How to weatherproof your shop

Safety and insurance

8 November 2016

As we head into winter, the likelihood of big storms and big freezes increases. As well as updating your stock and putting out new points of sales to advertise your seasonal products, it's also important to think about protecting your investment.

These steps should keep your business dry and secure – and profitable – until spring.

Store unsold stock carefully

A well-organised stockroom is an absolute joy. Maximise your space by using high shelving, and try to keep cardboard boxes off the floor. Vacuum pack any fabric products to reduce the amount of space they need and to protect them from water damage in case of leaks. It's wise to keep your stockroom as empty as feasible so that you're able to move boxes quickly in case of emergencies. If your stockroom is cluttered, get rid of some stock by offering discounts, donating it or simply discarding it.

Keep your shop dry

Put an umbrella stand by the front door so that customers can drop off their brolly instead of carrying it around, which could damage your stock with the wet fabric. Hard-wood, tiled and linoleum floors can get muddy, slippery and hazardous during wet weather. Put a welcome mat at the front door to encourage customers to wipe their feet before entering. Put up a wet-floor sign when necessary and always be ready to mop up muddy footprints.

Seasonalise your stock

People buy things based on the weather, to the tune of 4.5% of total retail sales. It's a small percentage, but one worth harnessing as it represents a significant amount of revenue. You could keep some umbrellas in stock and wheel them out to the front of your store on rainy days. If you already sell cold food and drinks, consider adding seasonal hot beverages to your menu too.

Make sure your insurance is up to date

The unpredictable British weather doesn't just have an impact on footfall, it can also cause physical damage to your shop. Leaky roofs, flooding and burst pipes are just some of the problems that can happen during winter.

If you have a retail insurance policy already, double-check the small print to make sure you have enough cover to protect your stock.