Following a difficult final trading quarter of 2019, new research has found that less than half of SME retailers think they will be thriving at the turn of the next decade.
The research by finance solutions provider, Duologi, found that just 46% of small and medium sized retailers (SME) retailers think their business will be successful in 2030.
One in 10 retailers said they worry that they simply cannot keep pace with the demands of the rapidly evolving retail industry, with a quarter (24%) citing keeping up with new technologies as their biggest challenge over the next 12 months.
Those in the sports and leisure (57%), jewellery (54%), electrical (53%), health and beauty (53%) and fashion (45%) industries all cited new technologies as their greatest challenge in the next year of trading.
While just over half (54%) feel confident that their business is prepared for the future, research finds that half of UK retailers are losing sales through lack of investment in omnichannel technology, such as apps and marketplace platforms.
Michael Bevan, CEO of Duologi, says: “Some retailers are continuing to go through a tough time, with the struggles of the high street well documented in the press. However, the problems of retailers, in particular small and medium sized businesses, are multifaceted and there isn’t one simple solution to easing their troubles, although, recent research found that a lack of payment options has been shown to reduce online sales by up to 30%.”
Despite research showing retail finance can boost customer spend, boost basket size, increase brand loyalty, attract impulse shoppers and drive return visits, it seems that many SME retailers do not currently see its potential return on investment.
Just 10% of retailers saw POS finance as a way to grow their business, with only 11% believing that POS finance was a method to driving return visitors.
Bevan, continues: “Innovative and varied finance options offer a number of benefits – ones that forward-thinking businesses should be taking advantage of. They enable customers to spread the cost of their purchase over a longer term, with no interest to pay at the end, and can ultimately increase both sales volumes and average order size for retailers of all sizes.
The Finance: an SME issue report, which surveyed 500 SMEs across a range of retail sectors, found more than a quarter (27%) of customers said they now expect POS finance from SME retailers when shopping in-store or online, illustrating a shift in consumer payment expectations and attitudes.
Bevan, adds: “Given that finance drives on average 40% growth for retailers, it would seem the 21% of retailers that have not considered offering finance to their customers are indeed missing a trick when it comes to future-proofing their business for the next decade. If retailers of all industries want to give themselves the best chance of survival, they should lean on suppliers which can offer them the most innovative a practical solution to their immediate problems – with research reporting a 10% increase in the past two years, in the number of customers now considering using POS finance.”