Few of us will be sorry to see the end of 2022. After two years of pandemic misery, it was supposed to be a year of reconnecting and making up for lost time. Instead, it was a year of global unrest and spiralling living costs.
As the Prime Minister said in his New Year’s message, the UK’s problems won’t go away in 2023. Economic uncertainty will be as much a part of this year as the last, but at least we’re ready for it this time.
We’re here to support you, and to help you support your customers in turn. By anticipating the likely pain points, we can work together to ease the pressure as much as possible. Here’s what to expect from 2023, and how we can help you to make it through in one piece.
The cost of living crisis continues, but not forever
Most of us will remember 2022 as the year that life got expensive. The energy price cap was raised twice, increasing by 54% in April and a further 27% in October. Although government assistance helped cushion the blow, many still found themselves paying almost twice as much for energy this winter.
At the same time, record inflation pushed up the prices of everyday goods such as food and fuel. Weekly living expenses increased by 13%, and the average UK household debt rose to over £16,000.
As a new year begins, we are all hoping that things will improve. Early signs suggest that they will, but not straight away:
- The OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) predicts that annual inflation will fall from 11.6% to 10.7%. Consumer price inflation is also expected to fall from 9.1% to 7.4%.
- The Bank Of England expects inflation to fall sharply in the second half of 2023, signalling a possible end to the cost of living crisis.
- Although government support for energy payments is due to end in March, the energy price guarantee will protect customers from sharp price increases until April 2024.
Customer needs have changed, and we must change with them
The long-term outlook may be optimistic, but this will be little consolation to your customers. For now, their daily experience will stay the same – less money in their pockets, and a great deal of uncertainty about the future. Just as the pandemic led to long term shifts in customer behaviour, the cost of living crisis looks set to cast a long shadow:
- 61% of shoppers are planning to cut back their spending in 2023.
- Customers will turn to Click & Collect as a way to save money on delivery costs. This is reflected in Aldi’s decision to cut ties with Deliveroo and focus on Click & Collect instead.
- 64% of shoppers have switched to cheaper grocery brands, and 79% are paying more attention to special offers.
- Many are making fewer trips to the supermarket in order to save money on petrol.
No pains, plenty of gains
In 2023, customers will care about value for money above all else. Shoppers will have little patience for items being out of stock as this will force them to make multiple journeys. They will also feel cheated if they miss out on news of special offers and deals.
These problems can be solved by establishing clear lines of communication between your store and your customers. According to our recent survey, a third of colleagues believe that portable communication technology is the best way to do this. This is where we can help:
- Headsets let colleagues communicate from anywhere on the shop floor. This reduces daily walking distance by 1.4km per colleague, translating into a financial saving of £442 a week. These savings can be passed onto customers in the form of lower prices.
- Customer call points streamline the Click & Collect process by allowing customers to check on their orders without joining the main queue.
- Telephony integration allows colleagues to take external calls from the shop floor. Customers can call ahead to check on stock, and you can connect them straight to the stockroom. This lets them plan ahead to avoid wasted journeys.
- Our message cast feature lets head office send updates to multiple stores at once. Stores can be informed of new offers and promotions as soon as they are announced, ensuring that customers don’t miss out on savings.
The next few months will be tough, but we’ll get through them together. By focusing on communication, you can ensure that your customers don’t feel abandoned in their time of need. Get in touch today to arrange a demonstration.