Thanksgiving – it’s the start of the holiday season and serves as a time to be thankful for all we have before waiting in line at 3:00 in the morning on Black Friday to find deals on retail merchandise. Some folks are hunting for great deals, others just enjoy the atmosphere and still others enjoy staying away from the crowds. Enter Cyber Monday, which has risen in popularity over the years (not surprisingly as online merchandising takes a stronger position in the market overall) and accounted for $3.07 billion last year. Add Small Business Saturday to Black Friday and Cyber Monday and the few days after Thanksgiving account for roughly $30 billion in sales (Black Friday & Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday).
This much money being transferred, along with this amount of frenzied activity in a short span of time almost certainly leads to theft, accidents and injuries which is why we wanted to pass along some information and ideas to make this Thanksgiving weekend a productive and successful one.
So you decided to brave the crowds and search out the great door busters deal? You’re not alone and we’re willing to bet the parking lot is full. Depending on the hour (or levels of caffeine), you’re likely to find some drowsy or distracted shoppers behind the wheel of some cars in those parking lots. Is it any wonder then that car insurance claims jump by nearly 40% on Black Friday?
You’ve safely parked and are in line before the store opens. As soon as it does, there’s a mad-dash for that limited supply, have-to-have item on little Johnny’s Christmas list. In the process, people are pushed and shoved or trampled. Who doesn’t remember the Wal-Mart employee that was killed in 2008 after being trampled when the doors opened on Black Friday? Fortunately, stores have taken notice and remained opened all night, opened earlier or even started their Black Friday sales days earlier in an effort to prevent this type of incident. Unfortunately injuries still come with the territory. In 2014 a Kansas woman filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart over injuries suffered in a Black Friday sale from the previous year. While preventative measures have been taken into account, accidents still happen so as a customer you need to be cognizant of the potential dangers and as a business owner you need to be aware of the liabilities.
The store was a zoo, but you made it through unscathed and are on your way back to the car. If you’re carrying more than you can handle then you’re a juicy target for thieves and pickpockets. Assuming you get all of your possessions to your car safely, it would be wise to store them in the trunk so if you continue shopping, they aren’t visible while the car sits in the parking lot.
For more Black Friday Safety tips, check out this SafeCo blog. Business owners are encouraged to check out Travelers’ resource guide about preparing your business for the holidays.
Small Business Saturday
A lot of the aforementioned information applies to shopping the brick and mortar stores on Small Business Saturday (SBS) as well, so take the proper steps to ensure your safety and the security of your possessions.
A few other considerations with SBS have to do with the changing trends in cyber security. As stated above, $16.2 billion was spent in 2015 on SBS. In that number are over 95 million consumers which mark an increase of 8% in customers and 14% in sales over the previous year. Trends are also growing in the number of cyber attacks on small businesses. According to a smallbiztrends.com article on cyber crime, “New data from Symantec’s 2016 Internet Security Threat Report shows that small businesses have become a big target for phishers. Last year, phishing campaigns targeted small businesses (PDF) 43 percent of the time. That’s up 9 percent over 2014 and a stark contrast to the mere 18 percent of attacks that focused on small businesses in 2011.”
What’s more, according to smallbusiness.com, “Most small businesses have no cyber attack response plan” with nearly two thirds of the 500 small business owners surveyed admitting to being victims to a cyber attack in the past. It’s a troubling trend that consumers and business owners should be aware of.
Property Casualty 360 has a list of 10 ways small businesses can fight cyber crime on its website. Additionally, small business owners are encouraged to speak with an independent insurance agent to learn what options are available for protection from a cyber attack.
If cyber threats are a growing trend for small businesses, just imagine how it is for online retailers that take the spotlight on Cyber Monday? There are literally billions of people using the internet (have you seen internetlivestats.com?) and the opportunities for hackers are vast.
Computerworld.com recently released an article listing the most and least secure online retailers, specific vulnerabilities on WordPress platforms and potential scams. We expect more out of you, Amazon.
Fortunately, we have a few websites that provide tips to make sure your Cyber Monday experience is a positive one. Techperspective.net offers its 8 Best Practices for Cyber Security on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The Malwarebytes.com blog has a similar list with its 10 Tips to Avoid Black Friday and Cyber Monday Scams. Lastly, pcworld.com encourages you not to let scammers turn Black Friday and Cyber Monday into Regretful Tuesday.
For anyone planning to do some shopping this weekend, we sincerely hope you have a great time doing so. We would be remiss if we did not encourage you to consider the potential road blocks and hurdles that can prevent you from having a good experience. As always, if you have any questions or if you own a business and are interested in learning what options you have to protect yourself and your customers, we’re always happy to help. Email us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 636.391.0700 to speak with an agent.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!