Almost half of retailers believe their sales will decrease this year according to research carried out by industry expert, Melissa Moore. “Over 45% also believe customers will spend less this Christmas, at a time when the sector is facing rising energy and other business costs.”
Moore says the findings come from a small poll she carried out herself but suggests they do reflect the harsh reality out there. “Cash flow has already been invested in stock ahead of the peak Christmas season,” says Moore, The Retail Advisor. “So, many retailers do not have the extra funds to deal with all the added expense”
“A lot of retailers are holding their breath right now. Several businesses I have spoken to fear that they will not survive the next few months because of the crippling cost of living crisis.”
“This crisis is impacting brands and the people that work for them. But retailers also have much higher business costs in areas such as buying in stock or logistics. This is all coupled with a desperate need to recruit more staff”
“Nearly 80% of respondents to our recent survey said they need the Government to step in and help. From speaking to retailers myself, that help can’t come next year, it needs to come now. The retail industry is an incredibly agile industry – we saw that during COVID. If the government could help retailers help themselves, especially in the areas such as fuel, lighting and heating, they would get through this crisis.”
“On a positive note, I do expect consumers to keep spending as we head towards Christmas, just a little more carefully. We are definitely seeing two types of consumers, those that have been badly impacted by the cost-of-living crisis and those that may have savings squirreled away. Either way, we find ourselves with a more cautious consumer.”
Moore believes there are ways for retailers to negotiate the current minefield. “They must focus on value and experiences this peak season. Different parts of the industry will react differently over the coming months. Those selling discretionary spend products will need to deliver a hyper-personalised service and an excellent customer experience. They can achieve this by really understanding their customer, their needs and also their expectations. In the long term this will drive customer loyalty. Well trained staff will be able to meet the needs and deliver superior service.
She says retailers selling everyday products will need to focus on price points and adding value to entice customers. “Adding value isn’t purely a price reduction. Expertise, click and collect, later opening hours, free shipping or free Christmas wrapping can also entice customers away from your competition. Engagement across all channels including social media and email campaigns, should focus on the affordability and cost-effective solutions.”
Melissa Moore says it’s important for retail experts like herself to share their advice at this critical time. She’s just launched season 3 of her podcast series The Retail Tea Break, in which she speaks to experts like Owen Clifford, Head of Retail at Bank of Ireland. To find out more or to listen to the podcast visit www.theretailadvisor.ie or listen via your preferred podcast provider.
Notes to editors:
- Melissa Moore has over 20 years’ experience working with national and international retail brands including Brown Thomas, IKEA and Kilkenny Design.
- Her experience, knowledge and training cover all aspects of the industry including customer experience, buying, merchandising, sales and stock control.
- In 2019 she launched ‘The Retail Advisor’ consultancy to empower independent retailers and Irish craft and design makers
- She began running her first podcast series in September 2021 and to date, after 25 episodes it has reached 2500 listeners across platforms like Spotify, Apple and YouTube
Media Enquiries to: Trish Hegarty, Inis Communications