Whether it’s increasing website traffic, managing social media marketing, or handling logistics, it’s clear that retail businesses today have a lot to deal with. All this to ensure the smooth running of their company operations and grow their business.

While there are smaller issues retailers can afford to put on the back burner, others may have a bigger impact on business and require urgent attention. So then, what are the main challenges facing retail today?

Start selling online now with Shopify

Start your free trial

Top retail industry challenges

According to recent research, coordinating experiential retail tops the list of retail industry challenges brands face. 57% of retailers say it’s an issue they will be facing over the next year. 

Experts say this is driven by an influx of digital brands into the physical retail space and changing consumer expectations. In fact, nearly one-third of consumers indicate that they’re likely to engage with experiential retail, and 40% of brands say catering to this demand and offering it is a top priority for them. 

The second-biggest retail challenge is driving in-store traffic, which is faced by 55% of brands. As consumers return to in-person shopping, retailers must focus on creating memorable experiences to attract traffic. This is followed by procuring and managing inventory, a challenge 54% of retailers will face.

Even though the world is finally starting to open up, some restrictions may still remain in place. Fourth on the list of the top retail challenges is adhering to COVID-19 regulations and protocols, with half of all retailers saying it’s a problem for them this year. It is certainly one area that brands need to tackle—95% of consumers expect retailers to implement COVID-19-safe arrangements for customers shopping in-store.

Breaking down organization silos and hiring and retaining employees also rank among the top challenges in the retail industry. 49% of retailers say they expect these to be issues they will have to tackle this year. 

The seventh- and eighth-largest retail industry challenges are securing affordable commercial leases and unifying online and in-store operations or data, which 47% of brands say they will face.

According to analysts, consumers today appreciate the unified online- and in-store shopping experience. Increasingly, they want to be able to purchase online and return the items in-store, or browse a product in a physical showroom and buy it online. Brands that can recognize this and overcome the online and offline disconnection will have higher chances of succeeding. 

Start selling online now with Shopify

Start your free trial

Want to learn more?