The numbers keep rolling in: a warm winter left many retailers out in the cold in November and December and even deep discounts couldn’t tempt shoppers to pick up coats, hats and sweaters.
Combined with the fact that foot traffic has been falling—a RetailNext survey last June reported that visits to physical stores had declined by 9.8% year-to-date—while e-commerce continues to gain steam and it’s clear that retail needs a reboot.
So, what’s in store for the industry in 2016? Technology firm Edited highlighted some key trends it’s predicting will drive demand in the next 12 months—and omnichannel and m-commerce are not among them.
Katie Smith, senior fashion and retail analyst, pointed to an increase in electronic pricing as retailers endeavor to align with competitors across all channels.
“Too many retailers have been stung by downwards spiraling of price point and the worst hit won’t be in a position for an about-turn in 2016,” she said. “But there does need to be a greater monitoring at the product development stage to make sure the right price is secured as the first price and will be a top line priority for most retailers in 2016. Steadily this will win back the full-price shopper.”
“In an age where Uber can deliver puppies to your office or you can ‘one-tap’ order a pizza through your Apple watch, apparel retailers need to up their game,” Smith continued, adding that same-day delivery is something shoppers want worldwide, as well as access to real-time inventory data. “There’s a heck of a lot of logistics that need figuring, so retailers had better get creative. Drones might not be a viable option, but delivery to train stations and gyms could work.”
Food is in fashion
Ralph Lauren has a coffee shop on the second floor of his Polo Ralph Lauren flagship in New York City. Burberry has one at its London flagship. Even Urban Outfitters has UO Café on the ground floor of its Herald Square store.
“This year an increasing number of retailers will create destination retail spots with the aid of food and beverages,” Smith said, noting, “Dwindling footfall is just one sign that people don’t just want to shop—they want destinations. And at a time when food and drink spend is strengthening, why not serve them the stuff they want in the hope they buy some clothes alongside?”