Just as we were beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with COVID restrictions and anxieties easing up, Russia’s invasion into Ukraine has stirred up not only a whole new set of anxieties, but also added onto the crippling supply chain problems, inflation, and oil prices. As excited as consumers were to get outside and enjoy in-store shopping, these new complications are not mixing well with summer plans.
When asked how exactly the war is impacting retailers nationwide, supply chain expert Bill Thayer of Fillogic said, “ It is not so much about what it is doing right now, but instead what it will do the longer it goes on. It is all about capacity — with the pandemic, there was less capacity, less buildings, cars, you name it. Now, when you look at the raw material moving in and out of Europe, the majority of freight moves over the ocean, so not being able to deliver into ports is just one piece of it. The other component is oil. Now that the majority of the oil that powers Europe has been cut off, it is driving up the prices.”
Consumers Are Showing No Signs of Slowing Down
Despite all of this negative news, in-person shopping is still expected to thrive this summer. The NPD Group reported at the end of November that in-store retail sales had risen to pre-pandemic levels, while the growth of online sales was slowing. Also, after several years when massive numbers of stuttered stores prompted “retail apocalypse” headlines, Coresight Research’s store closing tracker found that store openings outpaced closings in 2021.
TD Bank also released the results of its Consumer Spending Index, which found that consumers are shifting their spending back to experiences and in-person activities this year. The shift to pre-pandemic habits as well as inflation may be driving consumers’ inclination to overspend. Shopping remains the primary reason customers overspend, with over half (54%) of respondents admitting to this. While most shoppers are still more likely to go overboard when making online purchases, consumers who attribute overspending to shopping in-person more than doubled from 12 percent in 2021 to 29 percent in 2022, with many citing getting distracted by other items in the store and the ability to have items immediately instead of waiting for shipping as the primary motivators.
Deliver Positive In-Store Experiences
Now is more important than ever to deliver personalized customer experiences to keep spirits up and shoppers coming back to stores. Raydiant’s third annual State of Consumer Behavior Report highlights the importance of in-store experiences and what exactly shoppers are looking for. “The findings confirm our belief that brick-and-mortar is not dying, it is simply evolving and that retailers who are focused on creating true in-store experiences are positioned to thrive as the retail landscape continues to evolve,” Bobby Marhamat, CEO of Raydiant, said in a release sent to Independent Retailer.
Key findings from the report include:
- In-store shopping remains a preference for many consumers
- Appealing experiences remain the primary driver of in-store shopping
- Addressing supply challenges must be a priority for brick-and-mortar establishments in 2022
- Consumers have provided the recipe for how stores can win their business
Snatching Up Summer Fashions at Discounted Prices
As shoppers excitedly hurry into brick-and-mortar stores this summer season, indie retailers need to make sure they have the right products in stock. The Wall Street Journal reported that while spring may be here, sandals and shorts are not because they are stuck out at ports or sea. Supply chain struggles continue to weigh on sales for retailers, and now seasonal items may be slow to hit store shelves. Even though this presents an issue for brand new merchandise, discount stores are loaded with off-price products.
According to the Wall Street Journal, executives at discount stores, including Burlington Stores Inc. and Ross Stores Inc., say their buyers have been snapping up late-arriving clothing and other goods as their full-price counterparts cope with backlogs at congested U.S. ports. Inflation is becoming a bigger issue for shoppers, which means consumers will start to shy away from luxury and high-end fashion this summer as everything becomes more expensive. This is a prime opportunity for indie retailers to purchase off-price merchandise to keep the cost down for both your business and your customers.
Uncovering Off-Price Fashion Trends
When searching for the right discounted products to offer shoppers this summer season, Blowfish Malibu held a Virtual Fashion Summit, discussing all of the trending colors and styles that consumers will be looking for. Being thrown out from all trend reports is the word ‘nostalgia,’ which is expected to be the main theme for 2022 with styles from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s coming back into play. Consumers are going to be on the hunt for fashion pieces that are comfortable and eco-conscious, with shades of brown and retro print being the main aesthetic.
