Retail Trends For 2018
The big trend I see is that retailers are finally realizing that they must change. For many years, leaders of the retail industry were averse to change – they wanted everything to be smooth and as long as they beat “last year,” they were happy.
This is no longer possible.
In the past, it was the retailer who determined what a customer should want to buy and how they should shop. Today, it’s the customer who is defining the shopping experience. And a retailer is missing opportunities for sales when it operates in the traditional silos that kept merchandise categories and selling channels separate rather than coordinated.
The acceptance of omni-channel trade and digital savvy merchandising is important. Today it is a requirement for success. However, it is not only acceptance of new ideas, but I also see the need to review old systems and procedures. Store operations and mindsets must change.
Some have assumed that Amazon is going to kill the industry, that everything will be bought online. Well, as we have recently seen, it’s not that simple. On one side, we see stores like Walmart waking up and moving aggressively into the same online arena. And, Amazon is redefining itself as well. I am not surprised that Amazon is opening some stores, and buying companies like Whole Foods to gain dominance. I do believe that they will be a strong player but will not eliminate good competition.
2017 was the year of digital discovery. 2018 will be the year of technology and more integration of it into mainstream retail. It will be the year where we see retailers create new operating models that are less focused on their store vs. the web and more focused on creating experiences that gives customers more control and convenient ways to shop. I think it will be an exciting year where customers will find newness and creativity.
I predict that most well-funded retailers and department stores will adjust and survive. They will slim down further and concentrate on destination mega-malls. They will attract customers because they know fashion, have the brands that appeal, learn to have quicker turnover of their assortment and add innovations that take hold.
Article by: Walter Loeb