(Image credit/Pixabay/Ranjat M)New research has found that less than half of UK SME retailers think they will be thriving at the turn of the next decade. The research by finance solutions provider, Duologi, found that just 46% of small and medium sized retailers (SME) retailers think their business will be successful in 2030.

One in 10 retailers said they worry that they cannot keep pace with demands of the rapidly evolving retail industry. A quarter (24%) cite keeping up with new technologies as their biggest challenge over the next 12 months.

Those in the sports and leisure (57%), jewellery (54%), electrical (53%). Health and beauty (53%) and fashion (45%) industries cited new technologies as their greatest challenge in the next trading year.

Prepared for the future

While just over half (54%) feel confident that their business is prepared for the future. Research finds half of UK retailers losing sales through lack of investment in omnichannel technology, including apps and marketplace platforms.

(Image credit/LinkedIn/Michael Bevan)
Michael Bevan, CEO of Duologi

Michael Bevan, CEO of Duologi said, “Some retailers are continuing to go through a tough time. The struggles of the high street well documented in the press. However, the problems of retailers, in particular small and medium sized businesses, are multifaceted. There isn’t one simple solution to easing their troubles. Although, recent research found that a lack of payment options has shown to reduce online sales by up to 30%.

Research shows retail finance can boost customer spend, basket size, increase brand loyalty, attract impulse shoppers and drive return visits. However, many SME retailers do not currently see its potential return on investment. Just 10% of retailers saw POS finance as a way to grow their business. Only 11% believe that POS finance was a method to drive return visitors.

Innovation and finance

Bevan continued: “Innovative and varied finance options offer a number of benefits, ones that forward-thinking businesses should be taking advantage of. They enable customers to spread cost of purchase over a longer term, with no interest to pay at the end. This can ultimately increase both sales volumes and average order size for retailers of all sizes.

The Finance, an SME issue report surveyed 500 SMEs across a range of retail sectors. It found 27% of customers said they now expect POS finance from SME retailers when shopping in-store or online. This illustrates a shift in consumer payment expectations and attitudes.

Bevan added, “Given that finance drives on average 40% growth for retailers, it would seem the 21% of retailers that have not considered offering finance to their customers are indeed missing a trick when it comes to future-proofing their business for the next decade. If retailers of all industries want to give themselves the best chance of survival, they should lean on suppliers which can offer them the most innovative a practical solution to their immediate problems – with research reporting a 10% increase in the past two years, in the number of customers now considering using POS finance.

Enterprise Times: What this means for business?

This report highlights that the retail market in the UK is under intense pressure. Less than half of SME retailers think they will be thriving in the next ten years. Competition is fierce, and even longstanding household names are feeling the pressure to keep pace. Recent store closures across the UK high street are just one such example of this.

It is, therefore, more vital than ever that brands set their business apart from competitors and keep up with today’s savvy consumers. Innovative technology tools are helping to achieve this. Streamlining processes that allow merchants to provide the best possible experience for their customers.

The report attempts to explore the consumer credit market. It explores the opportunities that exist to boost sales by creating a point-of-difference amongst their customer base and beyond. However, it feels a bit ‘old school’. The report appears to encourage the belief that 0% finance is the key solution for retailers.

However, 24% of SME retailers cite keeping up with new technologies as their biggest challenge. This is the real challenge for SME retailers, in their battle to survive into the 2030s.


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