Retailers have always understood the importance of safeguarding their e-commerce platforms, payment systems, customer service, and reputation.


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Home 5 Resources 5 The Advantage of Business Continuity for Retailers

However, with evolving consumer behaviours, the rise of round-the-clock shopping, and the continuous advancements in online and mobile technologies, data analytics, and business intelligence tools, the need for effective business continuity management has become a paramount concern. It is now essential for retailers to protect their technology investments and maintain a competitive edge. Alongside the need to “keep the lights on.”

Here are some of the key benefits that business continuity brings to retailers like yourself:

Safeguards your valuable data

In the retail industry, data plays a crucial role. It provides valuable insights that drive sales, enhance the customer experience, and optimise various aspects of operations such as inventory management and waste reduction. Any downtime or data loss can have a significant impact on the success and continuity of your business.

As the prevalence of cyber threats continues to grow, investing in disaster recovery services and business continuity has become imperative for retailers. The costs associated with dealing with breaches or outages far outweigh the investment in proactive measures. By implementing strategies like real-time system mirroring and immutable backups, you can ensure the protection of your critical systems. In the event of a disruption, these measures enable quick recovery in a secure and dedicated location, minimising downtime and ensuring the integrity of your data.

Immutable backups provide additional protection against not only traditional risks like equipment failures or environmental issues but also against evolving cyber threats such as ransomware. By storing backups offsite and in an air-gapped environment, they offer an extra layer of security that cannot be tampered with.


Protects your brand reputation

Consumer trust is the holy grail of a retailers success. Consumers buy into a brand rather than individual retail channels, and despite difficult economic times, trusted retail brands have increased their profitability and fostered their marketing position. But what would happen if that trust was breached?

When customers lose trust in a retailer, they start to look elsewhere, which usually leads them to a rival business who has not just suffered a cyber attack.

And it doesn’t stop there, these consumers then go on to tell others about their experience, complain via social media channels and leave negative reviews on platforms such as TrustPilot. It is evident that losing data and trust go hand in hand.

It’s essential that you have an effective data protection strategy in place as well as a disaster recovery plan to mitigate risks. It is also just as important to have a robust crisis communications plan – having a plan in place that outlines proper communications with your customers leads to increased transparency and trust.


Safeguards your supply chain

Inevitably, disruptions will arise—it’s not a matter of if, but when. Establishing documented contingency plans to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of your products and services during these disruptions is crucial for the ongoing prosperity of your business, especially during critical retail periods such as Black Friday, Christmas, or the summer season. Any disruption occurring during these peak trading periods could have catastrophic consequences.

Effectively managing supply chain risks is a fundamental aspect for retailers and can not only safeguard your operations when issues arise but also give you a competitive advantage over rivals who may not be as well-prepared. By proactively addressing potential disruptions and implementing strategies to mitigate their impact, you can demonstrate resilience and reliability to customers, setting yourself apart in the marketplace.


Mitigate financial risks

According to recent data from IBM, in 2022, the average time to identify and contain a data breach in the retail sector was 287 days. The longer it took to detect and resolve the breach, the higher the associated costs. In terms of financial impact, the average cost of a data breach for retailers was £2.68 million in 2022, a significant increase from £1.64 million in 2020.

Furthermore, the study highlights the importance of having robust business continuity plans in place. Organisations that had effective business continuity planning and tested disaster recovery plans experienced an average total cost of a data breach that was £2.01 million lower than those without such preparations. This demonstrates the clear correlation between prioritising business continuity planning and reducing financial risks associated with data breaches.

These statistics underscore the need for retailers to invest in comprehensive security measures and prioritise business continuity planning to safeguard their operations, protect customer data, and mitigate the potential financial consequences of a data breach.


What should I do next?

Wondering what your next steps should be? The concept of business continuity management (BCM) has gained even more significance in recent years, prompting retailers of all sizes to re-evaluate its importance. The consequences of not having a BCM plan in place can be severe and debilitating. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by competing demands from various departments, management, and IT, resulting in confusion, delays, and potential damage to reputation.

If BCM is a top priority for you but you are unsure where to begin, we recommend checking out our advisory article 5 top tips for successful business continuity planning”.

The next crucial decision revolves around whether to handle BCM internally or outsource it to a specialised third party. Both options have their pros and cons. To gain a deeper understanding of this topic, you can read more on that in our insightful article – Business Continuity Management (BCM) – are you going out or staying in?”

We hope these resources prove helpful to you. However, it’s worth noting that we are also the industry leader for business continuity and operational resilience in the UK. Whether you choose to outsource BCM or manage it in-house, we offer award-winning services and support to assist you along the way.

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