To make effective decisions as a retailer, I believe you need to understand the trends affecting the market sector you are trading in and how these are changing what your customers are looking to buy from you and other retailers.
For instance, protection of the environment came right to the top of our agendas again in 2018 with the terrifying imagery shown as part of his Blue Planet 2 series which showed the impact of plastic waste on the sea and its inhabitants. The lasting images of turtles having straws extracted from their nostrils and a sea horse with a cotton bud in its tail has undoubtedly had an impact on the UK. Indeed, social media came into its own in spreading the images and the message world-wide.
Reducing the use of plastic and excess packaging generally are both areas of focus and greetings cards are a good example of this where some publishers are now offering naked ‘unbagged’ cards. Increasingly retailers are now demanding this - something that was quite normal in the 60’s and 70’s for a lower price.
The REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE OR COMPOST message is all about how to minimise our impact on the environment by not using resources and materials unnecessarily but rather reusing them as often as is practical.
And this applies to single use items too particularly where they are items that cannot be recycled because of the materials that are combined within them: plastic bottles, takeaway coffee cups, drinking straws and so on are all on the hit list.
If you’re a retailer, this trend presents a significant opportunity to sell alternative products such as insulated bottles and coffee cups and reusable shopping bags. Ensure these products are made from eco friendly materials with better environmental credentials like bamboo for coffee cups to demonstrate that you are a genuinely responsible retailer.
After all, we should all be encouraged to take responsibility. If we pledge to make a difference locally it will add up to a global impact – and benefit us all.
Design trend wise, the focus on the environment means that there are a lot of natural colours and finishes being used by manufacturers and publishers. These browns, greens, greys and blues are not glossy, nor metallic, as these effects would mean the materials could not be recycled.
For more advice on developing an eco-friendly, sustainable range and how to go about it – get in touch, I’d be only happy to provide some advice in this area.