As the cost of living continues to bite, inflation hits a 40-year high and the UK sinks further into recession, customer confidence is plummeting – and brands are searching for an appropriate
For those operating at the lower end of the income scale, it’s much more than a comms problem. Customers have no choice but to cut back their spending, and that’s leading some high street names to explore new ways of doing business.
Take Iceland. The frozen food specialist is partnering with ethical lender Fair for You to give customers access to an interest-free micro-loans to spend in-store or online, via a pre-paid card. On one hand, it’s basically just a form of store credit – on the other, it’s a genuinely helpful intervention for Iceland customers. It’s still rooted in their core purpose – selling food – but it’s coming at it from a new angle. According to The Big Issue, 50,000 people applied to the scheme in its first week.
Poundland, meanwhile, is expanding its range – and changing the way it’s merchandised – with a new ‘cost of living’ aisle. Rolling out to 300 stores over the next 12 months, these aisles will host an expanded range of discounted items, including frozen food and own-brand clothing. Again, it’s not a complete change from business as usual – Poundland has always sold cheap goods, including non-frozen food – but a shift in approach, and in execution.
In the middle of the market, the focus is less about new initiatives, and more about reassurance. Tesco – still the UK’s largest supermarket by some distance – has promised to keep the weekly shop as affordable as possible and is freezing the prices of more than 1,000 everyday products until 2023. Asda and Morrison’s have made similar pledges.