More than one third of retailers feel confident in their business’ ability to grow within the next year, but recovery from the pandemic still remains a concern, according to the ‘State of Retail in a Post Pandemic Era’ report from RFID specialist SML RFID.
The first of a two-part series, The State of Retail in a Post Pandemic Era, analyses responses from more than 500 independent senior decision-makers from apparel retailers within the US and UK. The report examines the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the apparel retail industry, as well as the sector’s current sentiment to growth and challenges it will face when bouncing back.
The past 18 months have proven to be a significant challenge for the retail industry, having been impacted heavily by the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, these organizations were forced to adapt to shifting consumer demands as in-store operations temporarily ground to a halt and e-commerce became the primary sales channel. Unsurprisingly, retailers deemed recovering from the pandemic as the most significant obstacle, with 38% of respondents stating this as their biggest challenge.
However, despite the numerous setbacks that the sector has faced, retailers remain optimistic about the future, and have adapted to the need to fulfill online demand throughout the pandemic. The report finds that two out of five retail decision-makers (42%) say online home delivery has been their primary sales channel the past year.
However, retailers also recognize that there are still improvements to be made in delivering top quality customer service in a post-pandemic environment, with 43% of retail decision-makers claiming that having real-time visibility of stock levels would be one of the most critical factors in delivering a better customer experience.
Dean Frew, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of RFID Solutions at SML Group said: “The impacts and changes that have come about from the pandemic on retail are clear to see by now. However, as recovery from COVID-19 continues, it’s important that retailers continue to strive to understand the ever-changing needs of their customers and invest in the solutions that help to provide the best customer experience and returns for shareholders possible.
“As retailers look to find the balance between in-store and online operations, it is clear that there is still work to be done in developing a seamless omnichannel approach. By investing in the right technology, such as item-level radio frequency identification, retailers can have a near-perfect view of inventory to drive better enterprise decision, processes and ultimately be able to provide a better service to consumers.”
Part one of The State of Retail in a Post Pandemic Era looks into the challenges that retailers perceive to be impacting the industry going forward. The report also explores how retailers governed the pandemic and how they are looking to bounce back. It dives into the avenues that the apparel retail sector will pursue to reach an increasingly shifting consumer base, while also delving into how the industry can future proof itself and prepare for the years to come.
For access to the full study and its findings, download part one of the report here: https://sml-rfid.com