The Role Of Security In Creating A Safe Black Friday Shopping Experience

With the festive season just around the corner, the retail industry is gearing up for its busiest time of the year. As we head into November and December, the UK experiences a surge in retail activity, with increased visitors to supermarkets, shopping centres, and local businesses.

Whilst the influx of shoppers during this season can significantly boost business revenue, it also brings about an array of security challenges. Theft, break-ins, violent incidents, and accidents are concerns that businesses must contend with throughout the year.

However, during large-scale events like Black Friday, the likelihood of these incidents occurring substantially increases. What’s more, larger crowds make it much harder to see these offences being committed, and harder to intervene.

For these reasons, having a comprehensive plan for Black Friday is essential for a safe shopping experience for customers and staff. Hiring a private security company like Churchill Support Services is an effective way to safeguard your business over Black Friday, with a range of security solutions to ensure your staff and shoppers are protected.

In this article, Churchill Support Services will explore the security threats present in retail environments, especially over the Black Friday. We will then look in-depth at how you can safeguard your business from these threats, and what retail security measures Churchill has in place if an incident does arise.

 

What Is Black Friday?

Black Friday has become a shopping tradition in the UK that marks the beginning of the holiday season. It began as an American tradition, taking place the day after Thanksgiving. Whilst Black Friday mainly occurs-, as the name suggests, on a Friday, most retailers offer promotions across the entire weekend, sometimes extending to what has become known as Cyber Monday.

Many retailers offer large discounts to entice shoppers into making purchases in the run up to the festive season, with Black Friday seen as the official start of the holiday shopping period. For many, Black Friday is an exciting calendar event, enticing masses into shopping malls and on the high street.  Yet at the same time, the commotion of the event can cause high emotions, opportunity for crime, and health and safety risks.

This year, Black Friday falls on Friday 24th November. With the date fast approaching, considering the risks and planning ahead for the event is crucial for a smooth and successful period of sales. It’s important to note that there may be increased crowds not only on the Friday, but across the whole weekend.

This year, over half of UK adults plan to spend on the Black Friday weekend, with a total of £3 billion predicted to be spent over the period. So, what does that mean for securing your business, and ensuring the continued safety of shoppers?

 

5 Key Benefits Of Black Friday Security

Below, we’ve outlined the key benefits of hiring private security for your business this Black Friday.

 

1. Maintaining Crowd Control

Black Friday often reaches the headlines due to the huge crowds the sales attract. Often, these can swell out of control, making it difficult to move through the store, creating lengthy queues and aggravating tempers.

Crowding issues have a detrimental impact on businesses, creating a negative experience for shoppers. According to research, 69% of customers decide not to make a purchase based on the size of the queue, meaning that poor queue management can result in lost sales.

With the average shopper only willing to wait 6 minutes and 46 seconds in a queue at a store, managing queues and crowds is fundamental to providing swift service, making sales and happy customers.

With Churchill’s dedicated officers and door supervisors, you can control movement in and out of your business, ensuring a smooth flow of customers. This helps create orderly queuing, which can reduce customer tensions and related outbursts. With Churchill, you can focus on conducting sales smoothly, whilst we control the crowds over the busy Black Friday period.

 

2. Managing And Diffusing Conflict

Huge crowds, excitement, and long waits can culminate into a chaotic environment. Shoppers can often be seen fighting over final sale products or pushing to reach items sooner.  All of this can result in chaos and commotion, verbal assaults, and threats of physical violence.

For example, police were called to several supermarkets in Manchester on Black Friday in 2022, as staff members were faced with threats of violence and customers refused to exit the stores.

Managing conflicts effectively is essential to preventing harm, de-escalating volatile situations before an incident occurs. All of our door supervisors at Churchill are trained in conflict management, as well as first aid training. All our door supervisors have a DS Licence for Door Supervision, as well as a full SIA licence.

Our officers are trained to identify tensions and take the appropriate intervention measures when issues are identified. Churchill always maintains professionalism, even during high pressure situations, so you can rest assured that the chaos of Black Friday is kept under careful control, minimising the stress and strain on your staff.

 

3. Preventing Theft

In 2022, there were 342,343 cases of shoplifting recorded in England and Wales. Theft is one of the biggest threats to retail businesses at any time of the year, and the Black Friday sales are no exception. Promotions and deals are attractive to consumers, but also attract attention from those with ill-intentions. With a rise in customers, unfortunately comes a rise in the potential for thieves who shield their activity in the crowds.

