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
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.
In 2018 and beyond, we’re going to see even greater impacts on speed to market with augmented reality, 3-D modeling, and AI/machine learning.
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.