Retailers must tread a tightrope of profitability as savvy consumers plump for sale items and cost comparison tactics

New research reveals impact of cost of living on shopper habits

Retailers must tread a tightrope of profitability when devising 2023 sales strategies, as a significant 93 per cent of consumers in a recent survey cited they are likely to compare costs and look for sale items more, or only buy reduced items – highlighting the increasing grip of the cost of living on the nation’s finances.

The survey of more than 1,000 female homeowners, conducted by flooring retailer Factory Direct Flooring (FDF), also indicated many consumers won’t be considering their loyalty to a brand during the purse squeeze. 65 per cent of consumers say they will compare prices from two to three retailers when purchasing a high value item – in addition to specifically searching for sale items – and 20 per cent will compare more than four costs.

These latest findings indicate the growing challenges for retailers when it comes to towing the profit margin line, and at a time when consumer spending is already being curbed.


FDF founder Paul Hambidge commented: “Retailers are undoubtedly facing tough times with savvy consumers and their increasing bargain hunting tactics, so it’s an important factor to bear in mind for 2023 sales strategies. In an increasingly competitive arena it’s no time to rest on laurels or do what we have always done – agility will be vital in the uncertain economic climate. We have to be prepared to be flexible and bold. Promotions will be key, and retailers should leverage all the tools they have available to them – from time-restricted money-off deals and discount codes with minimum spend, to attract customers, to considering moves such as highlighting where their products are cheaper than competitors. It works for the big supermarkets!”


Hambidge also talks about the importance of customer relationship management and its role in creating personalised interactions with customers.

He adds: “Intuitive use of customer data is key, whether managed manually or via software systems, customer relationship management has never been more important. Signposting the customer to deals while upselling and cross-selling products is facilitated by using insights derived from customer data, and many retailers have turned to intuitive software solutions to achieve this.

“Virtual and augmented reality are also huge attraction for customers – whether allowing them to virtually try on clothing or visualise a piece of furniture of flooring in their own homes – and it’s certainly something we’re looking into for our business. Staying in touch with the customer, making them feel valued and providing inspiration are all key ways retailers can help create differentiators and overcome a growing focus on price. We believe that while customers are keen to grab a bargain, it’s still important to keep the pillars of value in forefront in business: service, delivery, breadth of offering and quality – not just price,” he concluded.


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