The year of retail’s redefinition is upon us, so says The NPD Group’s retail-industry analyst Marshal Cohen.
While 2016 had its bright spots — and was certainly a better year for retail overall than many predicted — fashions firms will bid farewell to the past 12 months as they wait with bated breath for better days to come.
Here, Footwear News gets the experts’ takes on the big retail trends that will dominate footwear and apparel in 2017.
Experience Will Continue to Win Over Product
“Consumers [are displaying a] willingness and propensity to spend but not purchase. It’s not about acquiring things — it’s about doing things. [People are seeking] adventure, memories and [want to] capture the moment. It’s about sharing what you’ve done — not necessarily what you bought. So we’re going to see consumers be very aggressive about spending, traveling, adventure and experiences — at the expense of product. That means that product [makers] are going to have to step up their game. Stores are going to really have to enhance the experience and do a better job of bringing the excitement of the product to the consumer.” — Cohen
Differentiation Will Be Key
“Retailers will [try to] differentiate from Amazon [by offering] exclusive merchandise. [Since] business will continue to shift to e-commerce, brands/retailers increasingly need to have a reason for the customer to buy from them. Differentiation is what will drive traffic and conversion.” — B. Riley & Co. analyst Jeff Van Sinderen
Burying Marketing’s Favorite Buzzword
“It isn’t going to be about omnichannel anymore — throw that out in the garbage. The fact that [companies] tried to use [omnichannel] as the answer for everything in retail was the scariest thing to me about 2016. They’re not doing anything … 2017 is really going to be about a few brands and retailers that take the leap and jump forward and get engaged with the consumers.” — Cohen
Doing More With Less
“Brands and retailers will continue to prune their store fleets and evolve their business models. There will be more focus on customer experience [and] buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) will be an important driver of traffic even more so in 2017.” — Van Sinderen
Athletic Will Forge Ahead
“We’re going to continue to see the casualization of America and the influence of athletic … the athletic brands are going to get more sportswear-like, and the sportswear brands are going to continue to get more athletic-like. From a footwear perspective, dress is going to continue to be less important. Hybrid product and new and innovative product are going to continue to be more important.” — Cohen
Where a Product Is Born Will Matter
“Country of origin has been very back seat when it comes to footwear — that’s going to change. Country of origin is going to be right there with the nameplate of a brand; as part of the marketing of the product; and as part of the DNA. That doesn’t mean Made in the USA is going to jump to the forefront — simply because we’re not going to be able to gear up that quickly — but you will see that those that have domestic production are going to play that card hard.” — Cohen
Price As the Ultimate Proxy
“We saw price enter into the equation in a big way during the holiday season, and we’re not going to see that go away. Price will continue to be a dominating component of purchase decision: where you can get it, when you can get it, how easily you can get it. Those kinds of things are going to be big determining factors. Deals and sales are going to be a prominent [player] in 2017.” — Cohen