5 Ways Convenience Stores Can Protect Employees, Customers and Their Brand

In Los Angeles, five different 7-Eleven stores were robbed at gunpoint on the same night. On another night in Orange County, thieves targeted a string of convenience stores in a single evening, stealing cash boxes from behind the clerk’s counter. In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, over a period of three months, approximately $50,000 worth of lottery tickets was stolen from 12 convenience stores as part of a smash-and-grab operation

Factor in other threats like shootings, routine theft and protests, and one thing is clear: The risk profile for convenience stores (c-stores) is vast and complex. And it’s taking a toll, as some chains are forced to close locations due to safety and security issues.

How can you keep employees and customers safe from such a wide variety of threats while protecting your brand and maintaining business continuity? 

The question may seem overwhelming, but the answer is simpler than you think. A unified platform for critical event management provides all of the capabilities that security, risk and loss prevention leaders need to protect staff at every location and brand reputation in the larger market.

Check out (pun intended) these five tips to find out how.

5 Ways to Protect Your C-Store With a Critical Event Management Platform

1. Leverage historical risk data to proactively prepare.

One of the best ways to prepare for the future is to look back at the past. An analysis of historical risk data based on geographic location makes it possible to identify the threats most likely to impact the various locations of your convenience stores. This information can be used to make informed decisions around safety and security.

For example, if historical analysis identifies a specific store is located in an area prone to crime, additional physical security measures like cameras can be installed. Employee training can also be aligned with the threats posing the greatest risk, whether that be how to handle severe weather or a robbery.

Historical data can also help security and risk managers anticipate periods of heightened risk. Looking back at the week of the 2020 presidential election, there was a 250 percent increase in protests and a 220 percent increase in explosions compared to two weeks prior to the election. As the 2024 election approaches, risk and security leaders should expect a similar spike and make plans now around preparation and response.

2. Know what’s on the risk radar right now.

When you need to protect employees and customers at multiple locations from a long list of potential threats, real-time intelligence is critical. However, it can be hard to stay on top of things, especially given the volume of data available and the speed at which an incident can escalate. AI-powered risk intelligence filters through vast amounts of data so you get fast, accurate and relevant information about the risks that pose a real and potential threat to your people and operations.

From civil protests to active shooters, real-time risk intelligence quickly pinpoints the impact of critical events, so you can make more informed decisions. Has gang violence created a tense atmosphere in an adjacent neighborhood? Are charged demonstrations escalating to a riot? Actionable intelligence provides situational awareness and visibility into risk so you can make informed, proactive decisions.

OnSolve Platform for Critical Event Management

Learn how a unified platform for event management helps organizations quickly detect and respond to threats.

3. Keep your employees informed and connected.

Smash-and-grabs, shootings, civil unrest and other types of violent crime are a frightening experience for employees – they can even be life-threatening. In these situations, staff need to be kept informed, given clear and precise instructions and assured their well-being is your top priority. The ability to deliver time-sensitive alerts to the right people is vital to employee safety.

A mass notification system (MNS) makes it possible to send real-time alerts across multiple devices and channels, so you can alert employees instantly during emergencies. The ability to create subgroups and send targeted alerts allows you to notify specific employees in specific stores. That way, when an alert comes in, recipients know it’s relevant and requires immediate attention. A platform equipped with two-way communications also enables employees to mark themselves safe or ask for help when they need it.

4. Optimize staffing to reduce loss and maximize security.

The right number of well-trained staff are key to keeping operations running smoothly. Holidays, local community events and the coming election season can bring unprecedented foot traffic and high-profile individuals to convenience stores. Major court proceedings and the presidential election have already brought political leaders to one bodega, as well as a Sheetz and a Wawa.

High-visibility events and holidays require additional staff to keep up with registers, food orders, store cleanliness and any disturbances that may occur. Increased foot traffic also increases the risk for shoplifting or looting. A mass notification system with options like quota calling allows convenience store managers to quickly scale up staff to handle the demand, maintain security and minimize loss from theft. In addition, reminders can be sent for employees to refresh themselves on safety protocols and SOPs for theft and violence via a portal for training materials.

5. Stay one step ahead of brand safety.

With competing convenience stores often located near one another, customers have options. If they’re concerned about their safety at your store, they may go elsewhere — especially if a high-visibility incident leads to ongoing negative media coverage.

Surprise is the enemy of reputation management. Risk intelligence keeps you one step ahead, alerting the right people as soon as a potential threat is identified. Public relations and legal teams can even use the technology to monitor for news that may damage your brand. Incidents can be addressed before they escalate, and the information can be used to prepare for press conferences and inform corporate communications.

Convenient Technology for Convenience Stores

The risk landscape is full of threats to your employees, customers and brand, but better outcomes are possible. A unified platform for critical event management can keep your people safe, your locations open and protect your brand from damage, all in a user-friendly interface. With a highly skilled team to help you every step of the way, managing risk has never been more convenient.

Schedule a demo today to see how the OnSolve Platform for Critical Event Management can help you prepare, detect, activate and recover from the biggest threats to your c-store. 

OnSolve

OnSolve® proactively mitigates physical threats, allowing organizations to remain agile when a crisis strikes. Using trusted expertise and reliable AI-powered risk intelligence, critical communications and incident management technology, the OnSolve Platform allows organizations to detect, anticipate and mitigate physical threats that impact their people and operations.