Retail stores can be open to all kinds of pest infestations. The constant foot traffic and doors opening onto loading bays, warehousing, and street-level present numerous ways for pests to find a path into the store. Once in, they’re particularly hard to control.

While pest infestations are more commonly associated with food handling businesses, retail stores can be similarly hard hit with the embarrassment and the costly implications of poor pest control. As we discussed in our previous post, poor pest management can significantly impact customer confidence in your brand, leading to a loss of business, premises closures, and a significant economic hit.

A report conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) found that in just one financial year, disruptions caused by pest infestations resulted in $9.6 billion increase in operating costs, while revenues went down by an estimated $19.5 billion.

So, it’s clear to see that pest issues in the retail sector need to be addressed with speed and efficiency. There’s much at stake.

The most common retail pests

Imagine that you’re out shopping and you spot a rodent running between the racking as you browse. The chances are, you’d turn and leave, right? Many of us would have that same reaction.

Rodents have an uncanny ability to provoke panic in us. Before you know it, the store would be empty and the business would be faced with the challenge of regaining customer confidence – not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.

One thing with rodents that makes them particularly hard to control is the way they multiply. Take mice, for example. Once they’ve found their way into the premises, mice can be particularly stubborn. They can survive on the smallest amount of food and they reproduce frequently. With a gestation period of only three weeks and an average litter size of 16, mice can produce up to two thousand offspring in just one year.

If left unchecked, it’s easy to see how things can get out of control very quickly.

Other pests can stow away on fabrics or find other means of entry, like moths and insects. While not as instantly off-putting as rodents, these pests can be just as damaging to your products, brand reputation and bottom line.

While different pests require different solutions, one thing’s for sure – they need to be dealt with. We’ve seen how quickly rodents can overrun a business and the subtle ways in which smaller pests can surreptitiously damage goods and consumer confidence.

It then stands to reason that any retail business would be strongly advised to explore solutions to effectively eliminate risk before such outbreaks occur, and also monitor them on an ongoing basis.

What is integrated pest management (IPM)?

Ultimately, shoppers need to feel that when they shop they can safely browse in a clean environment free from pests.

It’s reasonable to expect the pillows in your hotel room to be free of bedbugs, and the food in your favourite restaurant to be cockroach-free, so any retail business worth their salt should act with the same goals in mind.

Of course, for some businesses, the added task of performing checks early and often can be a strain on staffing. What is seen as a tedious, manual process can often be put on the back burner in favour of a quick glance behind the fixtures or simple checks by the bin store. 

This is where technology comes in. Digitising your inspection and reporting process using integrated pest management (IPM) software will enable your employees to work more effectively and efficiently, eliminating the risks associated with pests.

As we often say, technology is the missing piece of the puzzle for many pest control approaches. Pest control software fundamentally improves the effectiveness and efficiency of pest control, helping you to proactively manage and control outbreaks, ultimately safeguarding your staff and customers, while protecting your most important asset – your brand reputation.

Integrated pest management software is the answer for retailers looking to save themselves the embarrassment, not to mention the financial disaster of a pest problem. Capturing evidence and acting on it across teams, sites, and organisations helps retailers set a high standard in the prevention and management of in-store pest issues.

To book a demo and learn more about Property Inspect’s integrated pest management software, click here.