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ADVERTORIAL: Pick the winners this buying season

Past-Modern AGHAAs the largest buying season for the gift, homewares and fashion industry rapidly approaches, retailers are preparing to source the latest trends, labels and products for the upcoming season.

Due to a rise in consumer expectation, retailers are now competing more than ever to source high quality products at the lowest price points possible, in a bid to satisfy demands within a highly competitive market place where consumers are typically reluctant to spend.

In a rapidly changing market where consumer confidence and spending is reportedly at a low, yet expectation is at a high, how can Australian independent retailers compete?

There are steps retailers can take to compete in today’s market – research trends, find out what your customer wants, and increase customer confidence. Phoebes Garland, co-founder of Garland & Garland Fashion and Features Writer for Exposed Online, said retail success is not simply just about stocking the latest trend, but more so about finding the trend your consumer wants.

“While it is important to do competitive analysis and ensure you add a freshness each season, at the end of the day listening and having a strong understanding of your customer is vital, as ultimately they will determine your sales and give you clues of where to head each season,” Garland said.

So, what trends should retailers look out for in the upcoming buying season in August? According to global trend forecasters, WGSN, the upcoming season will continue to reinvent and break traditional boundaries. Here are some trends to look out for.

Deep Summer

Deep summer
The exploration and appreciation of all that is weird, wonderful and undiscovered at the bottom of earth’s deep seas. Where nature’s wildest creations meet man-made. Dark and cinematic black and navy are paired with toxic yellows and chemical greens. There is a clear aquatic and cosmic vibe, with a hint of neon electricity.

Embellishments consist of crystals, coral and tiny opaque partials inspired by the deep sea and space. Graphics contain optical depth with clever use of lines and textures, including inspiration from shiny fish scales and luminescent jellyfish.

Soft pop
The playful pastels in pink, lilac and yellow are back. Soft like bubble gum, and sweet as pie. This time, however, they are slightly toned down with a neutral or grey undertone. Cartoon-like images inspire this macro trend, and symbols from pop culture can be seen, such as the universal language of emoji and candy wrappers.

There is a familiar pop art feel, however whereas pop artists like Andy Warhol were trying to push the idea of consumerism, soft pop is more concerned with the resurgence of modern feminism. Therefore pink is a key colour.

Soft pop

Sustainability
Although sustainability is not a recent movement, due to a rise in the aware consumer, sustainable ‘green’ products are more desirable than ever before and set to be a huge trend itself. Consumers are becoming increasingly ‘green’ and want more information than ever regarding the life and production of a product – where it was made, how it was made, who made it, how it was transported.

In response to a strong market demand for sustainable and Fair Trade products, there has been a rise in retailers stocking sustainable products and implementing sustainable business models. Want to buy this trend? Think natural woods, hand-made fabrics and responsibly sourced products. Material choices include sustainable and plantation wood, natural fibres (water hyacinth or bamboo), reused plastics, newspaper and car tyres. Not sure if it is sustainable? Find out more about the story behind the product and research the brand.

With only a few short weeks to go until Australia’s largest buying season begins, retailers are advised to carefully plan their buying trip to optimise sales success. Research the trends and, most importantly, analyse your consumers and identify what they want – and what they will fall in love with. With consumers increasingly conservative with spending discretionary income, find the point of difference – that one trend or product that they will just have to buy. Use packaging, labelling and marketing to tell a story.

AGHA Home & Giving + Fashion Fair
Want to source the latest trends? Melbourne will be hosting Australia’s largest gift, home and fashion trade event. Organisers, the Australian Gift & Homewares Association (AGHA), are this year introducing the fashion zone to the bi-annual Home & Giving, to bring you the Home & Giving + Fashion Fair, from August 1-5 2015.

Across two venues, the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre (Doors 7- 10) and Melbourne Showgrounds (Exhibition and Avenue Pavilions) will house over 500+ exhibitors, showcasing thousands of brands and countless products.

For retailers wanting to discover something new, the Avenue Pavilion will welcome over 50 new exhibitors, showcasing upcoming brands to give retailers that cutting edge.

Want to shop the sustainable trend? Head to the Fair Trade Zone located in the Avenue Pavilion at Melbourne Showgrounds and discover ethically sourced products from all four corners of the globe.

For more information or to register to attend the AGHA Home & Giving + Fashion Fair, visit the new look event website at homeandgiving.com.

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