With only a few weeks left until Christmas, online retailers and high street stores will be going through their inventory lists and checking them twice to make sure merchandising is in tip-top shape ahead of the December buying surge.
This is also the time of year when we begin seeing volumes of recall notifications creep up in both toys and electricals categories. This week for example, of the 28 consumer product recall notifications cited on Safety Gate - the European Commission’s rapid alert system for non-food-related products - 13 were children’s toys and 9 were electrical items.
While no one will be asking for an adaptor or USB charger this Christmas, those in receipt of a gift that requires one will either go online and buy it or it will be added to the present by a thoughtful family member, just like people do when buying a toy that requires batteries for example.
That said, six separate recalls of adaptors/USB chargers in one week is quite significant, therefore retailers and the public need to be sure that their products are fit for purpose.
Similarly, parents and grandparents across the country will be thinking about last-minute small toys as many will have already bought the big-ticket items in preparation for a Christmas in lockdown. These added extras sometimes include things like toy slime and small stuffed animals. And of the 13 children’s toys, most were low-value items that would fit perfectly into a stocking.
All items were notified because they posed a serious risk to the public including chemical hazards, electric shocks, microbiological issues and choking. The silver lining here is that these items were flagged, seized and sent back to their place of origin.
The question is, what more can retailers and the public do to protect themselves from these products? Consumers should read the labels, check for kitemarks and register an appliance. Retailers must do all these as well as interrogating the supply chain and prepare for a recall.
Children’s toys and electrical goods are among the most recalled items in Europe and recall preparedness is simply a good business risk strategy. Having a robust recall plan means that if the worst happens, you have already done the thinking and preparations for it to run smoothly. And this doesn’t just apply to your business. All vendors and business partners in the supply chain should know what to do when something goes wrong, and that includes practicing drills with you. Recall strategies need to be tested and then tested again.