Black Friday is the shopping event of the year, with total sales from brick and mortar establishments totaling $12.3 billion on Black Friday in 2013, and about 37% of the American adult population joining the fun! That’s 225,000,000 people out and about, an astronomically larger than typical number. Add to that the extra challenges of early opening times, crowd control, over-eager shoppers sleeping in parking lots, and potential problems like shoplifting, trampling and brawls breaking out, and you have some major Black Friday security issues for retail stores. These issues are at best a minor headache, sapping at your profit margins. At worst, a major incident on your premises can lead to lengthy legal battles and crippling financial troubles.
Black Friday Security Challenges for Retail Stores
Our opening paragraph has outlined the general challenges you might encounter when preparing for the massive throngs that will sweep through many stores on Black Friday. These challenges can include:
Customer Safety and Crowd control – Simply dealing with the flood of humanity on Black Friday is a challenge, in fact, the vast majority of deaths and injuries incurred on Black Fridays for the past few years have either been due to folks trampled in stampedes or affected by pepper spray. In addition to shepherding the masses come opening time, an increased Black Friday security presence can help to ensure that your customers are safe and happy. Bad news spreads faster than good and a Black Friday security disaster will leave a lasting negative impression. For example, according to Business Insider, 77% of Black Friday store mentions in 2013 went to Walmart, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. 4 out of 5 were negative, including words like “fighting” and “fought”. An increased presence of security guards might help you avoid this.
Shrinkage / Shoplifting – With such massive crowds, stores are unusually vulnerable to theft, especially with staff overstretched trying to provide an acceptable level of service to so many people. Sad to say it, but employee theft can be more rampant when there is so much activity for supervisors to keep tabs on. While a security presence doesn’t guarantee that your Black Friday sales will be completely free of shrinkage, a visible security force can certainly help.
Black Friday Security Store Solutions
So, what are your options as the manager or owner of a retail store, or any business that is impacted by the insane volume of foot traffic that Black Friday generates?
Ensure you are well staffed
You should consider ensuring you are fully staffed, which is a great start, but the probability is that your team will have their plates full, even if you’ve got all hands on board. What else can be done?
Wide entryways and clear exits
Most tramplings and other Black Friday injuries take place in high-traffic, bottlenecked areas, such as entrances and exits. Ensuring that walkways are clearly defined and spacious, where possible, can be a great move and help prevent people from bottlenecking and getting disgruntled.
Ensure your staff are alert
Gather your employees just prior to opening (with coffee!) and give them a quick pep-talk. Highlight the importance of customer service, but also remind them to be vigilant and reassure them that supervisors will be readily available throughout the day to ensure the customers have a positive experience, and deflect any negative feedback away from your staff. This will also remind any unscrupulous employees that they themselves will be under observation throughout the day which will deter employee theft.
Hire extra security for Black Friday
Hiring a security guard for Black Friday is a great way to help ensure the day goes smoothly, and reduce shrinkage. Simply having a visible security presence on hand is enough to prevent many would-be shoplifters. Depending on the size of your business, it may be necessary to take on more than one extra security guard in order to ensure that the majority of your store is under observation.
Sterling Protective Services, Inc. has been the serving major cities in Texas for over 25 years. We’ve established ourselves among the best security companies in Dallas, Houston and Austin, where we have offices, and we’d love to hear from you and discuss how we could help improve your security for Black Friday.Contact Us Today