As we’re sure you know, customers are under a lot of stress at the moment. Rising energy costs and spiralling food prices have left many struggling to cope, and this is having a profound effect on shopping behaviour.
We can’t do much about the cost of living, but we can save your customers unnecessary stress during this difficult time. By improving communication on the shop floor, we can streamline the shopping experience for shoppers and colleagues alike. Here’s why VoCoVo comes into its own during a crisis.
Customers are feeling the pressure:
The cost of living crisis isn’t just hitting our pockets. Financial concerns are having a serious effect on the nation’s mental health, leading to widespread stress and anxiety:
- Over three quarters of UK adults describe themselves as very or somewhat worried about the cost of living
- 72% say that their wellbeing has declined in the last 12 months
- Two thirds of British therapists believe that cost of living concerns are harming the UK’s mental health
Customers are being squeezed from all sides, and this is bound to affect their shopping decisions. Recent data suggests that money is now at the the forefront of shoppers’ minds when they enter the supermarket:
- 80% of UK households are budgeting more carefully, and 43% are buying and eating less food
- A quarter of shoppers are buying lower quality products, and 30% are buying less meat
- 34% are looking for special offers and reduced items, and 29% are shopping around more to get the best deals
- Many are making fewer trips to supermarket in order to save petrol
Unlike luxury items, food is not something that shoppers can stop buying. Instead, they are adapting their shopping habits to maximise value. This means changing brands, taking advantage of special offers and buying in bulk in order to make fewer trips. Sadly, for some, it also means resorting to theft. Shoplifting rose by 18% this summer and is likely to increase further as winter sets in.
Things may get worse before they get better
Everyone is hoping for a swift end to the crisis, but we need to be prepared for some tough times ahead. Energy prices have received the most attention, but they are not the only thing affecting the cost of living. Rising inflation has pushed up the price of everyday items, putting an even greater strain on household budgets:
- The cost of groceries has increased by 14.7% in the last year, driving up the average annual food bill by almost £700.
- The cost of staple foods has increased even more. The price of pasta has risen by 60%, and bread by 38%.
- Fuel prices have also increased significantly. In September 2022, the average cost of petrol and oil in the UK was 30% higher than it had been in September 2021.
One less thing to worry about
With almost a third of customers shopping around to save money, the only way to retain business is to adapt to their needs. This is where we can help:
- Our message cast feature allows head office to send the same message to multiple stores at once. This can be used to update your entire estate on offers and promotions, ensuring that customers don’t miss out on savings.
- Telephony integration lets you take customer calls from the shop floor. Customers can call ahead to check on stock levels and you can connect them instantly to the stockroom. This lets customers plan their shopping in advance, helping them to avoid unnecessary trips.
As well as helping customers to save money, VoCoVo also makes the shopping experience as stress-free as possible. With so much to worry about at the moment, this can make a big difference to your customers:
- Colleagues can use headsets to find information for customers without leaving their side. This saves customers the uncertainty of waiting for a colleague to return with an answer.
- Call points allow customers to call for help without tracking down a colleague or joining the main queue. Colleagues can answer questions via their headsets, or go and join the customer at the call point.
- Keypads allow checkout colleagues to call for assistance without leaving their position. This prevents queues from getting out of hand during busy periods.
We can’t do much about energy bills, but we can make sure that shopping doesn’t become an additional source of stress. By eliminating friction from the shopping experience, we can ensure that customers have one less thing to worry about. Download our report to find out more.