Trends and technologies: Insights from retail and marketing experts
Here are our key takeaways
Trend Forecasting Accuracy and AI Integration
The session spotlighted that accuracy of trend forecasting agencies depends on the methodology employed and the data analysed. While data can support trend predictions, the human touch remains essential. The discussion emphasised the need for understanding and effectively using data whilst considering diverse human behaviours and needs. Notably, the "Lipstick effect" featured—a phenomenon where, during economic downturns, consumers opt for smaller indulgences, such as luxury lipstick.
The integration of AI, big data, and technology was explored, with speakers cautioning that these tools are only as effective as the information provided by humans. They explained that AI lacks the nuanced understanding that human trend forecasters bring, showcasing the irreplaceable role of human intuition and interpretation.
Product designers were advised to stay attuned to competitors, cultural shifts, and social trends. Collaboration with brands to share intelligence and insights was encouraged, where instead of perceiving trend forecasting as a threat, it was weighed up as a valuable tool for businesses, underscoring the importance of the human interpretation of trends.
The discussion turned its focus on marketing and retail strategy, where maintaining authenticity within the brand while leveraging trends is key. The "mere exposure effect" was highlighted, exposing the importance of consistent brand visibility. It was reiterated that trends have a place in the market, but adherence to the brand's personality and objectives is crucial.
Consumer Behaviour and Sustainable Trends
Jaana Jatyri, Founder and CEO of Trend Stop, shared insights into the shifting landscape of consumer behaviour. Where traditional trend approaches were criticised for their lack of consumer-centricity, leading to massive unsold inventories. The era of "meaningful brands and consciousness" was discussed, with consumers increasingly favouring sustainable, elevated, and longer-lasting products.
Trend Stop's optimisation approach, with a 97.2% accuracy rate over a two-year period, demonstrated the efficacy of forecasting when aligned with consumer expectations. The importance of colour in consumer choices and the need to catch trends at the innovator/early adopter stage were underscored.
Emerging Technologies in Retail
Speakers from Shop Line and Humanising Brands delved into emerging technologies, predicting a shift towards B2B sales via Amazon TV streaming. The ownership of consumer data and the growing importance of live commerce, especially for high-end brands were highlighted.
E-commerce Merchandising Strategies
The final session discussed merchandise strategies in e-commerce, emphasising the critical role of on-site search quality. With merchandising key pages closing the loop between e-commerce and buying teams, and persona-based merchandising being explored. AI merchandising, exemplified by Dressipi's partnership with Graphene, showcased the potential for identifying products, materials, styles, and silhouettes to build outfits and enhance the consumer experience.
The event provided a comprehensive overview of the challenges and opportunities in the retail and marketing landscape. From the intricacies of trend forecasting to the integration of AI and big data, and the evolving preferences of conscious consumers, the industry is navigating a dynamic and transformative era. The most important key takeaway to us, is the synergy between human intuition and technological advancements, urging industry players to leverage both for sustainable growth and success.
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