Retailers must be especially vigilant during this period, as organized shoplifting groups may take advantage of the chaos to steal high-value items. In response to this challenge, many stores implement heightened security measures, such as increasing the presence of security personnel and installing surveillance cameras.

In a previous article, we highlighted that there were over 8 million incidents of customer theft and shoplifting in the last year alone, noting the importance of enforcing preventative measures.

It’s not just businesses that can fall victim to theft during the busy Black Friday sales, but individuals, as the bustling crowds can create an environment ripe for pickpocketing and personal theft. Keeping customers safe is part of  a positive shopping experience, which is why security measures should seek to safeguard everyone in your store.

With Churchill’s dedicated officers, we will keep a careful watch over everyone entering your business, looking out for any suspicious activity. Another way to protect your premises from theft is with our CCTV solutions, with our dedicated Control Centre keeping a watchful eye for criminal activity 24/7/365.

We understand that it’s impossible to monitor every customer that enters your business, especially during the heights of Black Friday. That’s why we provide store detectives as part of our retail security solutions, who provide completely integrated, discreet floor surveillance.

Our detectives provide subtle yet effective surveillance and are able to deal with conflict in a discreet and professional manner. This includes liaising with the police and investigating suspicious activity, helping protect your stock and staff.

 

4. Preventing Intruders From Entering Prohibited Areas

The large and lively crowds excited by Black Friday sales is great for business, but also comes with larger safety risks which are more likely to go undetected. For example, the bustling crowds act as a shield for intruders, who have better cover to enter prohibited areas, such as stockrooms or staff-only areas.

This increases the risk of large-scale theft and poses security risk to the safety of staff. During Black Friday, the presence of private security personnel becomes crucial. Churchill’s professionals are adept at navigating crowded spaces and identifying suspicious activities, ensuring that potential intruders are swiftly detected.

Our patrolling guards help safeguard your premises, which can be used together with our advanced  CCTV surveillance systems to create a robust defence against theft and unauthorized access. This may be particularly prominent overnight of Black Friday, as intruders attempt to access stock.

We also offer our effective key holding and alarm response, which ensures that in the incident of an unauthorised person on-site, security officers can respond promptly. We pride ourselves on an average response time of just 30 minutes,  swiftly arriving on-scene to minimise security risks over the Black Friday weekend. This may mean notifying the authorities or arriving on-scene, keeping your stock and staff safe.

 

5. Ensuring Health And Safety Measures

In large crowds, it can be harder to maintain health and safety protocols, and to get assistance to those should a medical incident occur. With private security, you’ll have a dedicated service keeping watch over your premises, who will immediately notify the relevant authorities if required. With private security, you can get those who need it the medical assistance they require swiftly.

One of the primary advantages of having  Churchill’s private security personnel  to watch over the Black Friday crowds is their ability to respond swiftly and efficiently in case of a medical emergency.

By bridging the gap between the occurrence of a medical incident and the arrival of medical professionals, private security services contribute significantly to minimizing response times and ensuring that individuals receive timely and appropriate care.

All of our security guards and door supervisors at Churchill have undergone first aid training as part of their SIA license. This means we’re able to provide rapid assistance to any who may need it, whether this be staff or customers, for the safest Black Friday shopping experience.

 

Keep Shopping Safe With Churchill

For more than two decades, Churchill Support Services has been providing a range of security solutions to large and small businesses across the UK.

Whether you require mobile patrols to monitor a retail site, security officers to provide protection at your shop entrance, need a key holding and alarm response service for your stockroom, or are looking for a CCTV security solution, we’ve got you covered.

As the #1 ranked ACS Approved Contractor in the UK, we provide truly industry-leading security services in the UK. Each of our officers undergo a minimum 5-year vetting process and are fully SIA-licenced, so you can be sure the highest standards of protection are maintained.

Our range of solutions means that Churchill offers a security solution bespoke to your business needs. When you hire our undercover retail store detectives, you’ll be choosing a reliable and trusted security firm, proven by our 95% customer retention rate.

For the safest Black Friday shopping experience, contact our team today and receive a free, no-obligation quote.

Andy Farley

Group Chief Operating Officer

Andy is an experienced operations and sales professional with over 20 years’ experience. As Group Chief Operations Director, Andy is responsible for service delivery to new and existing clients throughout the UK, managing the 24 hour control room, the supervisory team and Operations Managers, and for driving efficiencies and best practice standards within the organisation.

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