I attended an excellent breakfast seminar this morning hosted by BDO giving their review of Christmas 2016 retail trading and predictions for 2017 which gave lots of food for thought.
So, against a backdrop of a rise in real earnings, Brexit, low unemployment the smart retailers had a good Christmas. Those who combined a seamless experience for customers in-store and online did well, as did the retailers who kept their focus on excellent quality products.
There have been significant shifts in lifestyle which have impacted spend. Younger consumers aspire to own their own homes rather than seeing this as an expectation compared to those of us born in the 1970’s and 50’s and salary increases for those born in the 80’s and 90’s have declined sharply to 13% as opposed to 73% after 10 years of working, impacting disposable income and where consumers chose to spend their hard earned money. Spending on experiences has increased and consumers are far more likely to select stores on the basis of where their favourite restaurants are – destination shopping – something that smart retailers are tapping in to.
Although high street sales declined the last week before Christmas, online grew by 50% during the same period.
Customer acquisition and retention through omni-channels continues to grow and the successful retailers have combined these two service lines to make the experience seamless for consumers. Interestingly, this is against a backdrop of stores that are not always geared up to service customers in ‘click and collect’ purchases – something the retailers are quickly having to address.
Getting the product right, at the right price, through the right channels and marketing to consumers in a targeted, meaningful and non-invasive way is the key – something our interim retail specialists are seeing acutely when working with troubled retailers. Data and analysis seems to be at the heart of key decision making for the retailers – understanding customers, their needs and wants and delivering that in the way that’s easy and accessible for them seems to be the key.