‘Tis the season—the busy season—when businesses prepare for the summer holiday rush, checking stock, filling shelves, and staffing up. And while economic challenges persist across all industries, you can turn these challenges into opportunities and brighten up your bottom line.
- In retail, higher prices will translate into consumers purchasing fewer goods or less expensive alternatives.
- Restaurants may see fewer diners or people ordering less expensive menu items.
- Clients may extend the time between visits to hair and beauty salons.
- Travellers may delay trips or opt for shorter itineraries or less expensive destinations.
For businesses that prepare now, you can turn these challenges into opportunities. Keep reading for an overview of the economic headwinds facing you and your customers this holiday season. We’ll help you make 2022 your best holiday season yet.
Up the chimney and through the roof
Everyone’s feeling the pinch of inflation. Escalating costs have led 42% more shoppers worldwide to buy gifts earlier this year.
Customers say inflation has changed their shopping habits. They’re cutting overall spending, postponing major purchases and buying more discounted items. While some regions have experienced a post-lockdown “urge to splurge,” pandemic restraints continue to disrupt the economy.
As inflation impacts economies around the world, shoppers are searching for more discounts and more ways to pay for the gifts they buy.
2. Supply chain disruptions
Will there be gifts this year?
Supply chain disruptions are wreaking havoc around the world. Already, out-of-stock items have caused nearly 80% of US customers to walk, rather than wait, for stores to replenish their shelves. The figures are likely to be similar in our part of the world.
Customers are anticipating shipping delays and empty shelves. They’re shopping early, both online and offline, and planning gift-giving months in advance.
Stay one step ahead of supply chain disruption with a tech-leading inventory management solution, providing real-time data to help your business keep shelves stocked.
3. Staffing shortages
Happy employees—where are they?
As customers return to in-person shopping and dining, staffing shortages and retention still plague many businesses, especially in restaurants and retail. A recent study predicts a global talent shortage of more than 85 million workers by 2030 , roughly equivalent to the population of Germany.
When you do find good employees, retention is key, and technology can help. Automating once-manual processes can help reduce employee frustrations. It also frees up valuable time that employees can use to focus on better serving your customers—a win-win for you, your customers and your employees.
Leverage the latest digital solutions and point-of-sale retail technology that empowers your employees to complete tasks quickly and efficiently.
4. The pandemic
The changing landscape of commerce
The pandemic has contributed to underlying causes of inflation, supply chain disruption and staffing shortages. But there’s a significant long-term impact we haven’t yet touched on—its lasting effect on global commerce.
COVID-19 has altered commerce permanently. Worldwide, customers now expect businesses to offer a variety of ways to shop—in person, online or on-the-go. And they expect businesses to provide a variety of payment options, especially contactless payments.
Offer the preferred payment methods your customers expect.
Strategies to come out on top
The economic headwinds facing businesses are great, impacting the affordability, availability and convenience of goods and services. But there are opportunities wrapped up in these challenges.
The key? Tackle the challenges head-on with these simple questions:
- Are my products or services available?
- Are they affordable?
- Are they easy to access?
- Are my customers (and employees) happy?
The following strategies will help you focus on your customers’ needs and deliver a great shopping experience, whether in person, online or on the go:
- Availability: Manage inventory in real time.
- Affordability: Provide preferred payment options.
- Convenience: Create a uniﬁed, omnichannel shopping experience.
Service: Put technology to work.
1. Make a list and check it twice
Implement real-time inventory management
Consumers are resilient. To get ahead of availability and affordability concerns, they are shopping earlier, looking for discounts, switching to less expensive alternatives and being more selective in what they buy—and how.
Forty-two percent of shoppers world-wide plan to buy gifts earlier this year over 2021.
Out-of-stock items have caused more than 75% of consumers to walk, rather than wait, for stores to replenish their shelves.
Make sure your goods and services are available.
Keep a close eye on stock this holiday season, when supply chain issues remain a concern. Keep your customers shopping with you—and not elsewhere—by managing inventory in real time.
- Know what’s in stock at all times, across all channels, with real-time data at the SKU (stock-keeping unit) level.
- Get alerts when stock is low, so you can reorder—before losing a sale due to a lack of product.
- Know what your customers want before they want it by analysing transaction data to optimise supplies.
Despite supply chain disruptions, proactively managing your inventory will help keep your shelves well-stocked for holiday gift-giving and beyond.
2. Give the gift of convenience
Let customers shop when, where and how they want
Supply chain concerns and staffing shortages greatly affect the convenience of holiday shopping. Consumers have enough on their minds this shopping season. Make it easy to shop with a personalised, connected and seamless experience —online, in store or on-the-go.
Deliver the omnichannel shopping experience that customers expect, and reap the rewards.
Whether shopping for gifts on their laptop late at night, making mobile purchases over coffee in the morning or picking up those purchases in-store that afternoon, customers expect a connected, seamless shopping experience.
Omnichannel shoppers—or customers who use both physical and digital channels—spend four times as much as store-only customers and 10 times more than digital-only customers.
Give customers more preferred payment options
Regardless of where your customers shop, make sure you offer their preferred payment methods at this critical point—the purchase.
Nearly half of customers buy more from businesses that offer their preferred form of payment.
Here are some preferred payment options you may want to consider for your business.
- Digital wallets offer frictionless, secure and fast in-store and online contactless payments. Customers are increasingly comfortable paying with these digital transactions that may account for over half of ecommerce payments by 2024.
- Mobile payments turn any digital channel—SMS, email, social commerce and more—into a simple and secure checkout that allows customers to pay anywhere, at any time.
- Click and collect has grown in popularity since the pandemic. Customers make quick, seamless online purchases, then conveniently collect their items in-store or curbside within hours. This can be a preferred compromise to long lines compounded by staff shortages this holiday season.
Whether shopping early to avoid availability and affordability concerns—or shopping last-minute—help customers this holiday season by providing a convenient, seamless omnichannel shopping experience.
Holiday shopping—however your customers want to pay
Make sure you accept your customers’ preferred payments, including digital wallets and all card payments (Visa/Mastercard and Amex).
3. Service with a smile
Keep customers (and employees) happy
Don’t let staff shortages keep you from delighting customers and employees this holiday season. You can do both!
- Upgrade your systems to the latest technology to automate manual tasks and improve employee efficiency.
- Reduce employee training time with easy-to-use software and hardware solutions.
- Enable employees to accept payments from anywhere—in store, online or on the go.
Investing in the latest technology has far-reaching beneﬁts for businesses. It can reduce manual labour (think typing on keyboards or entering numbers manually into tablets) and give employees time back to devote to customer service. Happier employees attract happier customers.
Fifty-four percent of managers say outdated technology is their employees’ biggest frustration.
Technology not only helps you avoid long lines and unhappy customers, it can also help keep employees happy and more efficient.
Pulling it all together
You can turn these challenges into business opportunities with a solid understanding of the economic headwinds as we move into the 2022 holiday shopping season. Make sure products are available when and where your customers want them, with affordable options to purchase and with the convenience today’s customers expect.
If you’re ready to meet your customers’ expectations this holiday season, get in touch. Our team can help you determine the best options for your business.
The time to respond is now, because “’tis the season” has already arrived!
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