New Year’s resolutions – does anyone actually keep them?! I won’t comment on my personal track record, but I am willing to gamble that the gyms, personal trainers and health food manufacturers that celebrate 1st January as keenly as Christmas Day probably don’t see the same levels of increased business all year round. So whilst I can take or leave the ‘New Year, New You’ philosophy on a personal level, I do believe that businesses can benefit from rolling out resolution making.
The retail industry is a prime example of a sector that could benefit from a good set of New Year’s resolutions. Like the rest of us, brands can easily fall into the same old habits year after year that actually doing more harm than good, but this can be avoided. So, without further ado, here are my recommendations for three (yes just three!) retail resolutions for 2019:
- Discontinue discounting
I know. It sounds scary. But with Black Friday, mid-season sales, Easter discounts and Boxing Day sales – discounting days and seasons have become so synonymous with retail in the UK that it is hard to see a time when brands actually sell their products at full price. In the short term this means that brands are basically needing to sell more products all year around to make the same money that they would from selling less at RRP. And in the long term, heavy and constant discounting totally devalues a brand.
Retailers urgently need to stop discounting so frivolously, and it’s perfectly possible to do so. Take your lead from Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser and Selfridges who all refused to discount on 2018’s Black Friday.
- Call a truce in the ‘retail returns wars’
Many retailers have fallen into the trap of offering free returns, to entice shoppers to complete purchases online. However, this ‘benefit’ has led to a huge problem for retailers. Shoppers are buying multiple items on a whim, with the plan to return most, if not all of them. Thus, increasing costs for retailers to process the returns with absolutely no positive impact on sales. Retailers have won the battle but lost the war.
The truth is free delivery and returns have exacerbated the ‘try before you buy’ culture that we now live in. With retailers footing the bill for postage, consumers have no commitment at all to the purchase. By continuing to offer free returns as default, ultimately brands will find themselves paying to deliver more and more items that they never see revenue for.
- Be green
You heard it here first - green is the new black. Don’t worry, I’m not trying to impart fashion advice, but going green from an environmental perspective is something that every retailer should be resolving to do in 2019. Millennials and Generation Z, the shoppers of today and beyond, have a huge awareness and conscientiousness when it comes to matters of the planet. You only have to recall the huge impact made by Iceland Food’s banned #RangTan Christmas advert warning of the dangers of palm oil to see how much of an impact environmental concerns have on the consumers of the 21stcentury.
The nation rallied against the amount of plastic going to landfill from disposable cups, straws and bottles in 2018, and it is inevitable that other aspects of the retail industry will come under consumer scrutiny in the next twelve months. Retailers, therefore, should be ready to inspect their supply chains and analyse their carbon footprints in microscopic detail to ensure that customers feel that they can morally choose to purchase from them rather than a more environmentally conscious competitor.
How we can help
At Laybuy, we like to think we can have an impact on each of these issues to some extent. Our payment platform allows retailers to offer consumers the opportunity to purchase products over six interest-free, weekly payments – making aspirational products affordable without retailers having to discount. The first of these payments is made at point of sale, meaning that customers are instantly committed to a purchase, heavily reducing the amount of products that are returned.
These benefits can help customers and retailers alike. And whilst we’re not claiming to be able to save the world, our hope is that consumer commitment to purchases can also reduce the amount of unnecessary returns that are impacting our environment.
If you’d like to talk more about how Laybuy can help your brand to resolve to have an epic 2019, please do get in touch.