2019 is set to be a turbulent economic year for many industries, including retailers on both sides of the Atlantic faced with a fragile and volatile economy, and slow growth forecast. Numerous retail challenges have emerged, such as U.S. consumer spending declining by 0.5 percent in Dec. 2018 - the largest drop in nine years - and many retailers becoming casualties and forced to close their U.K. stores. This blog will examine some of the most pressing concerns retailers are currently facing, and how the use of technology can help them overcome these challenges.
Retail Economic Challenges
Hypersensitivity will occur due to significant global economic uncertainties and consumers will get triggered into making better decisions regarding how they spend.
A transitional year for retail
Deloitte claims 2019 will be: “Bolstered by a strong labor market, growth in disposable personal income, and elevated consumer confidence, 2018 experienced strong retail sales. But the economy may face some headwinds in 2019—making the year one of transition for retailers, who may need bold moves if they want to set themselves up for success in the future.”
Threat of recession
There is little wonder that when KPMG principal and chief economist, Constance Hunter, stated “There’s a 50 percent chance, at least, the U.S. heads into a recession in 2019,” many businesses decided to hold off on making significant investments, waiting to see the outcome of global tensions and to evaluate the impact on consumer spending.
Fortunately, ease of use and advancements within technology, have not only given buyers more power but have also offered retailers the opportunity to analyze data, enable full visibility, become more efficient and in turn streamline their business while cutting operational costs; thereby helping them to overcome external economic constraints. Gravity recently conducted a market research survey report, “Digitize Supply Chains Today To Future-Proof Tomorrow” to establish:
- to what degree retail supply chains were digitized.
- what business benefits retailers enjoyed after digitizing their supply chains.
According to the survey, retailers who have already digitized their business are reporting to some exciting business benefits:
- 54 percent said digitization improved the customer experience
- 47 percent said digitization lowered their operational costs
- 45 percent claimed an increase in their speed to market
These results highlight and validate the overwhelming necessity for retail businesses to stride into the future and conquer economic pressures through the implementation of technological advancements, and the critical need for fully digitized supply chain processes and solutions to get actualized at the earliest opportunity.
Retailers who embrace the new technologies that support the effective and efficient running of their supply chain operations will be able to minimize the impact and gain a competitive edge. By embracing these technologies, retailers can improve customer service, reduce costs, increase agility, and consistently implement the necessary processes and organizational changes that drive the operational excellence today’s retail customer not only wants but also expect.
Find out more about retail supply chain digitization by downloading our exclusive research survey, which provides insights based on interviews with 500 retail executives.