Although the Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season officially runs from June 1 to Nov 30, we have just entered the peak part of the season, which usually occurs from about the second week of August through October.
What if you live in a land-locked state? Then this has nothing to do with you, right? Wrong! Hurricane season can have a big effect on those operating their sites from or near coastal areas, but it can also affect you even if you run your ecommerce site from Idaho. Here are some actions to think about taking if your location might be affected by one of these monster storms and some things to take into consideration even if you are far, far from the sea.
IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE HURRICANE COUNTRY
Make it your business to know what systems are churning out there, and where they might be heading. Also, if a storm is affecting an area or has just done so, be familiar with where that area is, and (in general) how widespread damages and power outages are. You might have customers in the area. Don't expect sales or communications from them just before or after a tropical system hits their area.
The same is true of your vendors or anyone you order business supplies from. Know where your vendors are for the same reasons.
Be patient! Your customers and/or vendors could very well be operating in survival mode. They may or may not have power, running water, or even a roof over their heads. And, depending on the extent of damage, that mode could last from just a few hours to weeks on end.
IF YOU LIVE IN HURRICANE COUNTRY
REMEMBER that category does NOT matter! We had thousands of dollars in damage and went for several days without power when Fay swept through last year . . . and she was "only" a Tropical Storm. You cannot operate your business by candlelight. Be prepared - not only with your disaster plans and emergency supplies kit - but also for possible downtime.
1- BACK UP YOUR SITE and everything related to it regularly, but ESPECIALLY if a system is approaching. If you are not using an internet based back-up service, pack the latest copy of your back tape or flash drive in your 'Go Kit,' so that it evacuates with you. I usually take my hard drive, as well.
2 - SAFEGUARD YOUR INVENTORY. Make sure it is stored in plastic and/or plastic bins, and elevated.
3 – If a storm is tracking towards your area, consider placing a NOTE on your site that you in the possible path of the storm, and anyone considering a purchase might want to complete that purchase by a certain day or time.
4 – If the NHC issues a WATCH for your area, you might want to advise customers that you downtime for your site may be imminent.
5 – If your watch is upgraded to a WARNING, consider putting your site on ‘vacation’ setting or disabling your cart. Consider the ramifications this scenario: Someone makes a purchase at 2:30 and, at 2:31, the storm knocks out power to your area – for two weeks! (It could happen) Better to be safe than sorry.
6 – Personally, I wouldn’t order a new batch of inventory with a storm headed in my direction, either. But, that's just me.
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Article By: CruiseReady