As you prepare for the busy holiday shopping season, remember that thieves come out in full force in November and December. Blending in with bigger crowds makes their work easier, as do distracted store employees. Keep this checklist in mind as you prepare your store for the busy season ahead.
Take Physical Inventory on a Regular Basis
Doing a complete reconciliation of your entire inventory isn’t realistic during the busiest sales times. But daily case counts are essential to control losses during the holiday season. The quicker you notice your merchandise has gone missing, the more likely an investigation into the loss will be successful. If you need to submit an insurance claim, you’ll also make that process smoother by noting the loss earlier.
When doing case counts, vary the times of day when the count is done; have more than one person responsible for conducting the counts to avoid internal theft; if it’s not possible to monitor every display every day, rotate which ones are observed; and review your surveillance footage on a regular basis to make sure the counts are completed, and nothing is missed.
Educate Your Staff
Criminals typically case stores before robbing them. So practicing secure selling procedures is crucial. Need a refresher in this area? Check out A Jeweler’s Guide to 24/7 Security. It will make your store a difficult target for criminals to pursue during the holidays and beyond.
Hire Extra Security
In addition to having a well-educated crew of sales associates, security guards are a wise resource to call upon when foot traffic accelerates. The mere presence of a guard can be enough to discourage many thieves from even considering your business as a target. And if a theft is attempted, the guard will be able to handle the situation with more knowledge and experience than a sales employee.
Security after-hours is equally important, especially when it comes to alarm response. Whether it’s once, twice, or 10 times, it’s important that every activated alarm is responded to with urgency (and have your alarm company inspect your system annually to ensure it’s in good working order).
Guard Against Grab-and-Run Thefts
Criminals doing grab-and-runs will typically walk into a store and appear to be browsing the merchandise. Usually, they’ll move toward the most valuable merchandise on the showroom floor and ask to see a particular piece. From there, they simply run off with whatever they asked to view. The most recent JSA Annual Crime Report shows that these types of crimes happen more in the later part of the day. But how do you prevent grab-and-run theft?
Ask to see a customer’s driver’s license or ID before allowing the individual to try on merchandise. Once you’ve verified that the ID is legitimate, retain it until the customer has returned the piece. Remember to show an item only after you’ve examined the ID, though. Multitasking can be risky because some grab-and-run attempts have featured suspects taking merchandise directly from the hands of sales associates before the ID was deemed legitimate.
Never show more than one piece of jewelry at a time. If a customer is adamant about comparing pieces side by side, put one on yourself and let the customer compare. Never have more than two pieces out of your showcases at once, as some criminals are bold enough to attempt grab-and-run thefts with entire trays of rings. And speaking of being bold: many criminals will appear nervous or fidgety before attempting a grab-and-run. Document suspicious incidents like these so if the suspect returns, the rest of your staff can shift into high alert.