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How Secure Commercial Window Film Can Help Your Business

Each year organized retail theft costs Canadian businesses billions of dollars, and it’s not just the big box stores that are affected.

Retail crime is a serious issue affecting businesses big and small. Research shows that 87.5 percent of independently owned retail stores report being a victim of retail crime.

How do we protect our businesses in a world of rising theft? In today’s blog, we’ll discuss the ever-growing issue of organized retail crime and how you can protect your business with 3M Window Security Window Films. 

What is Organized Retail Theft?

Organized retail crime continues to be a growing concern for businesses across the country. Research shows that on average, retail crime costs businesses $5 billion each year, often resulting in consumers paying higher prices for products.

Although the perpetrators are typically individuals, they often work together in groups to commit the crime. The group may consist of friends or family members, or it may be a more formal crime organization where members are paid for their work. In either case, the end goal is the same – to steal items from stores and illegally sell them through online marketplaces, flea markets, the black market or back to local retailers for cash.

The techniques used by these criminals are varied, but they often involve creating a distraction to overwhelm security. Smash-and-grab tactics, for instance, are used to take advantage of momentary confusion after a loud noise or disruption. Flash mobs are another technique in which groups of people create an atmosphere of chaos and confusion to distract security so that one or more members can steal merchandise and slip away undetected. 

The Impact of Organized Retail Crime

Although often thought of as a victimless crime, organized retail crime is far from it. In fact, the impact of this criminal enterprise is extensive.

Organized retail crime has a major effect on retailers. It is one of the main contributors to retail shrinkage, which amounted to nearly $100 billion in losses for the retail industry in 2022 alone, according to the National Retail Security Survey. While some retailers are able to keep up with organized retail crime’s growing influence, others are forced to close their doors due to financial stress.

In addition to the direct financial losses faced by retailers, organized retail theft also poses a significant threat to the safety of employees and members of the community. In fact, the Retail Council of Canada has expressed concern over increased reports of violence associated with this type of crime. The Council’s Executive Advisor, Rui Rodrigues, told BNN Bloomberg in a recent article that a lot of businesses are reporting an increase in violence, assaults, arson, and property damage that are perpetrated within their retail locations. 

What you can do as a Retailer to Minimize Organized Retail Crime 

As an owner or manager of a business, you know that organized retail crime can affect your business, in a number of ways – from costs associated with theft to loss of revenue and brand reputation.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can secure your business and minimize the risk of organized retail crime. Here are some tips to get you started: 

Prepare a Retail Theft Prevention Plan

Prepare your business for the possibility of organized retail crime with a theft prevention plan.

A theft prevention plan provides basic procedures for implementing policy-related preventative measures like returns and refunds, employee scheduling, bag checking and limiting the number of high-value goods on the sales floor. It can also outline the appropriate protocol employees should follow when dealing with theft.

Remember, there’s no such thing as a loss prevention plan that’s too comprehensive – the better built your strategy is, the more protected your business will be. 

Ensure staff is well-trained with anti-theft techniques 

When it comes to theft prevention in your retail establishment, you’re only as strong as your employees. Each and every one of them plays an important role in deterring theft, and the better their customer service, the less likely thieves are to steal from your store.

For example, if your team is friendly and attentive to all shoppers, thieves are more likely to feel watched by staff members and thus, less likely to steal items while they’re shopping at your store. Having your staff greet everyone on entry, offering fitting room check-ins often, and remaining attentive to all customers throughout their entire visit will go a long way toward preventing theft.

It's also important to ensure your team is trained with the latest theft detection and prevention techniques so that they can identify suspicious behaviour and prevent theft before it happens. In today’s digital age, organized retail crime has become more sophisticated than ever before. Ensure your staff understands what signs to look for when dealing with organized retail crime with up-to-date training. Training should cover topics like:

  • How to properly conduct a security check without offending customers or making them feel uncomfortable.
  • The importance of reporting suspicious behaviour to management and authorities immediately so that it can be addressed before it escalates into a larger problem.
  • How to recognize potential theft using visual clues such as bulges in clothing or bags, large crowds gathering near exits or fire alarms going off unexpectedly. 
Optimize the Layout of Your Business 

Did you know that preventing theft can also be done by design? Some of the most common retail prevention methods for businesses relate back to design – and for good reason! An organized storefront without clutter makes it more difficult for thieves to steal as it opens up sightlines, making it more obvious when something goes missing.

If you’re looking to optimize the layout of your business, start by identifying high-risk areas and items. These are usually smaller, easier-to-conceal items. A good rule of thumb is to place high-risk items close to the register or in an area with high visibility. Installing mirrors is another way you can have the upper hand over thieves by exposing hidden areas of your store. This is especially true for convex mirrors, which are designed to cast a wide reflection.

When designing your store layout, you should also consider how customers will move through it – what path do they take? Where do they tend to linger? Do they need more space? Are there any blind spots? Pay attention to these things when designing your store layout so that you can make it easy for customers to see where everything is while also keeping an eye on them without making them feel crowded or rushed when shopping. 

