2022 has been one hell of a year, so much so that we gathered all of our achievements into our first retrospective as part of CREOATE Wrapped 2022, which you can enjoy here.
Now 2022 is sliding into our collective rearview mirror, let’s begin to look forwards. We spoke to our seller community to gain insight into where everyone is at, and reflect on what the past 12 months have taught us about what may be ahead in 2023.
Reflecting on 2022’s Biggest Achievements
Achievements for our sellers varied across industries and product niches, but the word cloud below captures just some of the recurring words and themes mentioned.
‘With the ongoing covid and then shipping problems we were unsure which direction 2022 would take, especially with the changing economic situation’, says Susan Shuell, Senior Sales Account Manager for JC Unique.
‘Thankfully, we have seen a significant increase in sales in all areas of our business; Made to order, wholesale stock sales, and eCommerce sales. This has enabled us to increase our product range for 2023 and our staff numbers. Online platforms such as CREOATE allow us to ship items outside the UK with ease, which has also enabled us to boost sales.’
For other brands, achievement looked like running successful workshops, attending tradeshows, press features and awards, as well as strengthening relationships with existing retailers while welcoming new customers and retailers. For others, just staying afloat during such a turbulent period was considered an achievement in and of itself.
For The Raw Chocolate Company, a major achievement in 2022 was becoming B Corp certified. ‘We spent three years working towards this.’ says Senior Sales Executive Kris McGowan. Meanwhile, beauty brand UpCircle recently became B Corp certified too, and also proudly announced their certification by The Vegan Society.
With many brands already taking steps to become more sustainable, we asked our seller community what their key focus will be for 2023.
What Goals Are Brands Prioritising for 2023?
In our Seller Insight survey, over 81.3% of sellers shared that their main priority for next year is to reach new retailers.
Gaining new business will be crucial to brands looking to survive the crippling cost of living crisis and growing inflation set to worsen in the year ahead. The key to this is understanding what customers value to keep them coming back. According to Retail Dive, 93% of respondents in a recent survey said they would be more patient about shipment delays if the brand offered great customer service. A further 76% of participants believe that a bad customer experience is worse than a shipping delay. So, ensuring customer satisfaction is of utmost importance when attracting new customers.
With two out of three consumers believing themselves to be ‘belief-driven buyers’, sustainability and clear brand values are becoming increasingly more important. Coming second in CREOATE sellers’ list of priorities, 6.7% of respondents will be aiming to put the sustainability of their products first, while another 6.7% want to stay on top of the latest trends across their industry.
A Personal Touch
When it comes to changing customer habits in 2023, founder of Botanica Watches, Josh Elleray has three main predictions, ‘Sustainability will keep growing, and I believe our customers will move away from fast fashion. Personalisation also looks set to grow, which in the case of Botanica Watches means engraving will become more frequent. However, with all this in mind, price will always be a factor due to the current climate.’
Josh may be onto something, as in our Christmas 2022 Trend round-up, we touched on both the demand for sustainable gifts, as well as personalised presents. This demand for more a personalised gifting experience echoes recent estimates and forecasts that the global personalised gifting market is set to skyrocket. Having been valued at about 23.5 billion US dollars in 2019, the market is projected to grow to an estimated 34.3 billion by 2026.
As for sustainable gifting, while eco-friendly options are typically more popular with Gen Z and Millennial shoppers, it’s well worth offering greener options in your store to encourage as many customers as possible to make the swap.
JC Unique intends to meet the consumer appetite for eco-friendly swaps by making all their items out of recycled materials and thus creating a vegan-friendly range.
Meanwhile, Kris at The Raw Chocolate Company predicts plastic use will be on the decline next year. ‘For us, Zero Waste is Massive’, he says.
Predicting 2023’s Biggest Challenges
As anticipated, inflation, the cost of living crisis, along with rising bills are the biggest challenge facing the CREOATE seller community, with 71% of survey respondents highlighting this as a major difficulty for their business. 60.5% cited that finding new customers would be a challenge, a valid concern with customers reportedly cutting back on spending as a result of inflation. 84% of people in the UK advised that they had spent less on clothes for themselves in an attempt to save money long-term due to the cost of living crisis. Other actions taken include travelling less to meet friends, putting off a big purchase, and cutting back on trips in the car all at 72% of respondents.
Though wages are said to be rising, price increases are currently outpacing this growth when it comes to regular and total pay. This leads us to our 3rd and 4th major challenges for 2023 as decided by the CREOATE seller community, with 57.8% of respondents believing they’ll struggle to remain profitable and competitive, and 39.4% admitting that product margins are set to be a struggle. A remaining 21% are also anticipating difficulties adapting to changing buyer habits in the next year.
As far as predictions go, Kris of The Raw Chocolate Company states, ‘More people will be back on the high street, but looking to more experiences.’
Based on their respective industries, founder of Botanica Watches Josh Elleray expects to see more competition at cheaper prices within the fashion accessory and watch market.
‘I also expect there to be an increase in cheaper items, as the general public could be hard up for a while to come.’ says Susan Shuell, Senior Sales Account Manager for JC Unique.
New Year, New Mindset
It can be daunting heading into a new year, especially when the economic landscape looks more than a little rocky. But it's important to remain positive yet realistic. Map out your goals and consider reviewing them on a quarterly basis to see what's working, and what's not.
In need of motivation or support? Follow us on Instagram for tips, inspiration, and a whole host of other content to help bring out the best in your business. Browse our blog for more content about selling wholesale, keeping up with the latest trends, and growing a business.
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