When we talk about the impact of the pandemic on retailers, we tend to focus on the new challenges that it has created. The last 18 months have seen retail colleagues faced with responsibilities that go far beyond their job descriptions. From managing outdoor queues to enforcing social distancing, colleagues have shown incredible skill in adapting to these tasks.
But there’s more to post-pandemic retail than coping with the pandemic itself. Such a disruptive event is bound to have knock-on effects. Many of the problems that already existed for retailers have been exacerbated by COVID-19, and this includes crime.
The rise of the shoplifter
In the years preceding the pandemic, retail crime was increasing at a worrying rate:
- Over 359,000 shoplifting offences were recorded in England and Wales in 2019
- Customer theft increased by 7% between 2015 and 2019
- Shoplifting cost UK retailers £770 million in 2019
Retail crime fell during the pandemic as many stores were forced to close. However, those that stayed open found it harder than ever to deal with shoplifters:
- Team cuts and sickness meant that many security teams were greatly reduced
- Face masks allowed criminals to preserve their anonymity
- Social distancing rules made it difficult to monitor customer activity
These challenges are likely to remain after the pandemic is over. Many customers will continue to wear facemasks and stick to social distancing guidelines, even though these measures are no longer compulsory. With hundreds of thousands of people being told to self-isolate by Test and Trace, colleague shortages are also likely to continue well into the summer
Shoplifting is an expensive problem
Losing stock to thieves is a double blow- you lose a sale and you have to pay to replace the item. This comes at a time when money is already tight. The first lockdown cost the UK high street over £45 billion. Subsequent lockdowns have damaged revenue even further, so you need to make every penny count.
We hate to see your hard work undermined by the opportunism of thieves. Not only is it bad for business- it’s also demoralising for colleagues. It’s time to present a united front against shoplifting, and we know just how to do it.
It’s all about communication
Shoplifters have had an easy ride for the last 18 months. The pandemic has created an endless stream of distractions for colleagues, allowing thieves to slip by unnoticed. Even if a colleague spots something suspicious, colleague shortages have left many feeling too vulnerable to step in.
Our system is designed to solve this problem. With a VoCoVo headset, colleagues are never alone. No matter the size of your store, help is only ever a button press away. When colleagues can communicate easily, thieves have a much harder time:
Connect to security teams:
Headsets allow colleagues to contact the security team from anywhere in the store. Security teams can respond immediately without having to go to the colleague’s location. In the case of an ongoing incident, colleagues can update the security team as they approach their position.
Coordinate with external security
Larger stores may use a combination of external and on-site security. Our system allows both teams to coordinate their efforts. If HQ receives reports of criminals operating in a certain area, they can use our message casting feature to warn all local stores at once.
Call emergency services
VoCoVo can be integrated with your existing telephony provider, or can replace it altogether. Colleagues can call emergency services without having to find a phone, saving you precious seconds in the event of a robbery.
Traditional tannoy systems still have their place. VoCoVo can be linked to your store’s PA, allowing colleagues to trigger automated security announcements. Criminals have no way of knowing who raised the alarm, so colleagues can alert security without putting themselves at risk.
Shoplifting is never acceptable. At a time when the nation’s retailers are struggling, thieves are putting the entire economy at risk. Get in touch today and let’s send them packing.