“The current uncertain climate of the fashion retail industry, coupled with ever-evolving customer behavior and three overlapping seasons at a time, have brought data analytics, planning agility and brand relations to the forefront of inventory merchandising," says Atallah, Ex VP of Planning and Merchandising at Al Tayer Group. Read her exclusive opinion on the future of merchandising tactics below.
In today’s market, whether you are a brick & mortar, e-commerce or omni-channel fashion retail merchandiser, this is most likely your current stock situation:
- You have an overstock of Spring/Summer ‘20 inventory
- Your Fall/Winter ‘20 deliveries are starting to arrive
- You are budgeting/buying for your Spring/Summer ‘21 collections
As a merchandiser you always rely on data; on history. In the current, uncertain climate of the fashion retail industry, ever-evolving customer behavior and having three overlapping seasons at a time (in this case, SS20, FW20 and SS21), it's evident that recent and historical data that may no longer apply in our new world. Therefore, leading brands are discussing the probabilities of of season-less fashion and the importance of sustainability, two subjects that are becoming crucial to every brand and retailer alike.
The questions on every merchandiser’s mind are:
- What will my customer’s shopping behavior post Covid-19 look like?
- Will customer behavior revert back to normal or will we see a ‘new normal’?
- What is the ‘new normal’?
- Will customers shop online, in store or will they opt for a ‘phygital’ (physical-digital) experience in the future?
- Will customers shop low-price high-street fashion or will they go for more durable and trusted luxury brands?
- How much of my SS20 inventory should I move to carryover?
- How much of my FW20 orders will I cancel? From which categories? And from which brands?
- Will brands be able to fulfill my orders?
- How will deliveries/drops change, and how will my strategy adapt?
- How much open-to-buy should I budget for my SS21 orders?
In order to begin answering these questions, we first need to understand our audience’s purchasing preferences and shopping behaviors: during the first few months of the Coronavirus pandemic, and especially during the lockdown period, we saw a behavioral shift in regional consumers’ purchasing patterns; with some categories doing much better year-on-year than others, such as loungewear, skincare and home accessories.
As the crisis stabilizes and restrictions around the region begin to ease and the malls reopen, we can observe the needle move back towards the original shopping behavior, as well as an increase in previously-declining categories such as swimwear and eveningwear. What this means for us as merchandisers is that we find ourselves in a delicate situation, where we need to navigate our current stock-on-hand and future orders very carefully. To achieve the aforementioned objective and implement the correct strategy, we can rely on the following tools:
1) Data mining and analytics: data is and will always be the base of all strategic decision-making. Now more than ever, you will need to deep-dive into your data often and consistently.
2) Planning agility: re-forecast, react, learn to change course swiftly and frequently.
3) Brand relations: negotiate payments, drops, reorders, returns, and cancellations. Many brands are increasing the continuity/carryover proportion of their collections and changing the frequency of orders and drops to reduce risk.
After an enlightening start to the year 2020, many companies are now talking about digital transformation. In order to effectively transition the business model, the transformation should not only be focused on the digital aspect of it, but also take into account the different parts of the business that play a crucial role in any prosperous transformation: notably the way we think, act and work. The customer is in the pilot seat now, and in order to navigate successfully through these hard times, we need to transform. Digital? Yes. Data-driven? Yes. But the most important key to success? Culture and People.
© Curated by Nahed for Curated ME.
With 30 years work experience in Dubai, Nahed boasts premier skillsets planning and merchandising within Luxury and Lifestyle Fashion, Home and Jewelry brands. Specifically in the subjects of: budget and inventory planning, margin and OTB management, forecasting and analysis, P and L management, online pure players launches, B&M store openings, people training and mentoring, team leadership and more.
Nahed served as the VP of Merchandising and Planning at Al Tayer Group between 2016-2020 and now is a Freelance Consultant for premier clients and brands.
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Beauty Expert Nayritta, the force behind the region's first multi-cultural aesthetic beauty hub, Nayritta's Talk, elaborates on her top beauty tips and trending consumption behaviors during the pandemic.
1) How have consumers’ priorities shifted around beauty? How do you suggest we tackle these beauty goals based on age?
People ages 16 to 60, or even 65, want to look and feel good - all the time! With younger millennials, it's not recommended for them to opt for aesthetic treatments but instead there are so many things that they can do for their skin from home, especially for those have acne or old scar issues.
Aesthetic treatments are now becoming noticeable because the majority of the women and men are trying to slow down the aging process. There has been almost over 82 percent interest in all formats of aesthetic beauty when it comes to exploring plastic surgery, investing in dermatology or utilizing derma cosmetic brands.
