Lockdown after lockdown during the unforgettable year that was 2020 altered the retail landscape beyond all recognition, making it a scarily unpredictable place. Shops closed, businesses moved online and consumer shopping trends in the UK shifted massively towards those things designed to make life at home more bearable – dumb bells, garden furniture and a whole lot of cake tins!
24 months later and we are all getting used to living in a more unpredictable, world but as we start getting our teeth into 2022 and the third year of living with coronavirus, are we any closer to being able to predict trends or patterns to make it a little easier for retail businesses to weather?
The good news is that we quite possibly are! With that said, what do we think 2022 will bring to retailers and consumers? Here are our top five predictions for the year ahead…
There will still be a global shortage of certain items
There are a large range of reasons for this; some items simply sold out during the pandemic and are yet to catch up with increased production, others have been hit factory production issues (competition, isolation and staff shortages quickly add to that!), and there is of course the Suez Canal and knock-on issues at port that are contributing to some things slowing down when we could really do with them speeding up!
If you are buying stock from other countries, or even within the UK, it’s never been more important to make those decisions early and accurately. At the heart of doing this is of course…. Effective stocktaking!
Shoppers will undoubtedly be spending less (on the whole)
The early stages of the pandemic fundamentally changed people’s buying habits, they forked out less and less on throw away items. As 2022 hits, this looks likely to continue as buyers must prioritise increasing bills and soaring inflation over less considered spending.
With less spending comes less revenue and an increased emphasis on increasing margin. Effective stocktaking should be at the heart of that – identifying stock loss, addressing it and ensuring that you’ve got your stock levels just right.
The online shopping bounce will continue
Online spending increased significantly during 2020 and again in 2021, and it’s likely that this will continue well into 2022. The knock-on effect of consumers buying without first seeing, touching, or trying on their goods is a generous increase in returns and the subsequent issues this can have on stock. Partnering with an effective stocktaker can minimise the problems associated with returns – from over stocking due to not understanding where stock is within the supply chain, to simply misplacing and losing stock during the returns process.
Having a good handle on returns is essential to maximising the revenue you make online.
Continued staff absences
With a more virulent strain of the virus now in circulation, case numbers are higher, as are staff absences. This will impact staff levels across all sectors, especially customer facing roles like retail. Lower staff levels and a reliance on temporary team members to fill the gaps will lead to an increase in mistakes at the stock level, as we’re all human and we all make mistakes, especially when we’re new or under pressure. Stocktaking can identify these small errors before they become larger mistakes.
Will we see more stock loss because of shoplifting?
As Covid restrictions lift and some people return to high streets up and down the country, there’s real potential for an increase in shoplifting: one of the major contributing factors affecting stock loss in the British retail sector.
For more information on how our experienced stocktaking team can help your business, please give us a call on +44 (0)1637 874609 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.