With reports e-commerce growth slowing, many traditional retailers are struggling with product lines which have become incredibly broad. High street and multi-brand retail stores attempting to cover their bases by stocking a wide variety of styles and products are up against the largest challenge, as consumers have become increasingly interested in brands which offer a point of difference. This has resulted in a surge in growth for smaller, niche designers and retailers, often ones which have a local background.
The designer-retailer difficulties which have been prevalent in the American market have had less of an impact on the New Zealand market, although the result of this change in consumer behaviour also results in a rise of small, local brands and stores in NZ. Increasingly, many consumers are looking for a unique offering; often regarding quality, sustainability, ethics or relatability of the brand. The cornerstone of these small stores or brands is often their limited collections, which do not try to cater to all consumers and are less overwhelming. In the face of jam-packed stores, with an option for everyone, curated collections seem to be gaining steady market traction and customer loyalty. This change goes hand in hand with the focus on consumer experiences and increasing transparency in fashion.
So what can retailers and designers do to ensure these market changes don't threaten them? Focus on customers, identification of niche markets and fine-tuning of product lines. Less is more. Unless you're Michele Alessandro.