Holiday season risks for retail businesses

Holiday season risks for retail businesses

Is your retail business ready for the silly season? We’ve put together a guide on some of the risks shop and restaurant owners should brace themselves for over the festive season. Work through it, make the necessary preparations and speak to your broker if you have any concerns about your insurance cover.

1. Equipment breakdowns

Your machinery is taking extra strain over the holiday period as you produce more orders and serve more customers than usual. The last thing you want is a broken oven, printer or refrigerator during the busy holiday season.

What you can do: If there is time, have your vital machines serviced in advance to avoid breakdowns and be sure to get insurance that includes machinery breakdown cover. Have your plan B in place – think about where you’ll move stock in case of an emergency, or rent a back-up machine to help you cope with orders.

2. Crunch time leading to accidents

The festive season means crazy deadlines, long hours and everyone falling over their feet to get everything done in time. Research shows that there is often a rise in workplace accidents as people rush to meet deadlines. 

What you can do: Remind your staff not to cut corners and to stick to your safety protocols. If you have temporary staff, make the time for a proper induction and get them up to speed with your business processes to avoid injury. Sometimes, everyone just needs to take a deep breath and remember that the cost of a workplace accident is far greater than missing a deadline. Should you have a real disaster on your hands – e.g. a fire that means you have to close your doors during peak season– business interruption cover will help you protect your profit.

3. Bad weather

South African weather is quite unpredictable these days so keep an eye on the news, social media channels (such as @SantamInsurance on Twitter) and weather forecasts on apps such as, or Learn to read the signs – if it’s extremely windy, you might see more runaway fires. Heavy storms may lead to slippery roads and hail or flooding may mean you need to close your doors. Try to plan your orders and deliveries accordingly so that you don’t let your customers down at the last minute.

What you can do: Hailstones can cause terrible havoc so read our article for tips to share with your drivers and staff.

4. Fraud

When things are rushed, guards are down and your employees may easily fall victim to phishing techniques – for example, someone requesting your business bank login details over the phone. Keep a very close eye on your credit card during this period to spot fraudulent transactions the moment they happen.

What you can do: Take a look at our article on avoiding cyber crime and fraud for practical advice on being more security savvy.

Speak to your broker to check if you have adequate cover in place or use Santam’s interactive tool, which helps to highlight the different types of risk your business could potentially face, and the solutions we offer.

If your start-up is currently not insured, take a look at our focused small business insurance. Cover for retail businesses start at R332/month

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