This comes as promising news after a particularly bleak December which saw a nearly 4% drop in sales due to inflation driven price increases and swelling Covid-19 cases. This drop was reflected in our call data which saw volumes down 29% compared to the year before.
By the end of the first week in January, calls to retails were up 33% month-on-month. The surge in calls wasn’t short-lived as, another week later, the month-on-month uplift had grown to 45%.
By the end of January, calls to retailers were up 124% compared to December.
While it’s not uncommon for the sector to see a month-on-month improvement in call volumes at the start of the year, this 124% lift eclipses the growth we saw last year, which, by comparison, now seems meagre despite being a healthy 50%.
Call volumes in the retail sector have seen a very strong start to the year. Our data shows a 7% improvement compared to 2021.
Retailers are no doubt pleased to see this upward trend. Especially as it’s the biggest monthly rise they’ve seen since Covid restrictions began to ease and shops reopened last spring.
However, not everything is on the up. The proportion of online retail sales fell to its lowest level since the e-commerce boom of March 2020 and in January, the online share of retail sales fell to 25.3%.
While this dip is no doubt partly due to a rise in high street footfall, the volumes of calls we’re seeing indicate that not all shoppers are heading out of the door when they want to make purchases.
While the long-term impact of the pandemic on consumer habits remains to be unseen, one thing that is clear is shoppers’ desire to speak to people as they move through the stages of their purchase journey.
When consumers talk to a real person, they can ask nuanced questions, and receive reassurances about any doubts they have. Given the impact that rising prices are having on disposable income and the discerning nature of the modern shopper, catering for these shopping habits and consumer preferences is a must.
This certainly isn’t a bad thing as the impact of these interactions can be particularly powerful for retailers – especially when they happen over the phone. As our latest eBook explains, with the right technology in place, phone calls can become a fantastic source of insight into the true actions, thoughts and feelings of customers. And these insights can be used to make more informed decisions and improvements across marketing, sales and contact centre operations that will help to grow revenue.
When shoppers reach for their phones, will you be ready?
Rising call volumes present retailers with a valuable opportunity to understand which tactics have the power to drive more sales.