Xmas critical for retail as marketing staff crisis looms

Christmas_2023_2Retail media might be booming, with brands expected to spend $141.7bn (£115.8bn) by 2024 to advertise on online shopping sites and across outlets, but retail marketing departments are facing a staffing crisis as the economic pressures continue.

In fact, over four-in-ten (43%) retail marketers have witnessed an increase in staff turnover in the last 12 months, according to new research by product performance management platform ROI Hunter, with almost a third (31%) also being forced to let staff go because of the financial strain brought about by the cost-of-living crisis.

Of those who are recruiting, over a third (37%) of marketing leaders say they are struggling to attract new staff to fill the gaps; understaffed teams are becoming commonplace in retail organisations.

This is reflective of a wider issue in the marketing sector, where there is a particular shortage of people with data analysis skills, ROI Hunter maintains.

Increased pressure is mounting on marketing teams as they are forced to work with budgets that do not go as far as before, with 38% of retail marketers saying the uncertain economic climate is affecting adspend.

The study coincides with new figures which reveal that British retail sales have fallen to their lowest level since February 2021 as consumers curb their spending, meaning the looming festive season is likely to be a make or break period for most.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows sales volumes fell 0.3% month-on-month in October and 2.7% year-on-year. However, while sales volumes fell, retail sales values (the amount spent at the till) rose 2.2% month-on-month and 16.9% compared to the same period last year.

ROI Hunter chief executive Karel Schindler said: “The exodus of retail marketers will only continue without sufficient support to drive effective and efficient online marketing.

“Retailers can empower marketers through cross-team collaboration by leveraging real-time product performance data insights: marketing teams can use margin and adspend data to redirect the average 20% of their dynamic spend that currently goes to products with negative ROI, and commercial teams can understand if a product actually needs to be discounted, or just needs more promotion.

“Amid shrinking budgets and inflation pressures, retailers need to unlock new opportunities like these and challenge the status quo.”

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