Martin Hamilton looks back at a selection of the key retail sector stories that have hit the headlines and how your retail business could benefit.
With a 12 month decrease in footfall but with record retails sales, retailers should take note that Smart devices are playing a significant role in the future of retail.
Smartphones and mobile-commerce are continuing to transform the retail sector, but with many retailers still to harness the value of the hand-held shopper, events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the January Sales will become missed opportunities to fully maximise sales.
Since the last Retail Review there have been several reports providing further evidence that smartphones are playing an important role in the future of retail!
Littlewoods reported that four years ago 72% of sales came via their catalogue. Roll forward to 2016 and now 62% of sales are made by smartphones and Chief executive Alex Baldock exclaiming that mobile is “where the action is for online!”
ASOS reported that they have more than 7.5m active installs of their app resulting in a 66% growth in mobile device traffic and an estimated 51% orders now being placed via their dedicated mobile platforms!
BNP Paribas and Mastercard however are taking mobile technology for the retail sector one step further. Their collaboration project aims to
help a customer to pay for online or in-store purchases with a single and secure app-based mobile payment solution!
Ever heard of the vampire economy? This new retail opportunity is result of the rise in mobile commerce and the impulse buyer shopping outside the normal 9-5.
So the question is, is your business harnessing the power of tech and customer data to capitalise on new late night consumer trends?
- Littlewoods boss says mobile ‘is where the action is’ | BBC News
- ASOS ‘awesome on mobile’ as results show technology drives growth | Internet Retailing
- Carrefour to offer universal mobile payment and loyalty app as French m-wallets converge | Internet Retailing
- Longer nights, TV shows, m-commerce and the rise of on-demand services fuel ‘Vampire Economy’ | Internet Retailing
The big retail players flexing their Brexit muscles
As Unilever and Tesco hit the headlines over a pricing disagreement, there were question marks about who was in the right. For Tesco, was all about protecting their valued customer or protecting their own margins? For Unilever, was this an attempt to profit from the falling pound?
Whatever the reason, as the UK continues on the journey to BREXIT it seems increasing likely that retailers and customers will experience more uncertain times.
Ensuring forward planning for importers and exporters
Although this is likely to be a short term reaction to Teresa May’s recent announcements regarding BREXIT, it is scary to think what could happen – in the short and long term – to the value of the UK currency and foreign exchange (FX) rates.
Businesses who import or export goods and services NEED to forward planning now to minimise any potential FX losses. There are likely to be significant FX fluctuations throughout the BREXIT procedures so business owners need to planning for the long-term not just when Britain activates Article 50.
Planning for the new pound coin
Is the UK economy in for another pounding or will we be quids in? First it was a new polymer five pound notes designed to last longer and bamboozle the counterfeiters and as of March 2017, the UK consumer and retail sector will have a new one pound coin to get to grips with.
The demonetisation and introduction of this replacement currency is likely to have a significant impact on high-street retailers through training, cost and technology updates and therefore it is certainly advisable for retailers to begin action planning now.
- New pound coin: Firms told to prepare for redesign | BBC News
- The new 12-sided £1 coin. Is your business ready? | The Royal Mint
Living vs. Minimum Wage
In a recent article published by Retail Gazette, Menzies Head of Retail Roberto Lobue explains the difference between the National living wage and the National minimum wage.
In a further article, Lobue discussed the implications of both the Living Wage and Minimum Wage on retailer margins and future employee needs.
- The National Living Wage & National Minimum Wage explained | Retail Gazette
- What is the difference between National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage? | Menzies
PROVEN RETAIL SECTOR ADVICE & SERVICE EXPERIENCE
As Harry Selfridge once said: “People will sit up and take notice of you if you take notice of what makes them sit up and take notice.”
Never has this customer-centric advice been more apt than in today’s fast-moving retail world. UK retail sales totalled £321 billion recently and whilst the sector is generally thriving, consumers are demanding greater variety, an enhanced experience, easier access, improved payment and faster delivery.
We advise retail, wholesale and online retailers, as well as sector-dependent clients. We work closely to find solutions to industry issues, utilising our expertise in everything from business strategy and corporate finance, to audit and tax advice.