Exporting and consumer journey personalisation among four key trends driving retail success, new research reveals

Exporting and consumer journey personalisation among four key trends driving retail success, new research reveals

• 44% of retailers reported increased sales over the last 12 months (July 2022 – July 2023)
• UK retailers who export are outperforming non-exporters, with 64% aiming to extend into new territories over the next 12 months
• 48% of retailers believe consumer journey customisation is extremely important in driving sales
• Almost a third (28%) of retailers will increase focus on their social media presence with a direct link to revenue generation over the next 12 months

New research has revealed four key opportunities that ambitious and fast-growing retailers are adopting to boost revenue heading into peak season. Key findings highlighted in the report shine a light on the success of exporters and the positive impact of consumer journey personalisation.   

International fulfilment technology and services provider, fulfilmentcrowd, surveyed 100 decision-makers in the UK retail sector in July 2023, representing a range of sectors to understand exactly how British retailers are performing today and how they’re responding to shifts in buying habits to create new revenue streams and build customer loyalty. The results have been released in fulfilmentcrowd’s new report ‘The Big Retail Trends 23/24’.

With inflation slowly decreasing and consumer confidence returning, the BRC has predicted retail sales growth of between 3.6% to 4.7% in the second half of 2023. fulfilmentcrowd’s research echoes this sentiment, with 44% of UK retailers surveyed reporting an overall increase in sales over the past year (July 2022 – July 2023).

The first key trend identified among these businesses is that they have embraced agility and diversification. Those who thrived in the past year were more likely to have taken actions such as adapting their product portfolios to meet evolving consumer demands and reaching out to new audiences.

Sales growth of retailers taking advantage of export opportunities was the second trend identified. 51% of exporting businesses reported an increase in revenue over the last 12 months, contrasting with 38% of domestic-only players. Of those already exporting, 64% aim to extend further into new territories over the next 12 months, with USA and Australia identified as key growth markets.

Another clear trend highlighted by the research is that personalisation of the consumer journey will be key to future growth. Almost half (48%) of retailers surveyed believe that a bespoke experience is very important, with one in three UK retailers planning to invest in more targeted promotions to drive demand over the next 12 months.

The growing role of social media and its importance in personalisation was the fourth trend identified by fulfilmentcrowd’s research. Almost a third (28%) of retailers plan to prioritise social media to drive demand in the coming year, underscoring the growing importance of this channel in the sector. 

The research also illustrated that the use of social media as a sales tool is critical for UK retailers that export. Among those venturing into international markets, 36% are already using Instagram as a selling channel, for example, compared to only 21% of businesses focusing solely on the UK market.

Commenting on the research, Lee Thompson, fulfilmentcrowd’s CEO, said: “Undoubtedly the retail sector has been through an extremely challenging period in the wake of Covid-19 –  a period that changed the retailer-customer dynamic forever. Retailers have had to rethink the ways in which they do business to engage audiences in more personalised ways.

“What’s most encouraging from our research is exactly how retailers have adapted rapidly and effectively to changes in economic conditions and consumer behaviour. We work with many brands that are harnessing technology in truly exciting ways and I believe that we are entering a new era of omnichannel retail. Globally-minded and agile businesses that adapt quickly will reap the greatest reward.”

These trends are explored in more detail in fulfilmentcrowd’s latest research report, available to download here