Last week we discussed the importance of preparing your website and refreshing your online security in advance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM). This week, we’re continuing with our BFCM theme, but we’re taking it offline. BFCM has shifted over the years, from Black Friday to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and has become a critically important weekend for online sales. But while the importance of online sales continues to rise, in-person retail sales are still as important as ever for Black Friday. Here are a few things that you need to consider for a safe and secure Black Friday:
Theft is a constant and viable threat in the world of retail. It can be difficult to avoid, but it’s not impossible. There are a number of security measures that can create significant change in terms of reducing frequency and magnitude of retail theft. Black Friday is an incredibly busy weekend for retail stores and shopping centres all across North America. The many sales and promotions, increased inventory, extended hours and sharp increase in numbers of shoppers can become the perfect recipe for a successful shoplifting execution. To counteract this, be sure to plan ahead. Organize your store in a way that leaves no dark or unseen corners, don’t block lines of sight by stacking display racks too high, keep more valuable inventory displayed in more secure parts of your store, make sure that entry and exit points are being monitored, and put up signs to let people know that they are being monitored and shoplifting will not be tolerated. Updating security systems and hiring additional security guards is a sure way to minimize theft, but starting with these small measures can make a big difference, too. If you don’t have regular security guards on hand, consider hiring guards for busier times of the year such as Black Friday!
While Black Friday is almost guaranteed to see a steep increase in sales, it’s also guaranteed to see a steep increase in visitors. A crowd is a good thing for business, but too much of a crowd can be problematic. Anticipate the BFCM crowds and plan accordingly. Should your store have have a max capacity pre-established? If so, who will monitor this and manage entry and exit? Does the layout of your space require clearly marked paths and lineups? If so, be sure to have clear, visible signage. Preparation is key when it comes to crowd control, but so is presence. Having a strong presence of staff or security guards who are trained and capable of managing the crowds will make all the difference.
When it comes to security, the key is to always hope for the best, while being prepared for the worst. Black Friday is an extremely busy time with a lot to consider. It could possibly be one of the worst times to experience any kind of emergency, but an emergency situation is possible. In the weeks leading up to BFCM, reconsider your emergency plans and procedures. Be sure to have clear guidelines in place for each process, as well as identify who is responsible for each element of the process. If you don’t have emergency procedures in place, consider undertaking a full security audit! Create any safety plans that you’ve been missing up to this point.
As already mentioned, planning ahead is key! One of the biggest blunders that businesses make during busy periods is under-staffing and under-stocking. Be sure to have enough inventory on-hand to meet the increase in demand. Likewise, be sure to have enough staff on-hand. An under-staffed Black Friday sale can very quickly turn into complete chaos. Long lines, impatient customers and a slew of sales and promotions can equate to disaster if not managed well. Take time before BFCM to retrain your staff. Make sure they are all up to speed on current sales and promotions, safety plans and procedures, lines of communication, staff policies and emergency response protocols. The more trained your team is, the better.
Black Friday can be stressful and a bit hectic for those who work in the world of retail, but planning ahead and implementing security procedures can help eliminate much of the stress. Consider these recommendations and, if you’re able, invest in additional security for Black Friday. Having guards on-site who are specially trained in loss prevention, crowd management and emergency response will provide full peace of mind. Contact us today to talk about securing your business for BFCM!