It should go without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted the retail industry – after months of lockdown measures, social distancing rules and new ways of working, many stores have found it hard to come to terms with this 'new normal'. As the UK Government's lockdown roadmap revealed a tentative reopening date of April 12th, many stores are readying themselves for the welcome return of customers. But are their retail security systems ready?
Let's take a look at how to store security may have been affected by the pandemic – and what may test it now, and in the future.
The Effect of COVID on Retail Security Systems.
Is another great recession on the way?
There have already been several studies that have predicted the pandemic will leave the retail industry in another' great recession' – and it isn't difficult to see how that conclusion has been reached. Already in the UK, brick-and-mortar stores like Debenhams, John Lewis and M&S have felt the sting of the economic downturn, with them having to axe thousands of jobs and close stores across the country. While these stores were struggling for some time before the Coronavirus outbreak, it exemplifies the effect it has had on these major high street brands – any weakness was quickly rendered unfixable.
In short, this shows that there isn't much room for error for retailers post-COVID. A recession means money will be tight for everyone, which requires stores to fight even harder to earn it from the irvisitors. The customer experience, therefore, is more vital than ever – and security is an obvious major factor in ensuring people can enjoy their shopping.
What security concerns will people have in retail stores post-COVID?
Aside from the 'traditional' concerns (shoplifting, theft, breakages, miscounted stock, etc), there will be additional security concerns to think about from April – social distancing, masks, hygiene and general safety rules will remain in place and are likely to for some time. Naturally, the prospect of this will deter people from going out to physically shop – so making the store as easy and safe as possible plays a massive role in getting people in there in the first place.
In-store, shoplifting is definitely an area which retail security systems should keep a close eye on. Even though in-store theft dramatically reduced in the first few weeks of the lockdown (no surprise, with non-essential stores being closed!), it's likely that levels rose again when most shops re-opened after the initial lockdown in June 2020. The statistics for the last great recession (in 2008), tell us that shoplifting surged to record levels; rising by 20% to an eye-watering cost of £4.88bn[i].
More recent research has shown that the UK retail sector faces at least 1000 shoplifting incidents every day – over half of these incidents remaining unpunished. It isn't difficult to predict that during a pandemic, these numbers are likely to at least remain the same – if not more. It's important to remember that retailers do not always report shoplifting incidents; when they do, usually the offender is a persistent one, they're possessing a large quantity of goods and/or they're deemed as being dangerous.
The British Retail Consortium's 2020 Retail Crime Survey found that there were over 400 incidents of violence and abuse against retail staff every day, with shoplifting challenges being a common trigger. With stores requiring to continue COVID-safe measures (such as mask-wearing, social distancing and sanitation), this will likely heighten opportunities for incidents to occur (indeed, just last month, some of the country's largest retailers wrote to the Prime Minister to raise concerns about violence to staff).
While there is certainly much to think about now, and for the future, the safety of staff, customers and products can be safeguarded with the help of professional security experts – and this is where we can help.
Contact The Tagmax Team For Your Bespoke Security Solution.
To minimise loss and to protect employees and customers, it is absolutely essential that your retail business takes advantage of a bespoke security solution.
Over the years, the Tagmax team has worked on store security projects with businesses all over the country to provide totally unique and effective solutions. Whether it's the provision of pedestal or underfloor tagging systems or retail analytical software that can monitor, understand and interpret the behaviour of your staff and customers. Our experience and our dedication to meeting your property's unique security requirements make us the number one choice for a huge range of businesses.
Why not contact our team for an informal chat to learn about how you could benefit from our retail security systems? You can reach us by calling 0800 044 3160 or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org