Few categories have seen such a significant shift as lingerie, as the pandemic accelerated the already-popular comfort dressing movement. To better understand the evolving lingerie market as prices continue to soar and consumer demand grows, retail intelligence leader EDITED has uncovered the following trends in the intimates category:
- Comfort’s reign continues – Retailers have increased their investments in sports bras by nine percent and bralettes by four percent YoY. Meanwhile, push-up bras have experienced a two-year decline, down 15 percent YoY and 25 percent vs. 2020.
- Diverse assortments are critical – Darker shades of nude now equal 56 percent of skin-tone underwear in the U.S., up from 42 percent a year ago.
- Sustainability is key – Retailers have invested in period pants, which have seen in stock skyrocketed 273 percent YoY. The number of recycled bras in stock has surged 266 percent YoY.
- Inflation impacts intimates – With cotton prices inflating, products described with 100 percent cotton components have risen 10 percent in the U.S. and 22 percent YoY in the UK.
Now that you know what styles to look out for, here is a list of some of our favorite sizzling summer merchandise that is ready-to-be-shipped for fast stock:
The Holyoke is the quintessential performance Boardshort, featuring a perfect knee length and straight fit. The mono- panel stitching helps to decrease chafe and also features a “LatitudeLock” waistband that cinches all around, providing a snug fit, a welded side pocket with key loop, custom Jetty labeling, metal tip drawstrings, and custom trims. Available in a variety of colors and patterns.
This adorable necklace is the perfect accessory for any consumer looking to enjoy the summer season. You can choose between a green gem filled palm tree or a plain white gem filled palm tree, or simply offer both options to shoppers. Each necklace measures 16” and is made with 18k gold filled over brass.
H&R Fashion Jewelry
Made from 100% cotton, this bubble skirt is sure to keep your customers cool during the warm summer months. Available in sizes small to large, shoppers can choose from a variety of colors including this neat pink and brown tie dye, navy and white tie dye, charcoal, denim blue, white, and many others.
818-621-1977 or 818-920-5352
Made from 100% vegan leather, this crossbody clutch comes complete with a magnetic snap closure and detachable chain shoulder strap so your customers can enjoy a night out with friends or accessorize with a cute clutch for a lunch date. The gold-toned hardware gives it a classy look to complete any summer outfit.
Shoppers can now fashionably keep the sun out of their eyes this summer season with these stylish Heart Rhinestone Sunglasses. Available in a variety of colors including black, champagne, pink, and purple, retailers are sure to get these sunglasses fast and usually ship within two-to-three business days.
Ole Fashions Inc
Eye-catching athletic wear is a must have for fashionistas. These sets are available in different colors, including mint green, mauve purple, and charcoal. The stretch-knit crop sports bra top features an envelope folded front, shoulder straps that fall into a racer-back, and removable pads. This is a super comfortable outfit to relax at home or enjoy a good workout at the gym.
Number One Wholesale
Shoppers can take on any vacation with this stylish faux leather backpack. Featuring an ultra-chic polka dot design and a convenient hands-free silhouette, it even comes complete with a matching wallet. The backpack straps are adjustable and the interior zip closure has two slip pockets to keep everything organized.
Made from 100% cotton, this summer hat comes with an adjustable strap in the back so one size fits most. The quality embroidery on the front has a natural worn look, but is sure to last for years to come.
If your customers prefer to keep things short and sweet, then this is the perfect loungewear set for them. Featuring a notch collar and cropped sleeves on the shirt, the shorts also come with a drawstring waistband and ruched detail.
Things just got so much better with the Tara top! With tie straps for adjustability and a peplum fit, the Tara is perfect for any occasion. Pair with bell bottoms or denim shorts for a cute, sassy look. Available in white, navy, orange floral, and yellow floral.