secure your POS from hackers and fraudsters
Crowded stores, long lines, and active workers are able to make your POS place a hotbed for retail crime, which explains the reason you need to implement the perfect security measures to prevent fraud and theft. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:
Watch out for equipment tampering
Inspect your POS equipment, credit card terminals, and PIN-entry apparatus for any signs of tampering. Such signs could include broken seals, missing screws, extraneous wiring, or other labels which may hide indications that the apparatus has been altered.
You also need to check each device’s USB or network port. If you see anything plugged into them which is not supposed to be there, report it immediately.
Physically secure your POS
Ensure that your checkout area is protected. Keep valuable information away from prying eyes by positioning your POS, card terminals, and displays for maximum privacy.
Take advantage of secure shelves, stands, and safety wires to prevent unauthorized removal. Mount your PIN pads firmly on the counter, and use locking stands to safeguard your equipment.
Secure your POS network
Besides beefing up your bodily POS area and equipment, make certain your network is at least as secure. 1 important thing to do would be to run your POS system on a network different from the guest Wi-Fi. You also want to be certain that you encrypt network data, so traffic and actions are not visible to anybody else.
We would also love to hear from you! Are you doing anything extra this holiday season to stop loss and safety difficulties? Share them in the comments.
►►► ConnectPOS is a cloud-based POS software compatible with multiple platforms including Magento, Shopify & Shopify Plus, and BigCommerce.
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