ST LOUIS, Mo. — As retailers prepare for a busy holiday shopping season, they must also prepare for an increased risk of theft and violence against employees. Interface systems, a leading managed service provider providing enterprise security, managed network, UCaaS and business intelligence solutions to distributed enterprises, shares information and best practices to mitigate crime and attacks in retail during the holidays. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2022 Retail Security Survey, 52.9% of retailers reported that external theft, and retail organized crime (ORC) in particular, increased by 26 .5% since 2021. “The ORC increases during the holidays because there are more opportunities. Stores are open longer, they are more crowded, employees are extremely busy and there is more inventory in the store. What should be “the most wonderful time of the year” for shoppers and retailers is becoming increasingly stressful due to an increased risk of theft and violence against employees. Technology solutions can provide effective deterrents for retailers who face security risks daily,” said Sean Foley, SVP Customer Success at Interface Systems.
Leverage virtual security guards to protect premises without impacting customer experience
Retailers can rely on remote security professionals which can use security cameras, speakers and microphones installed in stores to provide discreet and always-on surveillance without degrading the customer experience. These services allow trained security professionals to identify threats such as arguing customers, loiterers in the store perimeter, or those about to commit theft, and issue an immediate audio warning or to call the police.
Use AI-enabled cameras to proactively identify threats
Motion-triggered cameras with AI capabilities can become the first line of defense to proactively identify threats. When deployed in conjunction with a loudspeaker and lighting system, the solution can automatically notify loiterers outside office hours. They can be programmed to play different audio messages depending on the context or even alert a remote security professional who can access the scene via live video camera feeds. This is especially useful in parking lots and loading areas.
Integrate video, alarms and point-of-sale systems
One of the easiest ways for retailers to get a return on their security investment is to integrate video surveillance into a point-of-sale (POS) solution. Functioning exception reports on transactions mapped to video recordings makes it easy for retailers to find instances of theft such as coupon fraud, refunds made in the absence of customers, romance, and unauthorized price overruns.
Empower and train employees
Retailers are expected to hire between 450,000 and 600,000 seasonal workers over the holiday season. The current climate of active muggers and gun violence adds to retailers’ concerns about their ability to keep employees and customers safe. In fact, eight out of 10 retailers surveyed in this year’s NRF report said the violence and aggression associated with ORC incidents had increased over the past year. Having a strong training and communication program in place is a crucial step in keeping employees and customers safe. All new hires, including seasonal employees and existing employees, should be made aware of security and incident response procedures through a combination of training programs, role plays and drills. Most importantly, the program should include a synopsis of the security technologies deployed and an emergency communication plan that all employees should know how to use. “Retailers need a comprehensive safety program to prepare and protect their associates from a variety of hazardous situations. When employees know their safety comes first, it creates peace of mind and can boost morale and productivity,” said Tyson Johns, Senior Vice President of Safety Monitoring Operations at Interface Systems.
Interface Systems is a leading managed service provider delivering enterprise security, managed network, UCaaS and business intelligence distributed enterprise solutions. We improve security, streamline connectivity, optimize operations and reduce IT costs, maximizing ROI for the nation’s leading brands. Learn more and follow us on our blog Make it happen and on LinkedIn.