Concern in retail increases as consumer confidence dips

According to market research*, a third (33%) of retail employees expect to see fewer customers amid falling consumer confidence during the cost of living crisis.

Unsurprisingly, the cost of living crisis is having an impact on the customer, with one in five consumers (18%) expecting to spend less on groceries this year. With the cost of living continuing to rise, buyers are reviewing how they spend their money. Just over a quarter (26%) plan to cut their clothing and shoe budgets before the end of the year, while vacations (28%) and other luxury purchases (25%) will also feel the pinch. However, these falls in spending will be less pronounced for sport and leisure (7%) and automotive (9%); possibly because these items are generally independent purchases.

Enhance the shopping experience with technology to meet demands
The most recent research, presented in its white paper Navigating the retail industry today, also shows that it remains incredibly important for retailers to understand the needs of consumers in order to attract them back to the high street in difficult times. Currently, less than half of consumers (48%) feel there is an adequate number of staff available to assist them when shopping.

Ahead of the festive season, consumers are favoring a blended retail experience that combines the ease of online shopping with the convenience of in-store pickup, drawing customers back to the high street where they are likely to spend more when picking up groceries. . Shoppers are looking for retail brands that balance both helpful technologies along with enhanced in-store staff presence. When it comes to the technology consumers feel most enhances their experience, click-and-collect stands out among shoppers in both the apparel and beauty (19%) and grocery (18%) retail experiences. Interestingly, e-commerce presence was ranked least likely to improve the retail experience (apparel and beauty, 9%, and groceries, 7%).

Encouragingly, both retail leaders and employees are aware of their shoppers’ preference for click-and-collect, ranking first and second respectively as an important driver of business success for the rest of the year.

top three…
… the most important factors for the commercial success of retail leaders …factors most likely to improve the daily work of retail employees
Click and collect (30%) Shop Floor Automation (36%)
E-commerce presence (28%) Click and collect (35%)
Store management technologies (including scheduling and productivity) (27%) Warehouse automation and dark retail (a retail outlet or distribution center that exists solely for fulfillment, with no consumer-facing elements) (30%)

In response to this latest data, Sebastien Sepierre, Managing Director – EMEA, Fourth, said: It’s not surprising to see shoppers review their spending habits given the intensity of the cost of living crisis. As inflationary pressures mount, a great customer shopping experience is what will set retailers apart, and those that can optimize for this are likely to come out ahead in a competitive environment, particularly with more consumer-friendly features such as click and collect.

However, it’s worth noting that a great customer experience isn’t possible without an engaged, supported, and efficient workforce, so it’s important for leaders to prioritize employee needs alongside business success and invest in the latest technologies. that will optimize shift scheduling, forecasting, and employee engagement. . By offering more support through this technology, retailers will improve staff retention. This is an essential piece of the puzzle for retailers facing the unprecedented challenges that the rest of the year will bring.”

*Research per Room

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