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Effective crowd management: A holiday checklist for retailers

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Crowd control is top of mind for retail loss prevention and security associates every day of the year. But the excitement among shoppers during Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend present new challenges for crowd management. NRF’s latest survey finds as many as 140 million Americans will shop over the holiday weekend – 97 million on Black Friday alone – catapulting it as the busiest shopping weekend once again. It’s a time of year when retailers’ advanced planning and security protocols to protect stores, customers and employees are paramount.

This is why NRF releases it’s Effective Crowd Management Guidelines each year. While each situation is unique and difficult to anticipate, the guidelines serve as a roadmap to prepare for the expected and unexpected.

The guidelines dive into the details, but here are a few high-level recommendations to keep in mind for Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend:

  • Remind and retrain all employees about your store’s emergency plan to addresses potential risks facing workers and customers.
  • Dedicate a knowledgeable employee to communicate and manage crowds from arrival to departure.
  • Establish clear protocols for conflict resolution. Giving employees the authority and tools to calm frustrated shoppers is of utmost importance, especially if the need to diffuse a situation presents itself.
  • Be prepared to allocate resources in real time.

Each situation brings a different set of circumstances for retailers and management officials. But the teams who have an action plan in place are the most prepared to minimize potential issues and create a positive shopping experience for everyone – during the upcoming holiday weekend and beyond.


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