Combatting the 2020 business rate rise

by 20 November 2019

In April 2020, the retail sector is likely to shoulder the brunt of a country-wide 1.7% rise in business rates.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) annually measures inflation, dictating whether business rates will rise for the following financial year. This rise of 1.7% means that in England, gross business rates will rise by £536.03m for the year 2020-21.

A hit to the retail sector

Recent findings from Altus Group, experts in real estate business rates, suggest that for the retail industry, this will equate to a sector-wide hike in bills of £136.92m.

The inflationary rises have received a scathing response from both UK retailers, including Tesco, and Altus Group alike. Alex Probyn, Altus Group’s UK President of Expert Services has said that: “Firms would greatly benefit from respite from increasing property taxes that are both uncompetitive and the highest across Europe.”

How can retailers respond?

So, what do these inflationary rises mean for your average convenience store or forecourt? Higher bills mean that every store will be looking inward to see where savings can be made, and revenue can be maximised.

Digitised stores

One way to maximise your revenue is to ensure that your store is up-to-date technologically. Modernised, well-equipped stores run more efficiently, allowing your staff to get more done, faster. Critically, better technology means you can operate a store that is able to process more transactions, with fewer staff on shift.

Installing a modern POS system is often the first step. With careful selection, the right POS will be both user-friendly and fast, meaning that your staff will be able to process sales quicker, cutting down queueing time and enabling them to get through a higher volume of customers. By installing an intuitive, easy-to-use system, you are also improving your staff’s working experience, resulting in happier staff who are motivated to work even harder. Similarly, easy-to-use technology results in less time training new staff, so they can start adding value to your store from the moment they join.

Improved shopping experience

Not only will your staff benefit from more efficient technology, but your customers will too. Customers now expect in-store technology to match up to the high-speed tech that they experience in their personal lives. For the convenience customer, who commonly just wants to grab their items and go, speedy transactions will greatly improve their shopping experience. Providing this positive in-store experience is the principal way of converting a one-time shopper, into a regular customer. Building a more regular customer-base is the ideal way to increase revenue.

Create upsell opportunities

Getting creative with promotions is key, as is being brave enough to alternate them regularly to respond to seasonal trends or even daily buying habits like breakfast or lunch. Our recent blog looked at the benefits of digital signage as a way of capturing impulse purchases and overcoming the limitations of traditional printed signage to draw attention to promotions.

More informed stock levels

Intelligent POS systems also enable you to analyse your sales, helping you to identify products that are selling well, and those that may be struggling. Not only will this support your sales promotions but it can also help you to cut back on product waste. Identifying product trends can help inform your ordering process too, helping to more closely match buying with actual demand. In the case of perishable foods in particular, this can help avoid over-stocking, meaning less capital tied up in stock, and less food waste.

With business rates rising, deploying new technology may seem like an expense that you just don’t need, but the benefits will have immediate and long-term cost-saving consequences and could be a vital ingredient in your strategy to minimise the effect.

To learn more about our POS solutions and the rest of our fuel and convenience retail solutions, get in touch with a member of the team.

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