As is often the case, there is a real mix of positive and negative news around for the sector right now. On the one hand, Co-op has announced plans to drastically reduce office staff, yet on the other Aldi is to give workers a second pay rise of the year.
A study has found that Retail accounts for 10% of administrations in 2022, and UK retail sales fell again in June despite Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. A boost to food and drink sales over the Queen’s jubilee weekend was not enough to stop the cost of living crisis from pushing down retail sales.
Yet on the positive flip side, Fraser Group has managed to swing itself into profit, while JD Sports expects ‘record’ profits amidst strong sales.
Despite the challenges facing the sector, there is still a lot to be excited about in the near future. New technologies are leading the way for a more immersive online experience, new consumer behaviour is driving both product and business model innovation, and the world’s biggest brands are putting aside local competitive pressures to tackle the biggest issues facing our society and planet. The retail industry has always been tough and resilient to the biggest of challenges and there’s no doubt businesses can emerge stronger.
And here is a handy summary of them for you:
- Generation Z starts to splash the cash - Generation Z as consumers. Attracting Gen Z becomes more important as they become both customers and employees.
- The retail empire strikes back - Retail in a digital world. The online and digital retail world is no longer the sole preserve of the agile startup or online pure play business.
- Shop and Go Go Go - Convenience scales up. With consumers demanding a frictionless and often contactless retail experience, checkout-free stores, ultra-fast and autonomous delivery are rapidly becoming mainstream.
- Tales of the unexpected - Retailers diversify their businesses. Conscious consumerism and a challenging market is encouraging retailers to diversify and move into completely new businesses to utilise their assets better and find new sources of growth.
- Virtuous circles - Circularity and traceability in demand. Circularity is on a fantastic growth trajectory with the second-hand clothing sector expected to grow faster than fast fashion.
- 1+1=3 - Collaborate with meaning. Through progressive and distinctive collaboration, retailers can achieve something greater than the sum of its parts.
OUR ALGORITHM IS A DANCER.
He’s also a foot tapper, a head bobber and, very occasionally, a gifted air guitarist. He’s a person, called James, and he does the job that most places leave to the robots.
Curated by superhumans.
Blending artificial intelligence, and actual intelligence, James oversees the curation of the playlists that influence the way your customers shop. Because, while the tech, data and science are important, there’s nothing better at picking music for humans, than humans. Especially our humans.
Walk this way, talk this way…
You have to walk the walk if you talk the talk, so here’s Phil Whittle, Retail Director at footwear brand schuh, on how we helped transform their brand’s customer experience:
“Startle went beyond our requests for a good music and signage solution and presented a bespoke, forward-thinking technology strategy. Coupled with their commitment to excellent service, they really stood out amongst other providers and have exceeded our expectations so far.”