With the second half of 2019 in full swing, one thing is clear: The shoe business is shifting faster than ever before.
During a panel at FN Platform today, Beth Goldstein, executive director and industry analyst at NPD Group, joined Leslie Gallin, president of footwear at Informa, to discuss four strategies shoe companies should focus on to drive their business in 2020 and beyond.
Pay Attention to July Retail “Holidays”
From Amazon Prime Day — which extended 48 hours this year — to the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, brands and retailers alike are going all out with marketing blitzes in the height of summer. “July will start to become a bigger piece of the business,” Goldstein said, noting that fall and back-to-school shopping now kicks off earlier thanks to Prime Day, which has prompted other retailers like Walmart and Target to offer up big sales of their own. “There is now that fear-of-missing-out feeling,” Goldstein said, noting that functional footwear styles were big sellers during this period.
Sustainability Is a New Way of Life
Sustainability is at the top of every company’s agenda this year, but it’s critical to do it right. “It’s a new way of life,” Goldstein said. NPD found that a quarter of all consumers will pay “a little more” for eco-friendly products, with younger shoppers even more willing to dish out a few extra dollars. But the conversation should go beyond product. Companies should educate consumers about why these initiatives are critical, Goldstein said, and focus on the bigger picture when it comes to the environment.
Take a Stand
In addition to sustainability, many brands are taking action to encourage inclusivity. While gender neutral collections have become more common, some companies are also starting to develop adaptive footwear to cater to groups that are underserved in the fashion industry. Outside of new products, companies are emphasizing more diversity in their advertising. Pride Month in June, for example, brought LGBTQ initiatives to the fore.
Be More Relevant
“Be bold, be controversial,” Gallin told Platform attendees. Thinking outside the box is crucial for every brand and retailer that is looking to set itself apart. Nike, for example, just announced its new subscription service for kids, while the rental market continues to heat up. “It hasn’t been [as big] in shoes, but it’s coming,” Goldstein said. In addition, companies like Afterpay and Klarna are revolutionizing the way consumers shop and pay for their purchases.