You know it’s the holiday shopping season when K-Mart and Sears announce their hours for Black Friday. This year the retail giants are taking things to whole new level by announcing overnight hours from Thanksgiving into Black Friday. News like this might have you worried about the allure these chains may have on the customers you rely on to visit your storefront – but don’t fret. While these announcements may stir the passions of some consumers, they only serve to remind others how important it is to shop local during the holidays.
One question remains: what risks do you face this season? Crowded shops can be great for business, but they also provide prime conditions for the kind of accident that can ruin anyone’s holiday cheer. Here are three risks retail stores commonly face, and how to protect against them.
Risk #1: Theft
With 14 arrested last month in retail theft stings in Charlotte County, FL, small-business owners have a reminder of how important it is to protect their inventory and supplies from burglaries both large and small. The story linked above describes busts instigated by police authorities keeping a close eye on Wal-Mart and Target stores in the Port Charlotte, FL, area, which raises the question: if thieves can’t hit the big chains, where will they go to next?
Unlike the retail giants, your store doesn’t have bottomless resources to devote to preventing holiday heists and other risks. So if an employee forgets to lock up before leaving, or leaves the door wide open on their way out, you’ll need the proper insurance in place to make sure your bottom line won’t be harmed.
That’s why Property Insurance is at the top of every retail business’s risk management plan. With Property Insurance, you’re protected from these risks and more – like limiting the amount of time your business is down, should you be unlucky enough to encounter the situations discussed here.
Risk #2: Overworked Employees
During the holiday rush, it’s important to be aware of the injuries your employees may face – especially those that could put them out of commission for the busiest part of the season.
Consider this accident that happened in Manhattan this month, reported by the New York Post: two workers hanging holiday decorations across a Manhattan street were seriously injured when a tractor-trailer hit the vehicle they were standing on to hang the ornaments. Both men ended up in the hospital.
At present, reports note that the driver of the trailer will not face criminal charges, but regardless of liability, both workers could be out of commission for months or longer.
Even if your employees aren’t stringing lights on busy Manhattan roadways, there are plenty of holiday-season injuries that could take them down just when you need them most. These include…
- Slips, trips, and falls. While it may seem unlikely that your employees may be struck by a runaway UPS truck while putting up lights for your retail store, situations like this happen more often than you’d expect. An especially common injury involves them tripping over clutter in the store, or falling from a ladder trying to retrieve to hard-to-reach stock.
- Sudden accidents. Sometimes the most costly workplace injuries are those you can’t predict – like the one mentioned above. Other potential accidents your workers may face involves lacerations, head injuries from falling items, and trampling from over-eager crowds.
- Repetitive motion. Keeping the stock room organized and full is a difficult task when customers are coming in, trying things on, fiddling with things, and then leaving the mess for your staff to clean up. Like Sisyphus pushing that rock up the hill, your employees will have a lot of stress on their body. Repetitive motion injuries may be the unfortunate result.
That’s why you should make sure your Workers’ Compensation Insurance policy is up to date. And if you don’t have any Workers’ Compensation in place at all, get in touch with one of our certified reps right away – it’s absolutely essential for you to carry and is likely a legal requirement by your state.
Risk #3: Intense Customers
Customers are you lifeblood, but that doesn’t mean you have to love their bullheadedness and intensity. When you open your doors on Black Friday (or if you go K-Mart’s route and never close them) be aware that some people take materialism to a whole new level. In years past, Black Friday sales have triggered trampling deaths, gun fights, and seroius property damage. If a customer in your store is injured while clamoring over memory cards, for instance, you could end up facing a serious liability lawsuit.
It doesn’t even have to be an extreme case of customer intensity. If a customer is injured by simply slipping on a slick floor, it could mean taking on potentially devastating legal expenses. Luckily, your standard General Liability Insurance policy almost certainly covers you for lawsuits over customer injuries.
With all the excitement at this time of year, it’s entirely possible that something unexpected could go wrong and expose you to expenses you didn’t plan for. Don’t let your retail business take a hit because of lawsuits that are protected by basic insurance packages!