Technology ignorance will cost UK independent retailers dearly this Christmas

  • Only 7% of SME decision-makers in retail currently invest in technology to manage sales spikes at the busiest shopping times like Black Friday and Christmas
  • SME retailer decision-makers favour increasing inventory levels (33%), implementing longer operating hours (31%) or hiring extra staff (16%) to prepare for holiday shopping

  • Just one-in-four (25%) of SME retailer decision-makers would be likely to adopt a new technology solution to enhance their back-office and inventory processes

AUSTIN, Texas and BRISTOL, UK – September 20, 2017 – Just 7 percent of SME decision makers surveyed in the retail sector invest in technology to meet peak periods, like Christmas, which could put themselves at a clear disadvantage against the online and high street giants.

As today’s major retailers like Amazon, John Lewis, and Argos gear up for the holiday shopping season, research into behaviours and attitudes in preparing for peak period sales, found that 31% of SME retail decision-makers surveyed believe they can stay competitive by implementing longer operating hours.

The survey of more than 280 decision makers from small and mid-sized retailers from Brightpearl, a provider of retail management software for omnichannel retailers, and YouGov, also revealed that 16 percent of decision makers from small and medium-sized retailers surveyed hire extra staff to cope with peak periods.

Researchers discovered independent retailers hire, on average, three additional seasonal staff to manage busy shopping periods.

Employing three extra staff members to help during the holiday season costs retailers, on average, £11,880 in wages alone each year. This does not include the added burden of training new staff and costs incurred from mistakes by inexperienced employees.

Derek O’Carroll, CEO at Brightpearl, said: “These results highlight how many retailers are neglecting to invest in technology that could save them precious time and money during their busiest period of the year.

“This does not bode well for small and mid-sized retailers who will not be able to compete with the likes of Amazon with their Prime offering if they continue to ignore the operational advantages that technology offers. Instead, they are turning to short-term, inefficient solutions like hiring more staff or increasing their inventory levels that may actually end up hurting their bottom line.”

Lee Adams, managing director of garden furniture specialist www.alexander-francis.co.uk, said: “Before we adopted a technology platform, we really struggled to manage peak sales periods while still providing great customer service.

“Now, we use a scalable cloud-based system which automates our inventory, financials, order processing and fulfilment processes. This means we can focus on growth rather than chasing our tails during our busiest sales periods. And, with the systems we have in place, we could probably manage to take another three or four times the number of orders without having to employ extra capacity.“

The research highlighted that a quarter of decision makers from small and mid-sized retailers surveyed would be likely to adopt a new technology solution that helped to effectively streamline their business’ back office and inventory work.

O’Carroll, adds: “Forward-thinking retailers need to make the most of this holiday season by using technology, such as retail automation, to take care of back-office functions like processing, fulfilment, shipping and billing. Those who do will see financial savings over the long-term, and greatly free up employee time to focus on their customers.

“Ultimately, this means independent retailers will be better able to manage increased demand and offer the level of customer satisfaction expected this Christmas.”

Retail automation technology has been shown to help retailers save the equivalent of 57.5 days a year by eliminating time spent on repetitive administrative tasks. The likelihood of negative customer service as a result of human error has also been reduced by up to 65 percent.

Retailers curious to find out more about their performance and understand just how much time they can save by automating their systems should see this new interactive tool, from Brightpearl.

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Survey methodology

The survey data was collected and analysed by YouGov Plc. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The results were compiled from 285 SME employees who are senior decision makers in retail. The fieldwork was undertaken between 21st-29th August 2017. The survey was carried out online.

Media contacts:

Mark Hook

Mark.hook@brightpearl.com

Jeffrey Ingold

Brightpearl@wcommunications.co.uk

07477 711656

About Brightpearl

Brightpearl is a powerful-yet-simple retail management system that helps mid-sized retailers and wholesalers expand and compete with larger rivals by streamlining sales and supply chain functions across multiple online and offline channels.

Brightpearl’s cloud-based software and services enable omnichannel merchants to manage the heart of their business by combining purchasing, inventory management, CRM, order processing, accounting, fulfilment, and reporting into a single reliable system. Founded in 2008 with offices in the U.S. and UK, Brightpearl is used by more than 1,200 merchants around the world.

For more information, visit www.brightpearl.com. Connect with Brightpearl on Twitter (@BrightpearlHQ), LinkedIn (linkedin.com/company/Brightpearl), and Facebook (facebook.com/brightpearl).