2018 Thought-Starters: 4 Key Challenges & How to Stay Ahead

December 21, 2017

As we look back at 2017, we’ve seen the rise of the connected consumer and navigated all-encompassing shopper expectations. Themes of hyper-connectivity and mindful consumption have shaped an unprecedented consumer outlook. In 2018, as the fashion industry faces four key industry challenges, we’re outlining how to stay ahead with best in class practices and innovation.

The Challenge: Uncertainty & Volatility

Unpredictability has become today’s norm, perfectly personified in Bitcoin’s erratic rise that has cryptocurrencies moving into the mainstream. With uncertainty at both a global and domestic level, consumers are countering by looking to new influencers, cultivating a new work culture and lauding the authentic/transparent.

Our Recommendation: Adopt a startup mentality by staying open to new talent, collaborations and creativity. Consider the wild success of diverse campaigns we saw in 2017. Think of how your brand can reflect these changing values through authentic voices and campaigns. In the age of uncertainty, be a brand where consumers can place their trust.

Sephora 2017 Holiday Campaign

The Challenge: Online & Omnichannel Competition

In today’s climate of ever-slowing foot traffic, those who are e-com-based and D2C are positioned to excel. At the same time, the influx of e-tail startups has soared, making it necessary to stand out in searches, product, personality and delivery. The need for omni experiences are that much more important heading into 2018.

Our Recommendation: Invest in what’s unique. Personalization in messaging and product curation will become more important to consumers. The idea of “made for me” across skin care, fashion, beauty, health and home will become an expectation. As companies increasingly incorporate AI capabilities, we expect to see brands offer hyper-tailored experiences both online and IRL.

Function of Beauty

The Challenge: Value Chain Improvement

A redefined cost structure has taken root, with both consumer and brand taking personal interest in a circular economy. With the growing importance of sustainable practices, we see this as a new way to provide innovation and newness. From 3-D printed product and robotic production to design and predictive shipping algorithms, reducing waste is the equation of 2018.

Our Recommendation: Manufacturing improvements, from creation to delivery pose as a huge opportunity heading into 2018. From brands like Stitch Fix and Amazon using algorithms to design and stock product to companies like Adidas and Nike moving solidly into the 3-D printing space, think about how data and new technologies can help you to serve up better quality and value.

Stitch Fix

The Challenge: Foot Traffic

The reinvention of the store is a hot topic as retailers attempt to inspire a consumer looking for entertainment. Seamlessly moving through channels, today’s consumer expects zero friction from start to finish. As retailers look to better address this, we’re seeing stores and pop-ups beginning to incorporate new elements into the in-store experience.

Our Recommendation: Experimentation is paying off, so consider offering new experiences eliciting a better consumer response. From Outdoor Voices’ climbing wall or Reformation’s tech-enhanced San Francisco outpost, to brands like Forever21 and Madewell expanding into beauty or those like Away and Moon Juice incorporating cafés, creating a destination space is paramount.

Tamburins Concept Store