How COVID affected retail loss prevention services in 2020 and how its bouncing back in 2021
Retail loss prevention has been a specialty for GSS for many years. The training and experience of our officers assigned to these details have saved literally millions of dollars for our clients in prevention of shoplifting.
2020, and the associated strict social distancing caused many retail stores to close throughout the city. New York City has an extremely high population density, and as such, the normal interior of most retail businesses reflected this density. With a city in lock down, it was difficult for a business to stay open with no shoppers.
As the year progressed, the sense of fear decreased as people accommodated to social distancing and face covering. Retail began to open and resume business, albeit with shorter hours and strict social distancing in the stores. Our retail loss prevention services still did not see any rebound, perhaps because shoppers felt the need to quickly shop and depart the confines of a store where they felt more vulnerable to COVID infection.
However, toward the end of the year, with vaccines appearing, and people without work, retail noticed more losses, and GSS phones began to ring once again for loss prevention services.
GSS helps our customers reduce inventory losses. These losses involve shoplifting – averaging 36% of losses, and employee theft – 30%. GSS works with retailers by background screening of store employees, installing signage, and advising on optimum layout of merchandise to minimize easy shoplifting.
GSS found that the mandatory masking encouraged shoplifting as it gave thieves a sense of anonymity. Store employees can minimize this by interacting with shoppers, good eye contact and reminding them of store security surveillance.
Even so, the masking in the pandemic caused a significant uptick in shoplifting as more stores opened, resulting in more calls to GSS for retail loss prevention assistance.
As more people are vaccinated against COVID and previously infected people with vaccinations are similarly protected, there will be a greater desire to shop for essentials and luxury goods, particularly after being locked down for so long.
Some experts are predicting a boom in spending beginning later in 2021 as herd immunity is reached and restrictions are eased throughout New York.
There will, unfortunately, also be increased inventory losses. GSS feels that this environment will significantly increase the need for GSS retail loss prevention services.
Of course, all anticipated employee interviews, and interaction with management on merchandising will require strict adherence to GSS New York State Department of Health Forward Safety Plan.
GSS can also provide security personal to the retail store locations, to augment employee surveillance of shoppers and observe employees for theft. The high profile of security guards also acts as deterrent to theft.
With the experience, knowledge, planning and resources GSS offers the retail sector, GSS has every reason to expect retail loss prevention services to significantly increase in 2021.