UK retail sales posted the strongest quarter on record


With ‘freedom day’ fast approaching, retailers will need to prepare for a rush of holiday and work-related purchases with AI-enabled forecasting, as well as invest in creating a personalised, unique experience that keeps shoppers coming back, even after the initial excitement has worn off.

Sachin Jangam warns that retailers must take this welcome news with a pinch of salt:

“The fact that UK retail sales posted the strongest quarter on record shows that shoppers have wasted little time getting out and spending. The Euro’s excitement has inevitably boosted this, with consumers making the most of the sunnier weather and recently opened hospitality venues to return to high streets.

“This is welcome news, but retailers must take it with a pinch of salt. Despite ‘Freedom Day’ approaching, we may see a petering off of brick-and-mortar sales as concerns about virus transmission are brought back to the front of shoppers’ minds. Physical retailers need to invest in creating a personalised, valuable experience that customers can be confident in. This goes further than just offering the products they need, by also providing the social, enjoyable and safe experience that so many are currently seeking. To achieve this, retailers need to invest in understanding their customers, by collecting and understanding consumer data through effective digital marketing engagement programmes.

“Agility in the buying process will also be vital for retailers in the coming months. Once the return to travel and work ensues, there will be a seismic rush in purchases of both holiday clothes and workwear. This will be an opportunity to make back the considerable losses experienced over the past year, but only if retailers have the stock ready. This preparedness will be difficult to achieve, but can be helped along by analysis of consumer shopping patterns and behaviours, and even predictive AI and ML tools to forecast short-term demand.”