Brisk sales and busy stores have a flip side for retail jewelers: They’re an open invitation for thieves, who thrive on distracting sales associates.
Start the new year right by better protecting inventory kept in display cases from shoplifters and light-fingered employees, advised Sid Kalantar, senior vice president of sales and marketing of Senseon™ Secure Access, which provides a keyless, hidden, electronic locking system ideal for jewelry showcases.
“Retail jewelers must be super-vigilant and take additional steps to minimize merchandise losses,” Kalantar said. “Beyond surveillance and alarms, they need to pay careful attention to every piece of jewelry kept in a display case and shown to shoppers.”
He added: “Most thefts involve jewelry being taken from showcases, which need better protection. The locking systems for cases and the way sales associates handle merchandise often create opportunities for criminals.”
Retail jewelry theft is rising. Crimes committed against U.S. jewelers reported to the Jewelers’ Security Alliance increased to 1,245 in 2016, up 5.8% from 2015. Dollar losses also rose to $72.4 million, up 4.5%, in that time frame. And violence and guns are becoming more common in jewelry-store robberies.
What can jewelers do to avoid becoming victims?
“Take advantage of emerging technologies that make it easier to deter theft,” Kalantar said.
He recommended adding smash-proof glass, auto relocking of doors and drawers, and an access control system that eliminates metal keys (avoiding keyholes and key-management issues) and hides locks.
Also, for tracking, jewelers can use small radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and etch information on jewelry. In addition, monitor movement of individual items by particular salespeople – also helpful for boosting productivity. In fact, jewelers may want to take a page from top jewelers that inventory every piece of merchandise at the end of the day and shut down stores if any items are missing.
Kalantar offered these additional tips:
· Require associates to serve one customer at a time and show one item at a time.
· Never let an associate step away from an unlocked fixture.
· Remove all merchandise from cases overnight.
· Train temporary employees and remind established employees to always be mindful. Educate temps, especially important for large chain stores, where they are more prevalent.
“Benefits transcend loss prevention,” said Kalantar. “A seamless security system and best employee practices improve the customer experience while invisible merchandise protection contributes to aesthetics. The result is a happy 2018 and beyond for jewelers.”