The Crunch: Retailers and mall owners face rapidly evolving threats to their businesses from natural disasters and shoplifters to the rise of e-commerce. That’s why a number of industry-leading providers merged resources to create Allied Universal, a security company that combines decades of experience with a wide variety of innovative solutions. Today, Allied Universal protects people and property in over 1,000 malls, where it has designed customized operations for each client, focusing on everything from threat deterrence to attracting destination-oriented shoppers.
With the rise of e-commerce, shopping malls and retailers are feeling the pressure to attract consumers. Another expectation retailers must meet is that of ensuring that those customers — and their own operations — are secure.
Mall security has evolved over the years to include protection from more than just shoplifters, and one company has solidified its standing in the industry by bringing together the most accomplished entities under one name. Allied Universal is the result of security innovators, industry leaders, and professionals with decades of experience teaming up to combine their strengths.
Between 2013 and 2016, a number of dominant providers in the security vertical merged, while acquiring other impactful companies in the space — including IPC International and Valor Security Services. Allied Universal quickly became the gold standard in shopping mall security by unifying these businesses’ mall-specific operational best practices, systems, and personnel. Today, the company protects people and property in more than 1,000 malls throughout the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
The value of Allied Universal’s services became apparent in 2017, a year when fires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters caused over $300 billion worth of damage. “News of threats and notable incidents tends to travel quickly among our clients and prospective clients. While 2017 was a difficult year, we proved the effectiveness of our response capabilities before, during, and after emergencies. The industry definitely took notice,” said Scott Born, the Senior Vice President of Allied Universal’s Retail Division.
Allied Universal also proved its mettle in 2017 by implementing a variety of incredibly effective security procedures for new and emerging threats to keep retailers and malls one step ahead of security and safety issues.
“There’s a steep learning curve for any security provider,” said Scott. “Hundreds of security companies exist, but retailers and mall owners recognize that we have a vast amount of experience. That really sets us apart from the competition.”
Neutralizing New Threats Through Innovative Security Solutions
In a rapidly changing world, security threats continue to evolve, and surprising challenges are just around the corner. That’s why Allied Universal offers such a diverse — and flexible — range of services.
“Even security industry professionals are surprised by the range of solutions we provide,” said Scott. “We have to be phenomenal in patrol operations, technology, special programs, customer service, public relations, tenant outreach, emergency preparedness, response, and more.”
One of the company’s key services is technology. Allied Universal’s solutions include web-based incident management systems, on-site CCTV/video patrol capabilities, remote video monitoring, dispatch functionality, intelligence gathering, mobile patrol devices, and GPS-based patrol monitoring. These give retailers and malls complete control and visibility of their entire operation.
While technology helps Allied Universal monitor for and detect incidents, the company also helps businesses deter threats and plan next steps. Allied Universal offers extensive emergency response planning and deterrence systems, including K9 services, CCTV-related products, web-based data gathering applications, and outreach programs for the mall community.
In addition, the US Department of Homeland Security has given Allied Universal its Safety Act designation for retail and shopping mall-specific services — this distinguished designation recognizes the company’s expertise in qualified anti-terrorism technology and provides liability protection for its retail clients in the event of a terrorist incident. Allied Universal has recognized experts who provide both qualified anti-terrorism technology and liability protection for clients in the event of a terrorist incident.
Along with innovative technologies, readiness plans, and anti-terrorism capabilities, Allied Universal is recognized for providing a superior service experience. Clients have come to trust their strong and healthy partnerships with the company’s on-site personnel and portfolio managers.
“We’re dedicated to enhancing our work on all levels, whether we’re upgrading our security performance techniques, refining our training, or improving our results-oriented management, we do everything we can to make sure our clients stay satisfied,” said Scott.
Allied Universal Helps Clients Capitalize on Destination-Oriented Industry Trends
Shopping center owners are aware of changing retail trends. In particular, e-commerce is a hugely disruptive force in the industry. While e-commerce currently accounts for nearly 10% of US retail sales, that figure is growing annually by close to 15%.
If retailers don’t meet this challenge head-on, the results could be disastrous, as evidenced by the fact that nine US retail chains filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2017.
That’s why so many malls are building new, immersive, and exciting customer experiences. Allied Universal helps support these innovative initiatives through its services and solutions.
When retailers and mall owners emphasize entertainment, dining, and special features aimed at creating dynamic customer experiences, their security needs change. Allied Universal delivers programs that are attuned to the community of shoppers and tenants who make each mall a unique destination.
“Our clients depend on us as an integral part of a strategy to enhance the customer experience. Changes in shopping options — and how people shop — make this imperative,” Scott said. “The public commonly associates shopping mall security with protection, but a primary aspect of our mission is to deliver programs and services to enhance the appeal of each mall to the community of shoppers.”
The company stands ready to develop extensive programs to enhance its public-facing services and complement its clients’ evolving strategic goals.
Combining Decades of Experience with Customizable Services
Every mall is different, with unique clienteles and characters, which is why a one-size-fits-all security solution will fail when applied to wildly different contexts. Allied Universal uses its management portfolio and operational and support teams to create customized mall-specific security. The company does much more than station guards at entrances — it researches a client’s individual needs and creates solutions that match its unique challenges.
Operational leadership interviews every client and performs property-specific threat assessments for each facility. As situations change, strategies evolve to anticipate new developments.
“We’ve created dozens of special programs that we deliver in appropriate combinations, customized to client needs and the security situation at each shopping mall,” said Scott. “We also play a vital role in maintaining up-to-date situational awareness through personalized security patrol, incident response, computer-based reporting, and statistical analysis.”
Ultimately, every mall needs a security solution that fits its needs. Allied Universal anticipates those needs, innovates whenever possible, and responds to each site’s unique challenges.
“We don’t just have clients. We have partners. That’s true value and a rarity among security services,” said Scott.