Adopt Security Technology

Installing security equipment like alarms and video surveillance can also help you get a leg up on criminals looking to steal from your establishment and put your bottom line at risk.

You can start simple, with door alarms, or motion sensors. If you want to take things up a notch, consider installing video surveillance equipment. This visual deterrent provides you with the power of seeing what’s going on in your store at all times – even when you’re not there.

Security cameras offer an extra layer of protection against theft and vandalism while also providing you with peace of mind knowing that if something happens, there’s footage of it. 

Install 3M™ Commercial Security Window Films 

To effectively tackle organized retail crime, your business needs to come at it from more than one angle. You can’t just rely on one of the above solutions, because as we’ve established here today, organized retail crime is a complex issue that requires a multi-pronged approach.

And while surveillance and alarm systems may do wonders for deterring forced entry, they do little to create a physical barrier to keep potential intruders outside. No matter how much security a building is believed to have, a determined attacker can easily smash through a standard pane of glass to access the store.

That’s why, 3M™ Commercial Security Window Films should always be a vital part of your business’s loss prevention plans. The robust window films can be installed over any glass surface and serve as a cost-effective deterrent against theft and vandalism, providing a barrier between you, your employees, and potential thieves.

With 3M™Commercial Security Window Films, you can add an additional layer of strength to your windows, which holds the glass together in the event of breakage. In addition to its high level of protection, the state-of-the-art films are also inconspicuous.

Protect your business’s vulnerable entry points with the 3M’s™ Ultra S800. The patented micro-layered laminate provides the maximum tear resistance of any film on the market, the perfect solution for deterring smash-and-grab crime at your retail store. The laminate is used in conjunction with 3M’s Impact Protection Attachment System, which improves the overall performance of the secure window film. By using 3M’s Impact Protection Attachment System to secure Ultra Security Window Films to the window frame, a much stronger system is created. 

Additional Benefits 3M™ Commercial Window Films Provide Your Business 

Minimizing the threat of organized retail crime isn’t the only way 3M™ Commercial Window Films can help your business. In truth, the benefits go far beyond that.

In addition to helping your business curtail organized retail crime, 3M™ Commercial Window Films offer a host of other benefits, including:

Reduced energy costs

When you’re running a business, you want to do everything you can to keep costs low to help your bottom line. One of the easiest ways to do this is by installing window films.

3M™ Window Solar Films can help your business reduce energy costs by up to 40 percent, while also blocking 99 percent of UV rays and 99 percent of infrared heat. This means that your building will be cooler in the summer months and warmer in the winter, providing your business with substantial energy savings.   

Minimized Graffiti 

Graffiti is the scourge of retail stores. It’s unsightly and can make a store look like it’s in disrepair, which can have a negative effect on your brand. But there are some simple solutions that will help you minimize the impact of graffiti on your business.

One way to reduce graffiti is by installing 3M™ Commercial Window Films on your storefront windows. These anti-graffiti films shield surfaces and windows from “tagging”, vandalism, and damage. Designed to make it more difficult for individuals to spray paint or tag your windows, 3M™ Anti-Graffiti Window Films help prevent damage from happening in the first place by protecting surfaces against graffiti before it begins.

With 3M™ Commercial Window Films, you can minimize graffiti on your store windows and keep your brand looking clean and professional.

Reduced glare

Glare is one of the most common problems for retailers. It can make it difficult for customers to see what’s on display, and even more difficult for your employees to perform their jobs effectively. Fortunately, 3M™ Commercial Window Films can help.

Optimally designed to reduce glare, 3M™ Window Solar Films work to reflect light away from the eyes of your customers and employees so they can see clearly and comfortably. The anti-glare films can be applied directly onto the existing glass without altering the appearance of your storefront and unlike blinds, they still allow most of the visible light to shine through.

Increased safety 

Your business should always be considered a safe environment for employees and customers. And 3M™ Commercial Window Films can help ensure this.

When you install 3M™ Commercial Window Films, you will be able to protect customers and employees from the dangers of glass breakage and the hazards of flying shards. Designed to keep a pane of glass intact, even in the event of breakage, the window will not shatter, working to keep your staff and customers safe. 

Minimize the threat of Organized Retail Crime with Convenience Group 

Organized retail crime can affect you, your business, your employees, and your customers in a number of ways. Take steps today to secure your business and minimize the risk of organized retail crime with Canada’s master distributor and authorized dealer of 3M Architectural and Window Films.

For over 40 years, Convenience Group has been providing leading-edge, innovative products, highly experienced consulting, superior design, and expert installation. With solutions including everything from solar window film for sun control to window film for security, privacy, and safety, you can trust CGI to get the job done right. 

Consult one of our experts to learn more about our commercial or residential window film solutions or contact us to arrange a tour of our showroom to discover the many ways you can protect your business from this growing threat.