Half of retailers paralysed by fear of failure

A fear of failure is crippling UK retailers, with 53% avoiding making decisions due to the possible consequences. According to research conducted by Opinium and LiveArea, a Merkel Company, business leaders are stuck in a period of stasis, unwilling to innovate or develop new features, products or services because of fear they may fail.

Retail innovation is clearly a priority in UK retail, with 81% of decision-makers stating these have become more important as a result of the pandemic. However, over two thirds (70%) believe they are not investing enough to innovate and transform their businesses to meet customer needs. This is borne out by the fact that a quarter (25%) have no process in place for discussing new ideas for products, solutions or features, while a further one in ten (12%) do not know if such a process exists within their business.

As well a lack of business structure, technology and culture are seen as central blockers to business development. Legacy technology (37%) company culture (33%), and lack of time (22%), were seen as the biggest barriers to business innovation.

“Covid-19 has changed UK retail forever. Those that have been able to rapidly innovate, test and implement are surviving and, in some cases, thriving, leaving others by the wayside. Many of the high street stalwarts that have failed have done so because they failed to grasp the importance of agility and innovation,” Samantha Mansfield, Head of Strategy EMEA at LiveArea, a Merkel company.

“No retailer can accurately predict consumer behaviour, so they must build a platform that can adapt quickly. Fundamentally, that means shifting to a digital, speed-first approach – developing technology and a culture to inspire innovation,” Samantha continued.

About the research

The study was developed by LiveArea, a Merkel company, and conducted in July 2021 by independent research agency Opinium, surveying 150 decision-makers* across retail in the UK.

*Decision makers include owners, chief executives, managing directors, directors and managers

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