Skip to main content

Staying Ahead of the Curve: Trends and Innovations in Retail Storefront Security

By February 21, 2024Building Security, Retail
Retail display with four mannequins in a storefront window

In the fast-paced world of retail, staying ahead of the curve means more than just keeping up with the latest consumer trends or customer expectations. It also means being proactive in safeguarding your physical space against security threats. Physical security is key to protecting your building, your inventory, and—most importantly—your staff members and customers. 

Let’s explore some top security challenges retailers face today and some innovative solutions for boosting retail security.

Security Challenges for Retailers

Discussions of security today often focus on cybersecurity, but cybersecurity isn’t enough for retailers—physical security remains a pressing issue. Store owners face a few major threats in this area, each of which should inform a strategic approach to retail security.

FREE DOWNLOAD Storefront Security and Emergency Response Report Download Now!


Theft has been—and will likely always be—a significant concern for retailers. The average shrink rate increased to 1.6 percent in FY 2022, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Stolen inventory eats directly into a company’s profits and can also make it more difficult to accurately track inventory.

Thefts can take many forms, from small-scale shoplifting to dramatic smash-and-grabs, where criminals shatter store windows to quickly gather inventory before making a quick escape. In addition to store windows, some criminals target display cases in a store, breaking glass or dismantling the case to steal valuable items inside. For example, Ulta Beauty recently experienced this type of theft across multiple stores, resulting in about half a million dollars in damages and stolen merchandise.

Vandalism and Property Damage

In addition to isolated incidents of theft, widespread acts of vandalism can pose a significant threat to retailers—especially during times of civil unrest or protests. During the last election year, retailers across the country boarded up windows in anticipation of and response to violence and looting. This year, retailers are bracing themselves for the possibility of similar challenges.

Even apart from political unrest, retail buildings can still fall victim to random acts of vandalism. Everything from graffiti to defaced signage can negatively impact your brand image, and more serious forms of vandalism, such as broken windows, can compromise your store’s safety. 

Violent Incidents

Sometimes, it isn’t just property that’s under threat but also people inside your store. Retail locations can be vulnerable to violent incidents, including armed robberies or assaults. According to the NRF’s 2023 Retail Security Survey, 88 percent of retailers agree that shoplifters are more aggressive and violent than they were just a year ago.

This issue can also hurt retailers’ employee recruitment and retention efforts since some prospective employees will shy away from what they perceive as a potentially unsafe working environment. 

Innovations in Physical Retail Security

So far, we’ve focused on the negative, but the good news is that there are ways to protect your store and the people inside. Let’s look at a few modern solutions for retailers who want to proactively address security challenges. 

Smart Alarms and Sensors

The Internet of Things (IoT) makes it possible to turn your physical retail space into a digitally connected network. IoT security devices and sensors can help you monitor various aspects of your retail space, such as doors, windows, and display cases. You can also take advantage of smart alarms to send real-time alerts to security personnel or law enforcement in case of a breach.

Video Analytics and Surveillance Systems

Video surveillance systems have been around for a long time, but the most current systems offer features such as high-definition cameras and 360-degree surveillance for better coverage and image quality. Plus, advanced video analytics systems that use artificial intelligence can detect unusual behavior, track movement, and identify potential threats. 

These systems can even recognize known shoplifters so you can closely monitor their behavior. This smart detection technology can be a major step forward in loss prevention for many since repeat offenders (including employees) account for a large percentage of retail thefts. For example, of the many retail theft arrests in New York City in 2022, nearly a third of them were attributed to repeat offenders.

Window Film and Glazing Solutions

Not all cutting-edge retail security solutions are tech-related. In fact, one of the most effective ways you can shore up your building envelope is with window film and glazing solutions. These solutions can delay or even prevent a criminal from gaining access through otherwise vulnerable glass storefronts. 

Some valuable products to consider are:

  • Safety and Security Window Film: 3M Scotchshield™ Safety & Security Window Film Ultra Prestige Series is engineered to keep broken glass in place to deter criminals and protect store occupants. Plus, this film rejects up to 97 percent of infrared light for enhanced comfort and energy efficiency.
  • Anti-Intrusion Window Film: TRI-SHIELD™ is an anti-intrusion window film designed specifically for deterring burglaries and smash-and-grabs. In most cases, it can completely prevent a criminal from gaining entry through your store’s windows.
  • Riot Glass: Retail locations that experience a high incidence of crime may want to consider Riot Glass™, a frame and clear protective shield that provides permanent protection for your windows. We’ve seen a 100 percent success rate with this product in stopping rioters from smashing through windows with everything from crowbars to pickaxes.

Enhancing Retail Storefront Security 

Retailers are facing some serious security challenges, but they also have innovative solutions at their disposal that can help protect their assets and keep their customers and employees safe. Ready to take your store’s security to the next level? You can learn more about this critical topic in our on demand webinar Protect People and Property with 3M Safety and Security Window Film

Protect People and Property with Safety and Security Window Film
Hosted by James Beale
Learn how 3M Safety and Security Window Film can help you increase building security, reduce loss from theft and property damage, protect and mitigate damage from human impact, glass breakage, intrusion, blast mitigation, seismic activity, windstorm, and graffiti.

Powered by

Powered by

Can’t get enough?

Sign up to get the latest news on window film,
graphics, and signage delivered to your inbox every month!