Whilst some industry experts are worried about consumer spending decreasing as we become more unsettled about potential market changes – this situation has not yet materialised. Over Christmas, even though footfall on high streets and in shopping centres continued to drop, spending continued to increase online and on mobile devices and being paid for on credit cards.
It is critical that we all keep spending in our personal and business lives; if we all hold back a bit on what we spend we will talk the country in to an economic decline. This doesn’t mean we should spend more than before or unwisely but if we can make savings and then reinvest that money in things that will drive our businesses forward then our businesses will continue to benefit - and so will the economy.
It’s amazing what can be achieved when a business adapts to market uncertainty. By obsessing about their customers and identifying ways to better serve them – whether face to face, with products, service times, better prices on key ranges, or other points of value – these businesses found ways to delight shoppers and keep them spending even during the 2008 recession:
- Waitrose did it by launching their value Essentials range.
- Primark did it by extending their better and best ranges, not their value proposition.
- H and M did it by increasing the number of designer collaborations they offered.
- JLP did it by launching their click and collect service - and Andy Street is quoted as saying that they followed where they believed there was money and tested if there was demand. There certainly was with ‘Click and Collect’. The service now represents a significant percentage of their sales and it is their biggest, fastest growing way for shoppers to buy from JLP.
Obviously these approaches required investment – which is why in my next blog, I’ll be discussing ways you can save spend, and reinvest it into your business with my ‘retail healthcheck’.