Sales are likely at the forefront of any retailer’s mind. But your business also faces unique risks daily, and precautions need to be taken. That’s where a retail risk management plan comes in. After all, a costly liability lawsuit, cybersecurity breach, or robbery could really put a damper on your day-to-day operations.
Here are three of the key risks that retailers should be aware of, and some tips on how to mitigate them.
No one thinks it will ever happen to them. After all, theft is something reserved for heist movies and TV shows, right? Wrong.
Theft is still a common issue for retailers in Canada. In fact, organized retail crime costs Canadians $5 billion a year, according to statistics from Toronto Police Services. These losses and the need for increased security to prevent further theft results in high prices on goods. On top of that, money raised from the sale of stolen items funds other criminal activities, like purchasing weapons or drugs.
A lot of the merchandise that is stolen may not be what you’d expect. Items like electronics or jewelry are classic targets, but not the only focus. Instead, some criminals are targeting things like baby formula, over-the-counter medications, and health and beauty items.
Thankfully, some simple retail risk management tips can help you prevent theft in your store. Reviewing your store’s layout and making necessary adjustments is a good idea. That way, you can make sure that there’s enough lighting and the expensive items are located near the checkout where an employee can keep an eye on them. Keeping electronic tags on all merchandise is also helpful, as these can detect non-purchased items that exit your front door. And don’t forget to use security cameras wherever you can to keep an eye on every nook and cranny of your store.
Slips, trips, and falls
People tend to worry more about slips, trips, and falls in the winter months. This is because snow and cold weather bring ice and slippery floors, as boots track water in from outside. But a customer could injure themselves on your premises at any time of the year, which is why it’s important to be vigilant year-round.
For situations involving third-party bodily harm, commercial general liability insurance is always a good idea. But there are also some retail risk management practices you can implement to improve your chances of eliminating slips, trips, and falls entirely.
Mind the moisture
Non-slip tile and skid-resistant mats should be placed in water-prone areas (such as the front entrance). Employees should regularly check these areas and clean up any pooled water as quickly as possible, while also being sure to leave “wet floor” signs in place when needed.
If your store has a parking lot, it should be checked regularly, and salt and shoveling should be used to clear paths for customers. Downspouts that drain water onto parking lots or walkways should also be redirected, as these can cause ice to build up during the winter.
Bright and tidy
No matter the time of the year, paths where customers may be walking should be clear of clutter and adequately lit. Merchandise should be kept at a height to accommodate an average person and displayed in such a way that it’s not likely to be knocked over, broken, or spilled.
Write it down
It’s especially important that all maintenance activities be documented in a logbook. This ensures that if a claim is brought forward, you have a track record of all the precautions you’ve taken to prevent injuries. It also serves to help employees behave as procedure dictates.
And if all else fails, having a response plan in place is key. Accident report forms should be available on site and completed if someone is injured. The claimant should fill one out, along with any available witnesses who can detail what happened. Photos should also be taken of the location of the fall and of the footwear the claimant was wearing that day.
Times are changing. And with the introduction of new technologies come more risks to worry about. In fact, according to CDW Canada’s “2023 Canadian Cybersecurity Study”, cybersecurity breaches have more than doubled for Canadian businesses in the past year.
That’s why it’s important to take preventative measures. First and foremost, passwords should be unique and updated on a regular basis. It’s also important to think before you click: emails from unknown or sketchy sources should be verified before they’re opened, and terms and conditions should be read when installing or downloading things like software.
On top of that, you should update your software often and install anti-virus software on your computers. If all else fails, it’s important to have your data backed up. Whether you use cloud sharing or an external hard drive (or maybe even both), having important files and documents in a second location is key for a quick response and recovery if you become the target of cybercrime.
Protect yourself with insurance
Taking precautions with a retail risk management plan is always a good first step, but sometimes it isn’t enough. Despite your best efforts, things can go wrong and it’s important to be prepared for that, too. That’s where insurance comes in.
When you find yourself in the worst-case scenario, you don’t want to be left covering all the costs yourself. To ensure that you can operate your business worry-free, Federated offers insurance specifically designed for wholesalers and retailers – visit our wholesalers and retailers insurance page today!
This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.