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7 Tips to Avoid Losing Money Due to Downtime in Retail Stores

Do you think downtime isn't a big issue? Think again. A survey conducted by Uptime Institute with companies from around the world found that over 33% of businesses indicated that just one hour of downtime can cost them between 1 and 5 million euros. That's why in this article, we'll discuss some tips to reduce downtime in retail stores.

Downtime remains very real and potentially costly; leaders must consider and plan for the resilience and recovery of a broader, more extensive, and diverse infrastructure than ever before.

IT preventive maintenance

Downtime can result in loss of profits, productivity, sales, and customer goodwill. A study by ITIC showed that 86% of businesses stated that the cost of one hour of downtime was €300,000 or €5,000 per minute

The more your business depends on uptime, such as in the retail world, the more negatively it will be impacted by downtime. Obviously, it's not the kind of money anyone wants to see go down the drain.

What is downtime in retail stores?

Downtime in retail stores is a period during which the business involuntarily ceases to offer its services to customers due to malfunctioning infrastructure, equipment, or technological resources, resulting in at least a 5% loss of productivity.

Downtime incurs high costs for retail stores, as mentioned earlier; it can represent a few hundred euros per hour of downtime. Downtime in retail stores can be caused by various events such as:

  • Equipment malfunction

  • Internet network outage

  • Power failure

  • Crisis or disaster situations

  • Workload bottlenecks

7 Tips to Avoid Losing Money Due to Downtime in Retail Stores

Whether downtime is caused by a power outage, a cybersecurity breach, hardware failure, or a natural disaster, every minute of downtime can be very costly. Follow these tips to reduce downtime in retail stores:

1. Create a recovery plan

The best way to ensure quick recovery is to plan. Once you've created your contingency plan, test it regularly. Make sure it will work when you need it. That's a significant first step in keeping downtime to a minimum and your productivity at its peak.

Contingency plan

2. Keep everything up to date

Updates for operating systems, hardware, and applications are often released to address new security threats and patch existing vulnerabilities. Make sure that devices (both personal and business) accessing your organization's network have the latest updates.

Your IT team should also prioritize preventive maintenance, with scheduled updates limited outside of business hours, and notify all affected parties well in advance.

Obsolete hardware and software are two other potential points of failure that need to be addressed. Don't wait to upgrade if you're unsure about the reliability of your infrastructure components.

3. Educate your workforce

Cyberattacks like ransomware can be a nightmare. Sophisticated social engineering attacks and phishing allow bad actors to infiltrate your network simply by clicking on a malicious link or downloading an infected PDF by an employee.

The result is painful downtime. So, train your people to be cautious with every email they receive. Install the best possible cyber protection and email filters.

People training

And make sure to have an effective reporting mechanism so an employee can quickly notify IT if there's a threat.

4. Install a backup power system

Whether due to natural disasters or localized power grid failures, your business can suddenly come to a halt when the power goes out.

While an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) can help in the short term, investing in a backup generator system may well be worth it when the power goes out, even for a brief period.

Test your backup power system so you can be confident that lights and other essential equipment for completing a sale will come back on immediately in the event of a blackout.

5 Create a Plan B for Customer Access and Exit

The failure of shutters or automatic doors may be more common than you think. Ensure you install alternative access systems or, failing that, manual opening methods, while also performing proper preventive maintenance to ensure functionality in the event of such situations. Test your equipment and infrastructure regularly to ensure that your equipment, servers, hardware, and software are functioning properly.

Testing should also include your backup power system, if you choose to acquire one, to ensure that lights will come back on immediately in the event of a blackout.

6. Schedule Maintenance Periodically

Make preventive maintenance a corporate culture in your retail store. Take note of your equipment's conditions, the last time it underwent maintenance, the parts that were replaced, and any signs of damage, to facilitate maintenance that will save you valuable downtime.

Schedule Maintenance Periodically

7. Don't Forget to Backup

You don't want to imagine the chaos that ensues if the software you use to manage processes in your retail store is accidentally erased, which is why it's advisable to make a backup. You can schedule it regularly to avoid the loss of valuable information.

If you don't have a backup, you may have to recreate the software and delay the sales process by a few weeks, losing credibility in your business.

Retail companies that suffer downtime are subject not only to potential profit loss but also to loss of sales and productivity. System downtime can also lead to loss of customer satisfaction and erosion of trust.

Customer dissatisfaction leads to complaints and word-of-mouth that can create a bad reputation and may lead to permanent loss of business.

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