Jewellery retailers have had a lot to think about as they have begun to reopen stores across the United Kingdom – with security being just as important as health and safety protocols.
Ahead of England reopening last week, Professional Jeweller in partnership with Warrior Doors, to virtually gather industry leaders and discuss the impact the pandemic might have on crime.
While an increase in unemployment and a hike in the price of gold could spell trouble for luxury retailers, one of the major concerns is remaining vigilant when customers are able to cover their faces with masks.
“One of our big concerns is if people start wearing face masks it will be more difficult to identify them if they run off with a piece of stock,” shares the Watches of Switzerland Group executive director for the UK, Craig Bolton. The sales manager for Leonard Dews, Attila Sereny, adds: “It will increase the risk of snatches because people will have an opportunity to cover their faces, so there’ll be a bit of a challenge, especially with skeleton staff. We will need to make sure that everyone’s vigilant.”
Discussing this threat, the jewellers agreed that asking customers to book appointments beforehand was a good way to manage people coming in and out of the store and ensuring that although less staff are in than normal, more eyes can be looking out for potential threats.
Warrior Doors managing director, Brett Barratt, helpfully suggests: “When people book an appointment with you, that would be a great time to say, ‘If you don’t mind when you come to the shop could we just ask you to remove your mask so that we can see your face – we will keep our distance and then you are more than welcome to put it back on afterwards if you want to’.
All jewellers present in the roundtable discussion agreed they will be asking customers with masks to take them off for a moment so they can capture faces.
“We have trained our people to ask customers who wish to come into store with a mask on to remove it just for a couple of seconds so we can get a good picture of them and then they can put it back on. We just want to make sure that our cameras can pick up their face,” shares Bolton.
He adds: “We’ve also gone through the general security rules again with our people who have been out of stores for nearly 12 weeks – you know these things just get forgotten about or people get a bit lax, or if there’s less people in the stores they might think there’s less risk but there might actually be more.”
Retail director for Laings, Stuart McDowell, echoes: “One of the reasons of us going to appointments was so we could almost vet people before they get into the store at the beginning.”
Jewellers also plan to have ‘greeters’ at the door who will be the first point of contact for customers.
As Barratt shares: “Speaking clearly with people is going to be important. I’ve noticed as people have been coming and bringing deliveries sometimes they come to close and you have to find a nice way to tell them to keep their distance. But when you’ve got to engage in close quarters, so showing someone a ring or a watch or something to try on, it’s much more difficult isn’t it? Therefore clarity of speaking will be key.”
Find out more about security post-lockdown in the July issue of Professional Jeweller.
Warrior Doors offers jewellers bespoke security solutions, with the Birmingham-based firm working closely with the trade to make sure the luxury environment is now compromised when safety measures are put in.
Read about Warrior Doors’ popular contactless security solutions below: