Cost-of-living crisis – How leading UK retailers are supporting their customers and why you should too

Cost of Living

As the cost of living crisis deepens and inflation continues to soar, with some predicting it to peak at 22% in January 2023, it’s fair to say that the majority of shoppers are struggling with rising prices. So, as a retailer do you feel you have a responsibility to help your customers by mitigating price hikes? It’s clear that some of the UK’s biggest retailers do, with many leading the charge for affordable necessities.

Richard Walker, Managing Director of Iceland believes retailers have a part to play in making essentials available to those hardest hit by the current economic climate.

“It really is a time for business to step up and do more, but also for business to work with government to help form good policies and help policies that are already in place. They need to advocate and push as far as they can to help customers, as it really is very serious.”

So, how have the nation’s largest retailers reacted to the call for support? Many have launched initiatives designed to help their customers; let’s take a look at some of the solutions created by some of the most forward-thinking retailers.


Cost of living Halfords car maintenance

As petrol prices remain high and the cost of maintaining vehicles becomes prohibitive for some, Halfords have stepped in to help reduce what boss, Graham Stapleton, referred to as a “risk to road safety” by dropping prices on essential motoring items. They have also extended their price matching policy across more products and services, including MOTs.

Chief Customer Officer, Karen Bellairs, said:

“At Halfords, we see it as our duty to help drivers motor for less, and that’s why we’ve worked so hard to reduce prices across thousands of motoring essentials, strengthen our Price Match guarantee and made a new pledge that our Autocentres will always be up to 25% cheaper than car dealerships.”


Seemingly one of the quicker retailers to act on the cost of living crisis, Currys recently launched two programmes: the 12-Month Pay Delay scheme which helps shoppers to purchase essential technology but defer their payments, and the Price Lock promise which has frozen the price of several popular products to their lowest 2021 levels.

Chief Commercial Officer, Ed Connolly, said:

“We know that it’s distressing when essential tech breaks down and we want to help people replace the appliances needed for everyday life quickly, easily and in the most affordable way possible.”

In an attempt to reduce the environmental impact of tech destined for landfill, Currys have also reopened their Cash for Trash campaign which provides customers with store vouchers in return for recycling their old items.

Asda & Iceland

In support of their customers, Asda has launched their ‘Essential Living Hub’, an online resource which offers money saving advice on everything from food purchases to entertaining the family.

Iceland have followed similar suit with advice on increasing energy efficiency and other money-saving programmes in addition to financial aid schemes such as £100 interest-free loans supported by finance partner, Fair for You.

Tesco, Morrisons & Aldi

Cost of living food bank

The need for foodbanks has risen drastically throughout the last few years, and continues to do so as the cost of living crisis continues. While typically supported by members of the public making donations, new methods of support have been introduced.

Tesco has created a ‘round up’ service at the checkout where customers can choose to round up their spend to the nearest pound with the additional money being distributed to charity.

Morrisons take a cue from their local charities and food banks, asking them for a list of products which they are in need of and then pre-packaging them for shoppers to add to their trolley. These donations are then collected and distributed accordingly.

Meanwhile Aldi has donated in the region of 700,000 meals to those who need them most through their partnership with ‘Neighbourly’, a scheme which supports local communities.

Budget Ranges

Cost of living budget range

While budget ranges are nothing new, they have seen a resurgence this year, including Asda’s Just Essentials which has replaced the Smart Price product set. This has proven so popular that Asda have had to introduce purchasing limits as their stores were inundated with savvy shoppers hoping to bulk-buy products. It’s thought that once stock levels have recovered the rationing of these products will end.

It’s not just supermarkets focussing on budget ranges, with fashion retailer Very launching their own version, ‘Everyday’, which includes everything from wardrobe essentials such as school uniforms to home products.

Managing Director, Robbie Feather said:

“As the cost of living continues to rise, we know value for money matters more than ever to our customers”.

Meanwhile Boots have launched their own ‘Everyday’ range which includes 60 essential hygiene products such as shower gel, toothpaste and shampoo.

Head of Beauty Brands, Jenna Whittingham-Ward said of the need for such a range:

“At a time when many people are facing choices between heating and eating and we’re all bracing ourselves for a winter of feeling the pinch more than ever, I am delighted that we’re able to offer a no-compromise range to help customers make small everyday switches to help save money.”

How can smaller retailers help?

While we have offered examples from some of the UK’s largest retailers, there is no reason why smaller retailers can’t make a difference in their local communities by implementing similar strategies. Not only will these activities help to bring customers through your door, but you’ll be helping to make essentials more affordable to those who need them. And, if your competitors are behind the curve, you know where your customers will prefer to shop.

However, behind all of these schemes is a raft of technology which makes the necessary administration as easy to manage as possible. Adding new product ranges, accepting charitable donations and creating innovative discount schemes simply can’t be managed without a sophisticated EPoS and back office solution.

While the nation’s biggest retailers have the in-house resource and deep enough pockets to create a bespoke retail management solution, most businesses do not which is why selecting a customisable solution supported by a team of UK developers is ideal.

OpSuite is a sophisticated retail management solution which enables retailers to implement loyalty schemes, special pricing, new product lines and other key sales and marketing tactics across an entire estate of retail outlets from a single interface.  It’s ideal for bricks and mortar stores, eCommerce retail and omnichannel businesses with single or multiple locations. Manage your stock, purchasing, invoicing, fulfilment, pricing and all aspects of your EPoS with this secure, user-friendly, cloud-based solution from RMS.

To find out if OpSuite is a good fit for your retail business, book a discover call with one of our team of experts. We’ll assess your requirements and provide free, no obligation and impartial advice on whether OpSuite is the right solution for your needs. Simply call us on 0800 138 0050 to begin your journey with RMS.

Why choose RMS?

RMS have worked with ambitious businesses for over 18 years, supplying tailored software solutions and EPoS hardware throughout the UK and further afield. Please contact us and discover how we can support your business to increase profits with the latest technology.

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