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EDITORIAL Strategies for growth in the face of a frugal Christmas

Christmas 2022 needs tech to make it more efficient for all shoppers

Retailers are facing “the most frugal Christmas” for a generation, with 40% of consumers already feeling negative about their finances and assessing how to they can ‘do Christmas’ on a lower budget. Things look grim.

According to Jonathan Portes, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at King’s College London: “Fuel and energy prices are by far the largest concern, and here the key drivers are global. However, UK conditions have been aggravated by both Brexit and the recent fall in the pound, which further pushes up energy prices, as well as by the operation of the energy market and the price cap.”

The main response from retailers and other SMEs has been to hunger down and get through it by cutting costs and putting expansion and growth on hold.

Similarly, consumers are also looking at doing the same. Already, many are looking at how they can change the ways in which they shop to start to save money – money that they themselves are going to need for higher fuel and food bills this winter, as inflation continues to climb.

Many are also looking at how they can leverage Black Friday and Cyber Monday this November to bag some bargains for Christmas. Students are leading the charge in shopping based on bargain and discount hunting, but this is now the modus operandi of the bulk of consumers.

The smaller business and microtraders included in – and beyond – the Growth 2000 make up the lion’s share of business in the UK and generate trillions of pounds between them for the UK economy. They need help – government, a new government at that, needs to urgently address this sector’s needs to help reduce some of the non-consumer pressures on these businesses to allow them to evolve rapidly to meet changing consumer habits.

Businesses across the ecommerce sector are already exploring how to use technology to help become more efficient while being more engaging to consumers. Crew Clothing, for instance, offers an interesting lesson in the use of hyper-personalisation in fashion sales. Others need to look at how to understand the use of payments and payments regulations such as SCA to help drive efficiency and offer value, while understanding subscriptions and what consumers want from these potentially cost-efficient ways to shop is now also key.

One place to get the inside track on how all this can be leveraged by smaller retailers is at the first ChannelX World takes place on October 13 in London. It offers retailers, brands and marketplaces a timely chance to explore the vital new channels that customers today want to buy through – from marketplaces, to social media and, looking to the future, the metaverse. 

Speakers hail from an array of brands including M&S, LK Bennett, Amazon, Debenhams, Boohoo, eBay, TikTok and many more. Click here to find out more and to register for the event.

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