Research reveals retailers’ top challenges for new financial year

Customer service levels have topped the list of challenges retailers are fearing the most as they head into the new financial year.

The finding comes from research conducted by retail display specialist, Leach, as it spoke to the sector’s mid-senior level decision makers the length and breadth of the country. 138 retailers were interviewed as part of the research.

39 per cent said service levels will be the biggest challenge, followed by in-store technology (38 per cent) and floor space (23 per cent).

Interestingly though, over three quarters of research participants believe that it’s no longer about the size of a store – it’s what you do with a space that counts.

Commenting on the results, Leach’s managing director, James Lavin, said: “We’ve seen more change on the high street in the last three years than we have in probably the last three decades. Experiential retailing matters more than ever before, as consumers become increasingly discerning, so offering more via the store environment – irrespective of a retailer’s footprint – seems to now be the overriding priority.”

That commitment to offering more has driven many recent product launches at Leach HQ, including Lightwave – a lightbox which conveys a sense of movement, designed to provide a more affordable alternative to a video wall – plus the ultra-bright Leach Box with 30 per cent less power consumption than a conventional illuminated display.

“We have our own innovation department at Leach, dedicated to breaking new boundaries when it comes to delivering wow factor retail spaces for consumers,” continued Mr Lavin. “But even though this is a sector we know well, we don’t just rely on our own insight and instinct – we are constantly engaged in dialogue with retailers too, to truly get to the heart of their world. We want to know exactly where the biggest challenges and opportunities lie, so that we can help them navigate the ups and downs that follow.”

Other challenges uncovered by the research included merchandising (22 per cent), POS displays (15 per cent) and window dressing (12 per cent).

“But when it comes to lightboxes especially, the most important factor is always graphics quality,” continued Mr Lavin. “In fact, when we questioned retailers about their primary concern when selecting a graphic display solution, quality came out top (24 per cent), followed by price (19 per cent) then durability (11 per cent). Environmental considerations were another important factor, with reusability and CSR credentials increasingly playing on retailers’ minds.”