Current Issues

Regular Industry Development Updates, Opinions and Talking Points relating to Manufacturing, the Supply Chain and Logistics.

In the future, retail is all about embracing "temporary"

24-Jan-2018
In the future, retail is all about embracing
There’s nothing quite like the holiday season in retail. The last few months of the year carry so much weight that, when the dust settles in January, we all have to collectively catch our breaths and remember there’s a whole new year of challenges and opportunities ahead.

One word that seemed to dominate 2017 in retail, was apocalypse. As in, “the Retail Apocalypse is upon on us!” Between a record number of store closures and a handful of big bankruptcies, retailers were clearly going the way of the dodo.

High streets resembled ghost towns, brick-and-mortar stores no longer had a place in our shopping experience, and all future transactions would be done via smartphone.

It all made for good headlines and horror stories, but as it turned out, news of retail’s demise was greatly exaggerated. Holiday sales grew nearly 5% over the previous year, and while some retailers didn’t make it out of 2017, there is renewed optimism that the market will continue to grow.

The last chapter of this book has yet to be written. But what does the next chapter—the one for 2018—look like? In a word - “temporary.” Coming off the holiday season we have already seen retailers lean hard on seasonal, temporary labour, brought in to complement the existing workforce to deal with the increase seasonal business.

The issues of seasonality will not go away. The Thanksgiving through Christmas shopping season will be back in 2018 around the third Thursday in November. Of course, there will also be other events that drive seasonal behaviours – back to school, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and so on.

There will be a need to add labour, investment and capacity to deal with that seasonal surge, whether in store, at the distribution centre, or for logistics.

And the notion of temporary fits a lot of modern retail elsewhere. We are witnessing more and more retail leaning on pop up stores to give themselves a physical presence without making the long-term investments in real estate.

We are already seeing large brands such as Adidas, Toys R Us, and Yankee Candle as well as new comers like Ministry of Supply leaning on the temporary brick-and-mortar stores. These temporary store fronts allow retailers and brands to experiment with store lay outs, inventory mix, and locations. The pop up store can have laser focused inventory which matches up with seasonal drivers.

Faster inventory turnover is critical for these temporary shops to succeed. For example, retailers like Zara are disrupting the industry by changing the notion of seasons. Rather than focusing on four seasons, new collections are focused on weeks rather than months. But with these quicker fashion cycles, there is greater pressure on getting the mix of product right. At the same point, if you make a mistake you can recover sooner, since the next round is coming in quickly.

Retailers must learn and adjust faster and with greater speed than before. This notion of fast moving, temporary, inventory will become the norm. Brands and retailers must have a mindset focused on creating inventory in smaller and more nimble batches.

Retailers and brands need to embrace the term “temporary.” The idea of being built to last is passé. Consumers attention spans have shrunk and their expectations have grown. Our desire for the latest and greatest is only increasing. And our willingness to discard inventory for the latest models is the norm.

This plays well for the retailers and brands that have a savvy supply chain network, a network that allows them to be flexible, to understand the pace at which retail is moving. And embrace it.

64 per cent of manufacturers rate their shop-floor IT capabilities as just average, weak or non-existent
5 days ago
The supply chain lessons of the modern grocer
5 days ago
Time to mitigate the risk of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit?
1 week ago
App Insights: How can artificial intelligence innovate supply chain management?
2 weeks ago
Managing Technological Change Without any Supply Chain Disruption
2 weeks ago
Moody’s Blues for House of Fraser; but Website Failings are Just as Damaging
2 weeks ago
Artificial Intelligence: What’s Now And Next In IoT-driven Supply Chain Innovation
2 weeks ago
Indiana Jones and the supply chain bullwhip effect
2 weeks ago
How Enterprise Labeling Helps You Conquer Regulatory Challenges
3 weeks ago
3 Tips for Empowering Millennial Warehouse Workers
3 weeks ago
More robots means easier delivery - but what about the infrastructure?
3 weeks ago
Safety in the warehouse: Five key risk areas for 360-degree protection
3 weeks ago
Automotive resilience, not just airbags and crash tests, but IT too
3 weeks ago
New High Street panel is facing a race against a terminal diagnosis
3 weeks ago
Delivering the supply chain revolution
1 month ago
A market of one: the potential of the personalized supply chain
1 month ago
5 EIS rules you are probably not aware of
1 month ago
TMS: an enterprise priority
1 month ago
Labeling Solutions for Global Expansion
1 month ago
Prime Day will be a $1.6bn loss-leader creating millions more Prime members, says e-commerce expert
1 month ago
Say what? The new possibilities of voice and machine driven retail
1 month ago
‘Peak faith’ in the cloud only 12-18 months away with slump to follow, warns 6point6 Cloud Gateway
1 month ago
As you were for UK manufacturing sector, but new business growth at three month high
1 month ago
Back to IoT basics: Automating outcomes to improve customer experience
1 month ago
Investigation of the "Fast Fashion" impact
1 month ago
Redefining Rental for Materials Handling Equipment
1 month ago
With the Intelligent Enterprise, SAP Creates “A Completely Different Kind of Flexibility”
1 month ago
The supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link
1 month ago
How to Streamline Labeling in the Pharma Space
1 month ago
‘A revolution happened in the way we buy services last week – and no one has noticed!’
2 months ago
Hot Topics at GS1 Connect? Labeling, Blockchain and More
2 months ago
Retailers must Embrace Change
2 months ago
Labeling Solutions That Bridge Islands of Data
2 months ago
My Journey to the World’s Most Important Gathering of Supply Chain Leaders
2 months ago
Workforce of the Future
2 months ago
Securing your supply chain against political uncertainty
2 months ago
On-demand warehousing could help retailers score big this summer
2 months ago
Half of organisations set for major procurement and supply chain AI investment within two years
2 months ago
Brexit, the weather & online shopping: How Britain’s favourite conversations are shaping supply chains
2 months ago
The Road to Regulatory Compliance for Your Supply Chain Labeling
2 months ago
The War on Packaging
2 months ago
Five data dramas that keep your CIO awake at night
2 months ago
As sales fall new report finds many department stores’ websites suffer from clunky integration and poor delive
2 months ago
Got Your Surfboards Ready to Master the Wave of Digitalization?
2 months ago
TrustArc to Offer IAPP Privacy Core® GDPR Training to Address Compliance Requirements
2 months ago
The Market has never been Stronger for Horizontal and Vertical API Platforms
2 months ago
Selecting the best Transport Management System - One of the most important logistics decisions you’ll make
3 months ago
“Digital Transformation” and Supply Chain Planning
3 months ago
Coolest Advice for Making Blockbuster IoT Devices?
3 months ago