Retail compliance matters
How can a retail business ensure that it is compliant with all relevant laws and regulations?
When a customer walks into your retail store and starts browsing the aisles, should you be happy there’s another potential sale coming through the register? Or should you be worried that the potential customer will become a retail compliance issue?
Every day in retail stores around Australia, compliance issues rear their ugly head. How can you be sure your business won’t be impacted?
What laws and regulations do I need to comply with?
Part of the issue when it comes to compliance is that it can be difficult to know what laws and regulations you need to comply with. Sure, there are some common rules and regulations you may know about.
- Registering your business with an Australian Business Number.
- Tax obligations.
- Fair trading.
- Employment laws.
- Consumer protection laws
But are there less well-known laws and regulations that you may not be aware of?
One of the first things you should do is research to identify laws and regulations that may apply to your retail business. These may differ depending on your retail environment.
- If you’re a store that sells food items, there’ll be food safety laws and regulations you’ll need to comply with.
- If you sell toys, there are mandatory safety standards you need to understand and follow.
- Stores that sell vitamins and supplements may need to comply with complementary medicines regulations.
- Pet shops must comply with a code of practice.
- Grocery stores must comply with a code of conduct.
When conducting research, make sure you look for relevant laws and regulations in the state where your retail store operates. While some laws and regulations relating to retail stores are federal, others are state or territory based. There are also likely to be local laws you need to comply with.
Another important point is to stay updated with laws and regulations that apply to your retail store, as details can be amended. This is not always easy; however, some good tips are to subscribe to relevant government websites, retail industry newsletters or industry associations.
Retail compliance procedures
Record keeping is important for any retail business, and this includes compliance.
It’s a great idea to establish compliance procedures for your retail store. This will simply be a document or set of documents that outline the laws and regulations you need to comply with.
Your compliance procedures should also include the steps you have taken to ensure compliance. This may include aspects such as record-keeping, monitoring, and reporting mechanisms.
It’s also important to regularly conduct reviews of your compliance procedures and policies. This goes hand in hand with staying vigilant about any changes in laws and regulations that apply to you.
Education staff on retail compliance
Staff training will be another key aspect of your retail compliance procedures.
It’s vital that you educate your employees about their responsibilities and obligations under the relevant laws so that they can help your business comply.
Staff training and education will include topics such as customer rights, fair trading practices, privacy protection, and any other areas that are relevant to your retail business.
Important retail compliance laws and regulations
Below are several important laws and regulations that most retail stores will need to comply with, whether they’re a brick and mortar store or only sell online.
- Consumer rights – understand consumer rights and ensure your business complies. For a retail store, this may include aspects such as product warranties, refunds, pricing accuracy, and fair advertising practices.
- Fair trading laws – anytime a consumer buys a product or service they have rights and guarantees under fair trading laws.
- Health and Safety – if you have a bricks and mortar store, you’ll need to make sure your retail environment is a safe place for customers. You’ll also need to ensure the store and the staff only areas comply with occupational health and safety regulations.
- Record keeping – maintaining accurate and organised records is important to meet a variety of obligations. This includes your tax obligations. The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) requires companies to keep financial records for seven years.
It’s not just a load of red tape
Retail compliance matters. We mean, it really matters. And it’s not just about red tape.
Investing in compliance, training your staff, keeping records, and complying with all relevant laws and regulations will also be good for your customers.
For example, it will help make your store a more pleasant place to shop for your customers, it will help your business maintain a good reputation, it will help drive good customer service, and it will improve customer and staff morale.
Conversely, not complying with relevant retail laws and regulations may get your business into trouble with authorities and with customers. For example, it can damage your reputation, result in lost sales and lead to higher costs.
Clearly, retail compliance does matter!
There’s an easy way to make sure your retail store is compliant
Let’s face it, compliance, laws and regulations relating to retail environments is heavy stuff. It can be complex, confusing and hard to get your head around.
Thankfully, there’s an easy way to make sure your retail business ensures that it is compliant with all relevant laws and regulations. And it only takes one phone call.
Retail Recharge can help with all compliance matters. Our knowledge of retail environments and all compliance, laws and regulations relating to the industry means we can help every retail store. We can also assist with educating your staff with the core skills and knowledge they need to help you comply.
Retail compliance matters to your business, and it matters to us too!