Every year, we reach out to retailers and ask them about the previous year for our Retailer's Challenge Report. Our goal is to get our finger on the pulse of retail. What were the biggest hurdles they faced? What successes did they have? How do they view the future? This data is particularly useful to brands looking for insights on how to grow their wholesale channels.
This year surfaced an interesting piece of information. In a year of supply chain issues, the great resignation, and inventory woes, 83% of the retailers we surveyed reported growth.
And our research isn’t the only place this growth is being reported. The Grassroots Outdoor Alliance specialty retail growth report showed a 29% growth in sales.
Why Retailers Grew
There are a couple of factors contributing to this growth.
First, there is an increase in consumers interested in outdoor activities. The pandemic and work from home situations drove consumers to seek new activities that mitigated the risk of Covid-19, and allowed them to take advantage of the extra time they had as a result of not having to commute.
One of the retailers in our research noted “we grew due to increased tourism in our town.” Another stated that “higher consumer demand for outdoor goods and increased tourism” led to an elevated bottom line for their store.
“Over the past year at our stores, we've experienced growth across many departments as many others have experienced in the industry. Participation in outdoor activities and hobbies really increased throughout the last 24 months and that is directly reflected in our sales of outdoor equipment as well as accessories to go along with that equipment.” Says Ryan Dean, General Manager at Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus. “Customers want to get outside, enjoy time with family and friends, and many have picked up new activities or started back at an activity that they had done years ago.”
Additionally, once consumers felt safe due to vaccinations and lifted lock downs, they eagerly began returning to stores. One retailer noted in our survey that “people were happy to get out and shop in person - seeing people, seeing and touching merchandise. People were trying to support their local business.”
There’s a third piece to this puzzle as well, noted by a few of the retailers in our research. Due to supply chain issues and the difficulty of actually getting product in, “online buying was not working the way it used to and frustrated consumers.”
According to Dean, “...the issues with supply chain have created a buy it now phenomenon....’If you see it buy it.’ Customers know products in many of the categories we carry are in short supply so they tend to pull the trigger faster knowing it may not be there the next time they stop in.”
Indeed, as we move into 2022 and D2C becomes less profitable than it has in the past, the push toward brick and mortar has become even more valuable for brands looking to capitalize on that retailer growth.
What It Means For Brands
Retailers are working hard to navigate turbulent times, and they’re reaping the benefits of that, seeing growth in their bottom line. And that opens up some opportunities for brands. If your retailers are growing despite disruptions, imagine what would happen if brands offered support to address retailer’s specific pain points?
We can see some clear guideposts for how brands can support retailer growth in the 2022 Retailer Challenge Report.
Handling supply chain issues is problematic, and our research surfaced that fact that many brands don’t have access to accurate inventory levels from a brand. This is one of the key pieces of information a retailer needs to mitigate the issues created by a stagnant supply chain. Providing a window into inventory, inside a B2B platform, will greatly easy the pressure on your retailers.
Additionally, retailers are in and out of different digital platforms all day as they manage assets and place orders. Brands that want to support retailers and reap the benefits of growth need to streamline their process by ensuring that all their educational experiences, marketing assets, and commerce tools can be easily accessed in one platform, 24/7.
Want to see more of the challenges that retailers are facing, and learn how your brand can ensure that your channels continue to grow along with you accounts? Download the 2022 Retailer’s Challenge Report today.