Black Friday can feel overwhelming, but shopping mall administration and security teams can stay in control by planning ahead and following best practices in retail security and crowd control.
Our retail security experts share 7 key tips for safeguarding people and merchandise. With additional training for frontline staff, together with plans and procedures in place, retail managers can ensure a safe and enjoyable Black Friday for all.
1. Control the number of people in any given store at any one time.
One or two security guards deployed at a store entrance or entrances can ensure that crowd levels are not too high for retail security and staff to serve, and to monitor for potential theft. Security guards may want to use click counters to maintain a desired capacity, or take the cue from the shop managers when staff feel they have reached their capacity.
2. Encourage shop managers to plan displays from an anti-theft perspective.
Be sure to display valuable and small items that have a high potential for theft in a case or in an area that is closely monitored, and can be easily seen by the checkout staff. Expensive or highly desired items should not be displayed near exit routes.
3. Be on alert for distraction thefts.
Fights, commotions or loud arguments between couples can be staged to make staff look away while a shoplifter is taking merchandise. One way to avoid distraction thefts is to assign multiple retail security guards and staff to monitor different areas of the store.
4. Deploy security guards at mall entrance three or four hours in advance of opening.
Because of the excitement and desire to snag Black Friday deals ahead of others, verbal and physical conflicts can result before the shopping even begins. The presence of security guards can keep unruly people in check, and allows for professionals to intervene in a dispute so that the situation does not escalate and become dangerous for bystanders.
5. Ensure that each store’s caller ID includes the store name.
If a store manager needs to call security and is pulled away from the phone, security professionals will know which store they need to attend to immediately, thanks to the caller ID. For outgoing calls to 911, the caller ID should also include the mall name.
6. Make sure stores’ back room doors have chimes or alarms.
This is an easy intervention, but in many cases, simple solutions make the difference between a crime and an averted crime. When staff are extremely busy and large crowds are present, shoplifters can sneak into store rooms. A chime or beeping alarm can notify staff of unauthorized entry. Staff property, including purses and wallets, should also be in a locked area.
7. Look out for stockpiled, planned thefts.
One common technique for large value thefts is to place multiple high-value items in one area, to make it possible to “grab and run” with all of the desired items at once. Instruct staff to remove items that appear to be stockpiled and return them to their places, and ask retail security guards to be on the lookout for a shoplifter returning to the area.
Following these tips and other advice will help ensure the crowds and any undesirable behavior don’t take you by surprise this Black Friday. In addition to taking smart security precautions, having a reliable retail security solution in place from first-rate security professionals can make a world of difference.