As the cost of living crisis hits, how are retailers in the UK tightening their belts?

The cost of living crisis is putting a huge strain on UK retailers. Our portable communication devices can help you to cut costs without losing colleagues.

Article by John Hicks | 13th October 2022

As prices continue to rise, economic uncertainty is having a serious effect on consumer behaviour. Customers are spending less while the cost of doing business is increasing, so it’s vital to make every penny count. Our system saves you money in four ways so that you can stay afloat when times are tough. Here’s how it works. 

The cost of living crisis is a double blow for retailers

As we head into the winter, the UK’s cost of living crisis looks set to worsen. Although the government has announced an energy price freeze, the price cap has still increased by more than 25%. With colder weather on the way, this means that household bills are likely to rise significantly during the winter. 

At the same time, rising inflation is causing the cost of consumer goods to skyrocket:

  • Overall prices rose by 5.7% in September
  • Food prices increased by 9.3%
  • The cost of fresh produce rose by over 12%

Consumers have less money in their pockets, and their behaviour is changing as a result. A recent survey found that 62% of shoppers are planning to switch to cheaper brands, while half plan to cut spending on non-essential items. 

Sadly, a drop in customer spending is only part of the problem. As BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson explains, the cost of doing business has also increased:

“Retailers are battling huge cost pressures from the weak pound, rising energy bills and global commodity prices, high transport costs, a tight labour market and the cumulative burden of government-imposed costs. And, with business rates set to jump by 10% next April, squeezed retailers face an additional £800m in unaffordable tax rises.”

Redundancies are not the answer

We hope that things improve but, in the meantime, cutting costs is the only option. You may be tempted to save money through redundancies, but this may be a false economy. We recently surveyed 1,000 colleagues from around the world, and we discovered that many teams are already stretched to breaking point:

  • 40% of colleagues say that staff shortages are their biggest challenge
  • 76% are forced to fill multiple roles to compensate for smaller teams

Why are colleagues struggling? Download our report to find out.

Further redundancies would only make this situation worse. Colleagues would be forced to juggle even more tasks, leading to expensive mistakes and costly oversights. Fewer colleagues on the shop floor would also increase waiting times and make it harder for customers to find help. This would drive them to other stores, effectively cancelling out any savings.

Cut costs, not colleagues

This may seem like an impossible situation, but there is a solution. By improving communication among colleagues, VoCoVo lets you save money without reducing your team:

  • Headsets allow colleagues to share information from anywhere in store. This reduces daily walking by 1.4km per shift, saving you over £440 a week.
  • Headsets are hands-free, allowing colleagues to answer questions without pausing their work. This kind of multitasking increases efficiency by 105 minutes a day, saving you £111 a week. 
  • Call points allow customers to contact a colleague without tracking them down. These can be placed on customer service desks, freeing up colleagues to work elsewhere. Unmanning a single desk can save you almost £600 a week. 
  • Headsets can be linked to self-service checkouts, allowing colleagues to receive alerts when authorisations are needed. This allows a single colleague to cover multiple positions. Removing one colleague from the self-checkout area can save you over £700 a week.

Combining these four savings can reduce your weekly costs by around £1850. This adds up to an annual saving of over £96,000, making VoCoVo the perfect way to save money without sacrificing customer service. For more money saving tips, or to arrange a demonstration, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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