Obtaining information from 87% of all retailers in the United States and much more across the world, Marshal Cohen has the statistics to back up his theories.

Marshal Cohen is the Chief Industry Analyst for the NPD Group and is a nationally known expert on consumer behavior and the retail industry.  The University of Arizona’s Retailing and Consumer Sciences students had the privilege of listening to him speak about what retail will be like in 2022.

“We’ve already changed, now they (retailers) need to change along with us,” said Cohen as he discussed how retail is not dying, it is evolving. The three major topics Cohen brought attention to were the new categories that have seen the most growth in 2017 and why, how focusing on one small category of growth is not enough to compete with the categories that have more volume, and lastly, private labels are becoming more popular than large brand name product.

Industry Growth

When you look at retail trends today, prestige beauty, for the third year running, is the best and healthiest business because they’ve figured out how to resonate with the consumer. Beauty may not be the largest sector in retail but in 2017 it has seen the largest amount of growth. When you look at every segment, there are specific reasons why apparel, footwear, and the accessories businesses are not growing at the rate they once were. The answer is Consumer-Based Trends.

Retailers must listen to what their customers want. Athleisure is a trend that evolved from customers. Yoga pants took off and now that’s all people want to wear. The market is flooded with different styles of leggings, hoodies, and sneakers. More people buy athletic wear to lounge around compared to actually working out in it. Slippers are another example Cohen brought up. People wanted to wear their slippers more often. When shoe companies realized this they started to make slippers with rubber soles so they would last longer.

One of the struggling markets Cohen pointed out is the accessory business. Fancier and luxury handbags are struggling because they failed to change along with the consumer based trend. If everyone is wearing athleisure, a fancy handbag is not going to go with most outfits. However, the luxury brands that started making fancier backpacks have done better because it fits the needs of consumers and flows with the new trend. The retailer has to change their products with the evolution of trends.

The retail industry is evolving because consumers are changing. When Zappos started selling shoes online, customers thought it was crazy to buy shoes without trying them on. Zappos introduced free shipping which gave customer’s what they wanted and people started buying shoes online. This idea of free shipping or free two-day shipping is changing the frequency at which people purchase because they can make smaller purchases.

How to Grow an Area of Business

Two major changes in consumers are the fact that people want to spend more time at home which is what Cohen calls “nesting,” and consumers want to spend more money on experiences and travel.

Cohen told a story about a retailer who recognized the trend of traveling, however, they kept thinking that they could not put all the traveling products together because they have specific departments and isles where things go. Cohen convinced them to put their travel products in one area of the store and the company watched the sales in that category triple! You must give customers what they want, and they will spend.

The only thing about focusing on these smaller growing categories is the concept Cohen calls, “leading to lagging.” As important as it is to focus on the growing category, sometimes the smaller categories to not make up for the loss that is happening in the higher volume ones.

The Prestige Beauty category is practicing the same concept but in a different way. As the make-up category is about to hit its highest peak, they start to look and create another leading category, such as skin care to rotate into the leading category.

Less Brands, More Private Labels

One way companies are taking advantage of this method is through the creation of private labels. Amazon bought Whole Foods to gain access to their private label, they have also created their own Fashion line and are expanding into more categories. Customers are realizing they can buy the same product at a lower price. For example, Amazon has gone after the same manufacturer as Lulu Lemon, however, their products are being sold at a much lower price. Customers hear Lulu Lemon and they start to place a higher value on the private label brand. From a retailer’s perspective, this is great because private labels mean higher margins.

After listening to Marshall Cohen, our retail students realized how useful data can be. Some of the methods retailers have been practicing for years are no longer effective because society does not work the same way it did ten years ago. Retail is not dead, it is just starting to evolve and it is going to be bigger than ever before.

Marshall Cohen, NPD Group – Full Video

 

 

 

I am currently a senior majoring in Retailing and Consumer Sciences while minoring in e-commerce. I hold the position of Social Media Manager for the Terry J. Lundgren Center For Retailing at the University of Arizona, where I am responsible for creating social media platforms that not only enhance our brand but also educate the world about retail trends. I am what you call a Retail Enthusiast, I am intrigued by the way the retail industry is evolving and what it has to offer. In my free time, I enjoy the outdoors, yoga, good music, and good company.

Retail Technology

The event, a first of its kind for Walmart, drew an exclusive group of high-tech brands, technologists and venture capitalists to debut the latest in VR.

Back in July, the startup incubator unit led by Store No. 8, put out an open call for companies in the VR space to pitch their best ideas for virtual reality that could transform the world of commerce.

Fyusion’s tech uses 3D image processing to curate Modcloth products in VR. Credit: Corinne Ruff

After sifting through 200 applications, Walmart’s head of e-commerce, Marc Lore, selected five companies to incubate for a period of eight to 12 weeks.

Talk about bringing you the full VR experience! Walmart’s No. 8 store held an exclusive event for the five companies to showcase projects.

The winning companies received funding to develop a concept for an immersive retail experience and they were guided by executives from Store No. 8 and brands like Modcloth, Bonobos and Rebecca Minkoff.

Walmart’s Future VR Adventure


E-Commerce

San Francisco has brought about many changes throughout history, from political/social movements to the emergence of Uber and now that fastest grocery delivery service. And it’s not Amazon!

Farmstead is an e-grocery startup that launched earlier this month in San Francisco. They are offering a free “Express Pickup” service that allows customers to pick up their online orders just thirty minutes after placing them.

With its new 30-minute pickup option, Farmstead, which refers to itself as a technology company rather than a grocer, has established the fastest order fulfillment time in the U.S. industry.

Farmstead is betting on speed to help it stand out from the competition.

E-Grocery Startup: Farmstead


Brick-and-Mortar

PetSmart is introducing a new store format to capitalize on their fastest growing market, pet grooming.

The Groomery, focused exclusively on pet grooming services, with the first locations opening in Manhattan and Oak Park. The new format features a salon-style modern design in a boutique-sized space of about 1,800 sq. ft. to 2,500 sq. ft., which is much smaller than a traditional PetSmart. It offers such classic pet grooming services as baths, brushes, haircuts, nail trims and grinds, teeth brushings, paw maintenance, flea & tick treatments and de-shedding.

They also capitalized on play-on-words, with high-end “Spaw” treatments for your pets. It’s an experience your pet will never forget.

PetSmart’s New Store Format


Socail Media

I am currently a senior majoring in Retailing and Consumer Sciences while minoring in e-commerce. I hold the position of Social Media Manager for the Terry J. Lundgren Center For Retailing at the University of Arizona, where I am responsible for creating social media platforms that not only enhance our brand but also educate the world about retail trends. I am what you call a Retail Enthusiast, I am intrigued by the way the retail industry is evolving and what it has to offer. In my free time, I enjoy the outdoors, yoga, good music, and good company.

By MIRIAM GOTTFRIED

Aug. 17, 2016 3:03 p.m. ET

“Fashion changes, but style endures,” or so the clothing designer Coco Chanel once said. As American Eagle Outfitters and Urban Outfitters reaffirm their place in the former category, investors should reconsider the value they assign to the teen retailers. Continue reading

I am currently a senior majoring in Retailing and Consumer Sciences while minoring in e-commerce. I hold the position of Social Media Manager for the Terry J. Lundgren Center For Retailing at the University of Arizona, where I am responsible for creating social media platforms that not only enhance our brand but also educate the world about retail trends. I am what you call a Retail Enthusiast, I am intrigued by the way the retail industry is evolving and what it has to offer. In my free time, I enjoy the outdoors, yoga, good music, and good company.