Industry Experts Map Out Retail Trends and Innovations

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SINGAPORE, Nov. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Twelve retail industry experts spoke about critical relationships between digital transformation, consumer trends and sustainability at the Asia Retail Leaders Conference 2021, organised by Singapore Management University (SMU)’s Retail Centre of Excellence.

Consumers are also beginning to consider a brand’s sustainability values when making their purchasing decision. Nejla Matam-Finn, Co-founder of THE FIFTH COLLECTION said, “The adoption of the second-hand economy has the potential of becoming bigger than fast fashion, as more people are going to be transacting higher values in second-hand clothing.” She added, “Sustainability is not a choice anymore”. 

With the pandemic changing shopping behaviour, Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence have altered how brands engage with consumers. “The shift to digital is here to stay and retailers should treat social channels like flagship stores. The role of store and online have blurred, which means retailers should bring the store experience online and the convenience of digital to stores… More consumers want runway presentations, messaging, and even virtual appointments with sales associates, all in the comfort of their living room,” said Via Abano, Product Marketing Manager, CPG and Retail, Facebook APAC.

Supply chain disruptions have led to pivots in production and fulfilment operations. “We are seeing many brands having a higher degree of flexibility, which allows production in much smaller batches, while ensuring a higher level of proximity between the supply chain and the local market,” highlighted Dr Shantanu H. Bhattacharya, Professor of Operations Management, SMUHe shared about how it has made planning and scheduling of inventory more dynamic when compared to static supply chain policies in the past and said, “Usage of text analytics and social media has converged with trending keywords and products linked to those keywords, identified and mapped in real time”.

Beyond social media, retailers have expanded touch points to build trust and loyalty. “Digital commerce has rapidly accelerated and will continue to evolve and expand beyond what we can imagine as consumers continue to have a higher baseline expectation,” said Peng Chun Hsien, Vice President, Merchant Sales & Acquiring, Asia Pacific, Visa Worldwide, “Businesses that go the extra mile by providing a delightful fulfilment experience, as well as a comprehensive loyalty programme will deliver something that customers all look for in the long run.”