Brexit, the Election and avoiding customer rejection! There’s only one certainty right now – and that’s uncertainty.
It’s the word on the lips of every retailer looking on anxiously at what final results the vital golden quarter will bring.
And for the last three-and-a-half years the primary cause of that uncertainty has been that state of political purgatory christened Brexit – you’ve probably heard of it.
However, because that simply wasn’t enough of a challenge to be juggling, another a ball of uncertainty has been thrown in the air in the form of a surprise snap election at – of all times – Christmas.
Yes, a myriad of mini Marys and Josephs and unconvincing livestock costumes will be ushered out of village halls for the day on December 12, as school nativity plays are paused to make way for the great British public to decide what Party will ultimately have the final say on the Brexit saga.
Funnily enough, that will be just one week before that other seemingly neverending saga imprinted on the minds of this generation – Star Wars – will also conclude as the final chapter opens in cinemas on December 19.
How the retail industry wishes it could pull a Jedi mind trick and find out what will happen next in both the election and Brexit and create some much-needed clarity.
Nevertheless, by December 13 we should at least have a definitive result and Brexit should be somewhat closer to a conclusion (yes I know we’ve heard that one before).
So just how has all that uncertainty affected retail so far at this crucial time of year?
Well, the British Retail Consortium ratcheted up its warnings after the latest extension to the Brexit deadline as CEO Helen Dickinson chastised parliament by declaring that the country cannot ‘teeter on the edge of uncertainty indefinitely’ as repeated impasses cost retailers ‘hundreds of millions’.
For a good example of how uncertainty can directly affect top retailers, Argos had to print a statement on the possibility of prices rising as a result of the uncertainty at the front of its iconic Christmas catalogue.
It read “At the time of printing we intend to maintain our prices at or below the printed price, however, given the uncertainty around the UK leaving the EU we reserve the right to change our price”.
Uncertainty prior to the latest EU extension was also causing many UK retailers to stockpile at record levels. And while the latest extension meant the stockpiling was ultimately unnecessary, the announcement of the election put the industry on edge again – a general election during the crucial holiday shopping season? It all sounded like the nightmare before Christmas.
Certainly the stock market flinched as shares in many UK retail companies headed south following the announcement of the election and there was an almost audible sound of consumers tightening belts as those spending jitters looked to continue.
So what’s the answer for retailers in this most turbulent of times?
Well, the truth is that none of us can do anything about resolving the Brexit issue ourselves or choosing when elections are held so you have to make sure you’re ready to make the most of the hand you’re dealt.
For retailers that means giving yourself the best chance of surviving and flourishing in difficult conditions both now and in the future.
All of this means there’s little room for error as retailers have to ensure they execute efficiently and meet the demands of consumers to make sure there isn’t a single available penny left in the pockets of customers.
And that means ensuring stock is available throughout this pressurised period and providing customers with more choice, better prices and the best possible customer experience.
That sounds like a big ask but there is a way of ensuring all those things if executed properly – and that’s dropshipping.
Dropshipping can significantly improve customer satisfaction by 30% and at these most risky of uncertain times it allows you to extend range while avoiding the cost and risk of holding physical stock.
And of course, all those additional happy customers ensure you’re getting way more promoters than detractors to ensure your essential Net Promoter Score (NPS) stays healthy!
So while there’s no silver bullet to the conditions being thrown at retailers, there is a way of enhancing your chances of success while taking some risk out of the equation.
So why not give yourself Dropship this Christmas?