Rethinking retail strategy for recession resilience

We’re thrilled to be contributing once again to Raconteur and The Sunday Times 'Future of Retail 2022' report about the issues facing customers, brands, and retailers today. In light of the cost-of-living crisis, and rumours of a potential recession, the report this week touches upon rethinking retail strategy for recession resilience; our Brand Experience Strategy Director, Luke Weston, shared his thoughts.

Read the report here

There’s no one template or strategy, no one-size-fits-all solution, however, we’ve identified five focus areas for brands to consider in building a ‘recession-proof’ retail strategy:
  1. Laser focus on the essentials: It’s time to strip back the superfluous and focus on those famous-for products. Own-brand enables businesses to utilise customer data to bring targeted cost-savings and innovation where it matters most. No longer a trade down, smart brands are challenging negative perceptions by investing in innovation and design credentials to position it as the smart and desirable choice from a trusted brand.
  2. Reframe the value conversation: Maintaining a positive and inspirational narrative in a world of price pressures is crucial to keep customers engaged and brand experiences relatable. John Lewis & Partners recently launched their own brand ‘ANYDAY’ to boost value perception, attract new demographics, and offer quality at unexpected prices.
  3. Offer enhanced flexibility and control: In uncertain times, customer control boosts confidence in non-essential spending. The rise of ‘buy now, pay later’ services— such as Klarna — reinforces customer desires to flex their finances in line with their lifestyle choices. But watch out, there’s a fine line for brands between offering flexibility versus encouraging reckless spending. It’s down to brands to encourage their customers to shop responsibly.
  4. Leverage data for next-gen loyalty: In times of hardshipcustomers turn to brands that can help them stretch their money further. Loyalty programmes are nothing new, but smart brands are utilising CRM to innovate and personalise; intercepting and influencing at key moments to build affinity and lock-in customer loyalty.
  5. Diversify to unlock new customers and routes to revenue: Beyond mere opportunism, when done right, brands are building out from their purpose and leveraging existing customer trust, to innovate and extend into new categories, product lines, and service models where there is real customer appetite and need.

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss ‘recession-proof’ strategies in more detail, and what this might mean for your brand or business.


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