Chart showing: Top Retail Challenges

Top Retail Challenges

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 needs to be managed well 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?

What are the top challenges in the retail industry: Survey results

Challenges in the retail industry

Percentage of respondents listing it as a challenge they’re currently facing

1. Inflation costs


2. Revenue


3. Interest rates rising


4. Affording employee benefits or health care


5. Supply chain issues


6. Employee retention


7. Access to credit or a loan


8. Lack of applications for job openings


9. Employee well-being/morale


10. Caring for family


11. Something else


12. Don't know


Retail industry challenges: top five

According to recent research, the escalating cost of inflation tops the list of retail industry challenges brands face. As of the first quarter of 2024, over half (52%) of small businesses acknowledge grappling with this pressing issue.

Following closely, revenue shortfall ranks as the second most prevalent challenge, with more than one-quarter (29%) of small businesses expressing concern. The widespread impact of rising inflation exacerbates this challenge across the business landscape. This is followed by rising interest rates, an issue that’s faced by 20% of small businesses.

Rounding out the five biggest retail challenges are being able to afford employee benefits or healthcare and supply chain issues, named by 17% and 16% of small businesses as an existing issue, respectively.

Top retail industry challenges: sixth- to 10th

Employee retention and obtaining access to credit or loans, a matter related to the impact of rising interest rates, also rank among the top challenges in the retail industry. Approximately 11% of retailers identify these concerns as ongoing issues they are actively addressing. Following closely behind, a lack of applicants to fill job openings is cited by 9% of retailers.

The ninth- and 10th-largest retail industry challenges are fostering the morale and well-being of existing workers and being able to care for family while attending to daily business operations, which 8% and 6% of brands identify as issues, respectively. 

Strategies business owners are implementing to overcome retail industry challenges

In an earlier survey, more than one-third of businesses encountering challenges in hiring new talent cite difficulty in finding candidates possessing the requisite skills and experience. Consequently, 41% of businesses aim to implement incentives encouraging current employees to refer potential candidates for job vacancies, while an additional 30% plan to provide benefits such as reimbursement for ongoing education.

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