What 2018 Will Bring to the New Retail Economy?
As the retail industry is basking in what’s predicted to be a profitable holiday shopping season, we look to the year ahead, working to stay ahead of consumer trends, emerging technologies, and disruptive changes.
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Despite all the hype, retail is not dead - it’s thriving, and 2018 will hold a few new trends that add up to an exciting year.
Technology’s impact and supply chain transformation
It’s hard to define “tech” these days - technology touches everything, and retail is one area that has benefitted from innovation.
We’re already seeing how virtual showrooms and digital sourcing are helping retailers bring new products to market at speeds previously unimaginable.
Retail and sourcing professionals will be able to virtually pick up items, spin them around, see details like stitching up close and make changes faster - all from their own location.
This advancement will fundamentally change the retail supply chain as the pace and collaboration involved with product design and development increase to new levels.
Influencers and hyper-curation in the fashion and beauty industry
Given the increasing accessibility of technology and the widening impact of social media stars, we’re also going to see a rise in self-made, online fashion and beauty personalities seeking to monetize their influence.
This trend will mean more unique products and niche, community-driven consumer purchasing.
The demand for hyper-curated apparel and beauty products will push major brands and department stores to step up their game with unique and interesting private label products that keep customers interested and stay ahead of the competition.
Consumer demand for responsible sourcing
Finally, 2018 will bring increased pressure on brands to operate sustainably and responsibly.
Much like the buy-local/organic/free-range movement that has impacted the food industry, consumers will start demanding more information about where their products come from, under what conditions they were made and how the materials used in them were sourced.
Brands will need greater visibility into their suppliers, but will also need to re-envision packaging and labeling to better communicate this information to their customers.
About the Author
Sue Welch is the chief executive officer of Bamboo Rose and a frequent speaker on retail technology innovation. She is a successful entrepreneur and in retail and technology with five companies to her name.
Addressing the Gap with a Sourcing Network
One way to address this communication gap is to go digital with a sourcing platform in the cloud to support all the members of the design, sourcing & supply chain community.
A digital platform makes shopping more efficient, effective and fun. Shopping trips enabled through virtual showrooms mean seeing more products and suppliers while making it easier to collect and compare assortments across suppliers.
Digital sourcing also provides a single communication platform for ongoing collaboration and inspiration, across global time zones. It allows retailers to tap into suppliers’ ideas and advice on trends, markets and big initiatives the suppliers are seeing across many retailers.
As a result, you can speed up the time to market, stay on top of trends and make more profitable operational decisions. Companies can avoid issues like creating products that factories can’t make or items that won’t work in certain markets.
The digital sourcing process allows you to work with your retail community right from the beginning to inspire new ideas, create your next innovative product and get the best product to market at the right price.
Download the eBook: Digital Sourcing in the New Retail Economy