Back to the future
On the whole, there’s much reason for retailers to be cautiously optimistic heading into the crucial holiday season of 2022, but the early signs are not promising. Supply chain disruptions slowly but surely continue to ease, suppliers’ fill rates are becoming more reliable, and logistics costs are trending downward.
Yet a slew of uncertainty remains. Abrupt changes in COVID-19 policies in Asia could quickly impact global commerce, as may the wavering conflict in Eastern Europe. At home, corrective interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve can prove “bitter medicine” in the short term, alarming stock traders and retail consumers alike. Could the 2022 holiday shopping season be an economic “last hurrah” before an approaching recession we’re being warned about?
Meanwhile, labor shortages continue to hinder every point along the retail value chain, from interstate trucking routes to the regional distribution centers to the local sales floor. We see a slowdown in blue-collar and tech jobs due to market corrections, but the services economy remains vibrant – we have more jobs than there are people wanting to work which continues to pressure retailers.
With so many external variables out there, retailers can still focus on proactive measures they can control—namely, looking ahead toward adopting advanced, data-driven forecasting tools to keep a step ahead of shifting consumer demand, accurately allocating goods across every sales channel, and automated lifecycle pricing to preserve the highest margin from every SKU.
In today’s capricious economic climate, these leading-edge technical solutions are steps retailers can take today toward becoming “disruption-proof” and maintaining their advantage in an ever-competitive marketplace.