A view from the experts: The opportunities and challenges in US retail

Fourth investigates the retail industry’s priorities for 2023

Retailers across the US have spent the past few years navigating a turbulent retail landscape, including store closures, supply chain issues, and talent shortages. This year, the challenges are evolving, and retail now faces a global recession, soaring inflation, and the spiraling cost of living.

Despite these challenges, retailers remain resilient, and there is renewed optimism for recovery and growth. Although spending remained strong by the end of 2022, retailers should plan effectively and procure technology that meets their needs and unique business challenges, to navigate this unpredictable landscape successfully.

In our latest research, Fourth surveyed 250 retail leaders and 250 retail employees in the US to explore the state of the retail industry.

We delved into four focus areas:

  • How leaders are responding to economic conditions and changing spending behaviors
  • How talent shortages in 2023 will impact both retail leaders and employees
  • How to support a workforce struggling with cost-of-living-related financial stress
  • How to boost efficiency and support your staff with retail technology

Download the report

Key takeaways from the survey

Retail leaders’ top three business worries for 2023:*

  • 68% Supply chain challenges
  • 44% Price increases
  • 42% Talent shortages

* Survey question asked: What, if anything, are your biggest business worries for 2023?

Financial worries are top of the agenda, with employees calling for earned wage access

  • 83% of retail employees think access to earned wages reduces financial stress
  • 31% of retail leaders plan to, or already offer earned wage access

87% of retail leaders are worried about talent shortages in 2023.*

Retail employees expect continued pressure from understaffing will result in:

  • 56% Overworked & under-appreciated
  • 50% Extending beyond job description
  • 45% Insufficient people on the floor
  • 40% Inexperienced staff helping customers
  • 36% Long recruitment processes

* Survey question asked: Considering the current economic challenges, how worried, if at all, are you about talent shortages in your business in 2023?

Retail technology makes employees’ jobs easier. Must-haves for 2023 are:

  • 50% real-time communication apps
  • 47% better point of sale automation technology
  • 43% online paychecks
  • 38% digital scheduling
  • 33% warehouse automation & dark retail
  • 17% eCommerce presence

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