Editor’s Note: Everyone Needs a Backup Plan

Overall, we were blessed here in Connecticut. Superstorm Sandy pounded us on Oct. 29, and is was considered by many to be the worst storm that ever hit us. But as bad as damage was here – Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the cost of damage done here is an estimated $360 million and climbing – it was nothing compared to our neighbors to the south.

Eighteen days after Sandy hit the east coast like a wrecking ball, parts of Brooklyn and Queens – and most of Staten Island – were still without power. The same story was true for many cities in New Jersey. Since we are in the New York media market, we’ve seen way too many sad stories on the evening news about how awful life has been for those residents whose lives have been turned upside down.

We’ve also heard about the direct-to-customer merchants whose businesses were interrupted – and still are – as a result of Sandy. In some instances, carriers could not get through to pick up packages or drop off supplies for a day or two. In the opposite extreme, others saw their entire inventories wiped out, and were hoping to be back in business by Thanksgiving.

While I feel bad for those DTC merchants who lost revenues and businesses because of Sandy’s wrath, I think they could have done more to protect their investments. Every merchant – no matter how small, no matter who they sell to, needs to have a back-up plan.

Even if your business was not in Sandy’s path, your vendors may have been. And if your business wasn’t disrupted by Sandy, there are more storms and natural disasters to come.

Take a look at some of the merchants whose businesses were disrupted by Sandy. Then ask yourself the following questions:

  • If my inventory is destroyed, can my vendors drop-ship orders for me?
  • If my in-house contact center has no power, do I have a plan in place for another company to handle communications?
  • Do I still have a self-hosted ecommerce site? And if I don’t, does my host have back-up servers in case they lose power?
  • If my supplier can’t deliver inventory to my warehouse, can I get it from an alternate source?
  • Where would my employees work if our business is powered down or, worse, destroyed?

Curt Barry wrote a very detailed and insightful article for our October/November issue about setting up a business continuity and disaster recovery plan (http://bit.ly/TOt6y6). If you have yet to take the necessary precautions to protect your business, I suggest you do so now.

MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT DECEMBER/JANUARY 2013

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