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How can retail recruitment align to 2023’s retail landscape?

28th July 2023
The retail industry has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, with continuous changes shaping the way businesses operate. I thought I’d explore the key trends that have reshaped the industry while specifically focusing on the impact they have on retail recruitment (Seven’s particular area of expertise!).
  1. The Clubcard Revival:

2023 appears to be the year of the Clubcard, as retailers recognise that customer loyalty is paramount in a highly competitive market. Many retailers are enhancing their loyalty programs to provide more personalised offers, discounts, and rewards to attract and retain customers. This shift towards personalised marketing strategies highlights the need for retail recruitment to bring on board data analysts and marketing specialists capable of utilising customer data effectively.


  1. Prioritising Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Packaging:

As consumer awareness regarding environmental issues grows, more retailers are making conscious efforts to adopt sustainable practices. Eco-friendly packaging initiatives, such as using recycled materials or biodegradable alternatives are gaining traction. This shift is driving the need for sustainable packaging experts, further impacting retail recruitment across the industry.

  1. Labour Shortage and the Aftermath of COVID-19:

The retail industry continues to grapple with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Labour shortages have become evident throughout all levels of the industry, causing strains on operational efficiency and customer experience. Some reasons behind the reluctance to work in retail we have picked up from talking to candidates are concerns over health and safety, the desire for remote work options (which just isn’t possible for many retail roles) and increased competition from other industries requiring similar skill sets.

  1. Supply Chain Disruptions and Panic Buying:

2023 has witnessed significant disruptions in the retail supply chain due to various factors, including driver shortages and crop failures. These disruptions often lead to panic buying and stockpiling among consumers (research has shown, if you limit the amount of a product people can buy, sales go up by up to 70%!). Retailers must look ahead and adapt their recruitment strategies to address challenges in logistics, stock management, and supply chain optimisation. Foreseeing and managing these disruptions will require skilled professionals, such as supply chain analysts and inventory managers.

  1. The Rise of Own Label and Premium Brands:

The economic fallout from the global pandemic has prompted many consumers to look for budget-friendly options. Consequently, own label sales have soared as major supermarket chains invest in their brand image to meet changing customer demands. This trend influences retail recruitment as supermarkets focus on product development, marketing, and brand management professionals. Furthermore, premium brands have experienced a sales boost as consumers trade-up on at home consumption (as an alternative to eating and drinking out). Retailers should make sure they have the required talent to help position and market these premium products effectively.

What’s Next for Retail?

Good question!

As we move forward, I reckon the retail industry will continue to adapt and innovate to meet evolving consumer expectations. Technology and automation will likely play a significant role in streamlining processes and enhancing the customer experience. Retailers could well prioritise bridging the gap between physical stores and e-commerce, creating seamless omnichannel experiences. Additionally, personalised marketing, sustainability, and improved supply chain management will likely remain key focuses. Retailers’ recruitment strategies will need to align with these trends, seeking professionals who can drive innovation, adaptability, and customer-centricity.

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Seven are experts in FMCG, consumer and retail recruitment.

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