Archive for July, 2021

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Retail summer sales hit a four year high in June, according to figures from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) cited by the Guardian. As Covid restrictions lift, shoppers are returning to the high street, causing online sales to slow.

The combination of growing confidence as a result of the UK’s vaccination programme, and the easing of lockdown restrictions, has driven sales up. The result has been the strongest sales since November 2016.

With consumers heading back to the high street, the rate of online sales slowed to its lowest level since April 2020.

And as shoppers are encouraged back into physical stores, retailers are struggling to keep up with demand. The stock level versus expected sales demand ratio plummeted to its lowest level since the CBI first started monitoring it in 1983.

In the survey of 117 retailers, CBI found that retail, wholesale and motor trade businesses all described relative stock levels as ‘too low’. This is a trend we are seeing in many developed countries, driven by a global shortage of raw materials and supplies. The fear now is that manufacturers will be forced to drive up prices, the impact of which will hit consumers in the pocket, too.

According to a number of experts, the UK is poised on the edge of recession. The Resolution Foundation think-tank predicts consumer price inflation could rise to 4% this year. Meanwhile, the Bank of England monetary policy committee anticipates it will rise to above 3% (but is yet to specify an exact figure).

For now, sales in many areas look strong – home improvement, in particular. The CBI survey revealed that supermarkets, DIY, furniture, carpet and hardware retailers have all experienced strong sales this summer.

Department stores have seen sales return to expected levels for June. 

However, clothing shops are reporting slow sales with the majority of shoppers reluctant to buy a new summer wardrobe with the ongoing uncertainty around overseas travel.

There is still some way to go for retailers. Speaking about the findings, Ben Jones, CBI’s principal economist, stated: “The sector remains a long way from a full recovery.”

He continued: “The return of demand is patchy, with inner-city footfall still well down. The outlook is clouded somewhat by supply pressures, with stocks seen as too low compared with expected sales, as logistical and capacity challenges continue to hamper global activity.”

At Delta Group, we help retailers boost sales and stand out from the competition. To find out how we can help your business, get in touch today: hello@thedeltagroup.co.uk.

The global pandemic has meant retail will never be the same again. The strong surge in eCommerce during the Covid outbreak had a huge impact on the high street, but also helped lift spirits among lonely Brits.

According to a YouGov survey of 2,000 people, shared by The i, more than half of British consumers said their mental health suffered during the pandemic. Nearly a quarter said they used online shopping as a coping mechanism.

Speaking about the survey’s findings, Sabrina Spielberger, founder of Digidip, the advertising technology group that commissioned the research said: “The last year has been incredibly tough for many people […] but online shopping has allowed people to find small amounts of gratification.”

However, she highlighted that the expectation was that “a large number of people” would head back to physical stores now restrictions have eased.

Online retail therapy might have boosted customers’ spirits during lockdown, but it’s physical retail therapy many shoppers now crave.

After a year of lockdowns and loneliness, customers are desperate to connect once again. Digital retail experiences – while a comfort over the past 12 months – are too impersonal for many consumers and lack that human, personal touch. Shoppers are increasingly keen to experience the more natural, immersive, personalised experience of bricks-and-mortar retail.

Research by customer relationship platform HubSpot reveals that more than half of UK shoppers are keen to return in-store after more than a year of having to do the majority of their shopping online. Over half (52%) of those questioned said they want to shop in person again, while just 22% want to buy online.

As Christian Kinnear, senior vice president and managing director, EMEA, at HubSpot explained, retailers need to ensure consumers are able to engage with them “in a human way.”

He continued: “While the pandemic forced everyone online, the re-opening will be about balancing digital services with the human touch we’ve all been craving.”

At Delta Group, we help retailers and brands give customers what they want, in-store and beyond. Find out more: hello@thedeltagroup.co.uk 

Before Covid turned the way we work on its head, in-person events and meetings were a big deal. They allowed professionals to network, get away from their screens, and – dare we say it – have fun.

But the flipside of this was that events happened all the time. This meant they were time-consuming and could go on long past traditional office working hours.

Of course, that was all before the pandemic struck. Practically overnight we went from in-person events and meetings to the online variety, sometimes back-to-back. Zoom fatigue took hold and business professionals were as busy as ever – just in their own homes, rather than the office.

Today, as restrictions start to lift, the vaccination roll-out continues and offices begin to open their doors once more, employees are taking stock. For most people, a return to normality is welcomed. But many have become more mindful about how they spend their time, money and energy.

Are we ready to return to in-person events?

Events are still a crucial part of any marketing strategy, so it’s good to know that sentiment surrounding in-person events is largely positive. 

According to a survey by global event consultants Global DMC Partners, 70% of event planners are preparing to hold physical events by Q4 of 2021.

But while a return to events is a given, we shouldn’t expect them to be the same as pre-pandemic. Companies will be looking to create a balanced portfolio of in-person, hybrid and virtual events. The Global DMC Partners research revealed that many events will be much smaller, may require proof of Covid vaccinations, and could include testing on arrival. 

IRL vs virtual events

In-person events might be poised to make a comeback, but they’re going to have to be carefully considered and more intentional than ever before. So, we can say goodbye to events as we know them, and hello to a less hectic, more deliberate pace going forward.

According to Erica Metzger, beauty and fashion director at Better Homes & Gardens, you can describe these new-look events in one word: efficient.

Virtual events tend to work best when they are limited to around 30 mins. That’s just enough time to deliver a short, streamlined, informative presentation. But that doesn’t leave much time for the ‘experiential’ element. And it’s no secret that experiential can struggle to translate into a virtual forum.

While many miss the dynamics of an in-person event, it seems virtual events are likely to remain part of the events landscape post-pandemic. After all, they save time and make events more inclusive to attendees who are not able to get to a physical location. The expectation is that hybrid events will become more mainstream, offering guests a virtual option alongside an IRL experience. That way, everyone gets to take part – and event organisers can reach out to a much wider audience.

The new in-person events: 3 questions

With so many people keen to see the return of events with a more experiential focus, organisers need to be mindful of new challenges and considerations.

1 How to add value to an event?

You don’t want to organise just any event. You want an event that feels poignant, makes attendees feel special and creates an experience to remember. Product trials, demos and other in-person experiences are hard to replicate via virtual events, so will be welcomed by attendees. 

2 What Covid safety procedures are required?

For some attendees, the idea of returning to in-person events could cause some feelings of anxiety. It is important to make sure guests are fully aware of the safety measures being taken and the Covid-safety procedures being followed. 

Be very clear about mask wearing, on-site testing, or vaccination status checks. Equally, the size of an event could have a bearing on how comfortable a guest feels. Larger events aren’t going to appeal to everyone. Smaller events can result in more meaningful interaction and offer value to brands and attendees alike. 

3 Is an in-person event absolutely necessary?

One really important question any event organiser needs to ask themselves in 2021 is whether the need to gather in person is absolutely essential. If it is, then the wheels for a physical event should be set in motion. But if it’s something that could work just as well via Zoom, then that option needs to be thoroughly explored. 

As we move forward, people are going to become more selective about which events they actually attend – so the more experiential, the more appealing an event becomes. Meanwhile, travel is also going to be a major consideration for some attendees, not just because of the time it takes to get to and from in-person events, but also because of health and safety concerns when taking public transport.

At Delta Group, our experienced experiential team can help bring your in-person or hybrid event to life and engage with consumers post-pandemic. We bring brands to life, deliver memorable experiences and can help you reach your audience. 

To find out more, get in touch with the team today at: hello@thedeltagroup.co.uk