9 in 10 retailers have prepared for economic challenges
New research commissioned by parcel delivery company CouriersPlease (CP) suggests that nearly nine in ten retailers (86%) have taken steps to prepare for continuing inflation, higher interest rates and potentially lower consumer spending.
The survey polled an independent panel of 202 owners and decision-makers across Australian retailers. The majority (86%) had made at least one change with the aim of weathering a tougher economic environment. 36% said they had boosted their investment in eCommerce and marketing, 35% introduced workforce flexibility and 32% expanded their product range.
Other changes included reviewing suppliers and switching or renegotiating supplier contracts (29%); introducing more efficient technologies (23%); improving customer service (23%); tapping into new customer segments or markets (21%); and transitioning sales online or closing bricks and mortar stores (19%).
Asked what negative impacts they anticipate this year more than half (53%) said they expected their profits to be squeezed. Half (50%) predict decreased revenue due to lower consumer spending, and 41% will struggle to keep prices reasonable for their customers.
“The results confirm the widespread impact the current environment is having on the business sector,” said CP CEO Richard Thame. “It appears that the economic climate will have the most impact on a company’s bottom line, with profits and revenue expected to take a large hit. With the CPI currently at 5.1 per cent and an increase on the horizon, as well as interest rates continuing to climb, retail and logistics businesses will look for efficiencies across operations and other business areas to buffer these impacts.”
Asked to share the most important lessons they learnt over the last two years, respondents cited the need to be more flexible and adaptable to change; that focusing on customer service and loyalty drives sales; and the importance of investing in an online presence.
The full survey results, including breakdowns across State and business size, can be found here: couriersplease.com.au/portals/0/inflation-impact-on-retailers-white-paper.pdf