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Why are retailers reporting confidence in the face of economic uncertainty?

Salesforce and the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) have released new research today which reveals 83 per cent of ANZ retailers have strong confidence in their organisation’s ability to close sales deals despite changing social and economic conditions.

The report, which surveyed nearly 8,000 sales professionals worldwide including 135 sales leaders, managers and representatives who work in the retail and consumer goods sectors across ANZ, uncovered how sales teams are adapting to evolving external challenges and customer demands to drive efficiency, productivity, and success now for their business.

It found 78 per cent of ANZ sales leaders say selling is harder than it was two years ago, with unpredictable market conditions, competition with other businesses, and changing customer expectations amongst the biggest challenges to sale’s teams overall goals.

Yet despite ever-changing market conditions, retail sales professionals are prepared for the future. Eighty-two per cent of sales professionals are very confident in their organisations growth strategy over the next year, with 81 per cent feeling confident that on the whole their organisations are able to retrain or reskill their sales workforce for today’s new economy – with a renewed focus on productivity and efficiency.

What did the research find?

  • Retailers feel stifled by a complex and competing sales environment: Globally, 42% of respondents say company-wide sales strategies and selling techniques have completely changed since the pandemic.
  • Technology is taking on growing importance: Retailers say data-driven tactics, improving training on tools and technologies, and improving data accuracy and quality are amongst the most important factors to drive growth over the next year.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) key to enabling a productive workforce: AI is becoming more entrenched in day-to-day activities, with 45% of retailers saying AI has supported a major improvement in the use of sales reps time.
  • Employers are focused on improving the staff experience: But new headcount is limited – the turnover of sales professionals over the next 12 months is expected to be 26%.
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Paul Zahra, CEO, Australian Retailers Association says “the world of retail is evolving at an ever-increasing pace and sales professionals know better than most the importance of meeting the customers where they are. The pandemic accelerated changes and shifts towards omnichannel retail and demonstrated that those willing to harness technology and innovation to meet their customers needs were able to be resilient in the face of crisis.

“Retailers who used the past few years to consolidate their technology strategy are now reaping the benefits of sophisticated systems set-up to support growth and success.

“Despite the record sales numbers expected in the tail-end of 2022, retailers need to be preparing for an uncertain 2023. Agility, future focus and maximising efficiency are key skill sets needed within retail teams. Focus needs to remain customer-centric, as loyalty and retention are imperative to success in the coming years.”

 

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