Thursday, January 20, 2011

2011 Retail Trends (and what you can do about em)

2011! Hopefully you have had a great start to the new 11 year. In the gloom of January we amused ourselves by finding not 10 but 11 trends for 2011. And,  we added some ideas on how you can capitalize on these upcoming trends.
Here's the first five:

#1 - Consumer Price Sensitivity
As the recession drags on, customers are still looking for a deal. Pricing of product offerings need to be just right. Fair pricing is fine, but customers are expecting to stretch their dollar, and have retailers to assist them through bargain basement prices.

What can you do? 
Time to revisit your price strategy. Look at your profit margins and consider how you might be able to increase sales by lowering margins and focusing on volume. This works best in supplies and stationery product groups, as well as seasonal merchandise. You can also connect with dollar store wholesalers (there are many), where some informed and well considered low price point items can lure customers into your store. 

#2 - Grim days in Cotton Prices
Did you know that raw cotton prices increased by 91% last year? We are certain that this price spike will not be covered by wholesalers, but passed on to retail buyers and ultimately the consumer. Since all those Ts and sweatshirts are made of cotton, expect that your price points will need to rise to accomodate the manufacture price increases.

What can you do?
This might be the time to distinquish yourself from competitors. Consider sourcing garments made from other fabrics, such as rayon. You can really step apart from the crowd by sourcing garments made from recycled materials. Although expensive in the past, now might be the time to introduce them to your customer base.

#3 End of Baby Boomer culture.
Baby Boomers may wax glowingly over Sixties and Seventies culture, but now is the year for Gen X and Gen Y to go all nostalgic. Those in the alpha generation are taking over the culture cues in movies, music and fashion. So, expect lots of plaid to make its way back as "grunge nostalgia" hits. The upcoming release of "The Smurfs" animated movie is another example of the culture power from these demographic groups.

What can you do?
Time to reintroduce plaid into your product categories, and take a fun risk by stocking up on some Smurf like merchandise. Or Yogi Bear merchandise. Noticed how much the new Yogi movie has done at the box office?

#4 Death of the movie rental store.
The neighbourhood movie rental store is dead. Blockbuster is on its last legs, and everyone seems to have adopted Netflix and RedBox as the way to rent movies. Now movie rental kiosks are a common site at many retailers like WalMart and most grocery store chains.

What can you do?
Ride the wave. Consider setting up a movie rental kiosk in or around your store. It's a great, inexpensive way to provide a new and convenient service to your campus customers! Plus it's an easy product entry. Simply provide the space and power in your store and the rental company does the rest. Not a huge profit generator, but a great new service while drawing customers into your store.

#5 The Campus Invasion
 A number of national retailers have been wooing the college store customer on campus through pop up stores, campus events and promotions. Now WalMart has plans to open a store within a college campus community. With retailers looking to increase market share, the college campus commuinty is suddenly of interest. Look for more retailers to follow WalMart's lead as the next few years play out.

What can you do?
Campus administrators get all gaga when companies like WalMart come to their door pitching ideas. Time to brush off your presentation on the VALUE of the college store on campus, and focus on how large mass merchants can really hurt the store (and college) bottom line. If you have not talked to your boss about the college store contribution to operating revenues, scholarshps and student life, now if the time to do so.

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