Gift Focus inc Attire Accessories - September/October 2022

146 As the cost of living continues to increase, and consumers rein in their spending, Gift Focus Editor Louise Prance looks at ways retailers can continue to keep the tills ringing The cost of living crisis is continuing to bite, with global inflation rising and retailers and consumers alike feeling the effects. Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, Helen Dickinson, said that customers are concerned about their finances and this is: “likely to be reflected in retail spend in the future.” Online sales have bore the brunt of the crisis, but according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), sales volumes fell 1.4 per cent in March – faster than the 0.5 per cent drop in February. However, non-food stores were up 1.3 per cent, pushed by a 2.6 per cent rise at household goods retailers including garden centres and DIY stores. Speaking to the Independent, Helen continued, “Retailers are themselves squeezed between rising costs of operations, exacerbated by the situation in Ukraine, and weaker demand from customers. “Higher global commodity prices, rising energy and transport costs, and a tight labour market are all taking their toll. As a result, it is likely that retail prices will continue rise over the course of 2022.” So while non-food stores may be weathering the storm better than others, it’s better to prepared. So what ways can independent retail batten down the hatches? RMS ( has stellar advice. Firstly, it suggests looking at introducing loyalty schemes: “For multi-store or omnichannel retailers, it’s vital that any scheme works across all sales channels; customers should be rewarded in whatever way they choose to shop. If they sign up only to discover that there are restrictions depending on sales channel, customers could feel more alienated than appreciated.” Personalised offers were also touted as a way to mitigate against price hikes. “Sending personalised offers by post or email is a sure fire way to remind customers that you are thinking about them. And, if you hold accurate purchase history data, you can tailor your offers to products which you know your customer buys, or to complementary products,” the company said. Bundles were said to be a “tried and tested method for successful upselling is packaging products together to form a bundle. For example, buy Product A and B together and save £5, or Buy 2 Get 1 Free.” Other methods include bounce back coupons, membership clubs, and email receipts. Whatever route you take, having pro-active strategies in plan to see out the storm is a wise move and will assure resilience in adversity. COST OF LIVING