With a 5.5% increase in holiday sales, 2017 was the best holiday shopping season since the Great Recession. This turn for the better means retailers need to be prepared for what’s coming: continued growth and another busy holiday season.
While much retail planning goes into what is inside the store, you cannot overlook the importance of what’s happening outside. Not only is the customer’s approach into your building a part of the brand experience, but more importantly, the care you take to ensure their safety in and around your location can have a long-term financial impact — both in terms of public perception and litigation. In a recent retail lighting inspection project covering 1,400 sites across the country, Exo discovered that 53% of lighting poles required some sort of maintenance – with 8% of those being critical or near-critical stage. Put another way, for every twelve poles, statistically at least one needs immediate attention! Add expedited deterioration from salt and inclement weather to these already weakened structural conditions, and the public risk factor becomes alarming.
Soon, you’ll be too busy to think about that. You’ll be focused on the visual aesthetics of your store that help welcome customers, like the pavement quality, painting needs, and lighting functionality. The structural integrity of your poles will be the last thing on your mind during the holidays, so make this a priority now.
We want to help you plan ahead to manage structural assets so your customers can shop safely. Prioritize lighting pole inspections over the summer, so you have adequate time to make any necessary repairs before customer foot traffic increases and weather worsens.
- Go beyond electrical inspections
It’s a common misconception among retailers and other commercial businesses that an electrical inspection is all-inclusive. While electrical companies can determine if the lighting is working properly, they typically do not evaluate structural components. The unseen problems can really get you in trouble, which is why it’s important to have infrastructure experts perform inspections – these will cover issues like corrosion, coatings, foundations, engineering designs, and more.
- Be proactive
You have more time and fewer customers over the summer, so now is when you can proactively review your assets and determine what needs to be inspected. This approach will help extend the life of your assets and give you confidence that they will last and not pose risks down the road. Not only that, but it is more cost-effective in the long-run to be proactive; the costs of emergency repairs far exceed ongoing maintenance costs. During the spring and summer months, you’re more likely to experience heavy winds that wear on poles over time, then when low wind events occur, there’s a greater chance the poles will fall over. Focus on your poles in warmer seasons so you can protect your customers when they’re doing their holiday shopping.
- Give yourself time for repairs
As a result of the inspections, you may find that some of your poles require repairs, and you’ll need to create a plan to have these taken care of before your crowds start to increase and weather gets worse. By starting your inspections and repairs now, you won’t have to worry about those logistics during your busiest time of year. While urgent safety violations can and must be repaired immediately, a proactive program approach allows you to address needs over weeks and months in a more cost-effective manner. Schedule your initial inspections with this in mind to ensure your repairs don’t spill over into the holidays.
- Identify any assets to include in next year’s budget
By prioritizing structural inspections this summer, you’ll also be able to identify any assets that may need to be included in next year’s budget. While it may be too early to formalize a budget or make purchasing decisions, you can keep this on your radar as you begin to plan for next year. The results of your inspections will inform the timing of any replacements you need to make, so you can plan your purchases accordingly.
It’s not too early to start preparing your lighting poles for the holidays. Whether your poles are brand new, or you’ve had them for many years, you can benefit from a structural inspection.
Exo’s professional inspectors can help you take care of your poles this summer, and we incorporate a lifecycle approach to ensure you get the most out of your assets for as long as possible.