2) What kinds of procedures are consumers asking for at clinics during this time where health and wellness are of top priorities?
Some trends I've noticed are: recent obesity or weight gain issues that have driven people to ask about plastic surgery or body contouring. Further, some have expressed recent stressed-induced acne issues. Lastly, several people have started Botox, Fillers and anti-aging dermatology treatments during this slow period at home. From the health and wellness perspective, I see people investing in healthy eating and exercising more often leading into summer.
3) Which beauty routines can people do at home to feel their best right now, if avoiding clinics due to social distancing?
An ideal beauty routine would be to involve Derma cosmetic products such as skin care + anti-aging products and hyaluronic acid. Using these products at home can make your skin clearer and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Most importantly, apply sunscreen when outside to prevent skin damage.
Also, for healthy skin it's imperative to follow a regimented day and night routine. For example, hydrate your skin at night by thoroughly washing and applying specific combinations of creams in order to wake up feeling refreshed. Continue in the morning with using the anti-aging face masks and and firming creams. Fortunately, even with social distancing, you can still enjoy safe, in-person consultations with reputable doctors who will prescribe you a personalized treatment.
4) Are clinics sending at-home service or beauty kits to peoples’ homes?
Clinics are not sending any home services due to regulations set by the Dubai Healthcare Authority. Any clinical procedures have to happen in the clinic or to the hospital. With regards to the beauty kits, these should be bought from the clinic or from the pharmacy with a prescription and be advised by a doctor. However with regards to using dermal cosmetic products from L’Oréal or Zein Obagi for example, they can be found online via platforms such as Basharashop and be delivered straight to your door during COVD-19.
Happy, convenient and safe shopping!
© Curated by Nayritta for Curated ME.
Nayri Estepanian, an Entrepreneur known as Nayritta, is a woman driven by ambitions with a lead to the future. She’s an explorer, a strong guide, an intermediate and a connection between the Aesthetic industry and the experts with you.
Her aim is to provide education, motivate and assist in building some individuals’ confidence through introducing different Aesthetic ways and procedures making the content worthwhile for everyone to reach their goal and understand the knowledge behind it before implementing any procedures.
With the instant support and interest from the community, Nayri moves forward today to be more responsible with her journey by exploring, educating and providing the right solutions.
Building a credible successful future in this industry is her main goal.
Want more advice from Nayritta? Get in touch:
I consider myself a young, Emirati, upcoming lifestyle/fashion influencer who has a strong strong passion for fashion. For me, fashion is a form of self expression; I view myself as a canvas that I get to paint everyday with different outfits to express my feelings and escape reality.
I love collaborating with brands, as this shows the appreciation that I have for the hard work that is put into their craft. I'm grateful I get to share my ideas and light around the products that could benefit people in their day to day.
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Home Décor, but make it fashion.
Fashion Stylist and Image coach, Ghada Slim, also behind lifestyle platform Pasticherie, thinks that COVID-19 has sparked new priorities and meanings when it comes to consumption habits. Read her opinion below.
“We should be grateful for the virus because it might be the reason we survive as a species” – this is how the influential trend forecaster Li Edelkoort, described the Corona virus effect that is forcing us to reset our values and our priorities as consumers, supply chain actors, creators, artists, etc.
In terms of consumption habits, during the lockdown, we as fashion consumers have had a sudden wake-up call in reconsidering the quantities and pace in which we were once buying. Now, we assess our ROI and the utility of our once over-packed wardrobes. Suddenly we are not interested in buying new clothes but instead more meaningful purchases.
Ultimately, since March 2020, our lives were on pause; in addition to social quarantining, we observed a quarantine of our typical consumption. We started boasting about our buying abstinence and were happy with our old belongings. We rediscovered old favorites in our closet, re-read a forgotten book or explored a beautiful view from a corner of our home interior.
Fast forward to June 2020. We've slowly gotten back to semi-normal routines however there is still unanimity in the belief that the post-Corona consumer has changed and he/she will be looking for long-term purpose and sustainability as key purchasing factors. As a result, the homeware and lifestyle categories are the new winner categories of meaningful consumption. The #stayathome order has encouraged people to revisit their interiors and discover new ways to make their surroundings look and feel better. The new trend of nesting and cocooning means that socializing at home will become the new norm, even as we emerge from the depths of quarantine. This will inspire people to invest more in their homes and to take joy from simple things such as lighting a scented candle or setting a nice dinner table for family and friends.
Undoubtedly, when we buy for our home, we feel less guilty and ultimately less indulgent. Home décor shopping is not the same as clothe shopping; since more often than not, those purchases are impulsive. Home shopping is a significant commitment because we invest in pieces that will be kept forever.
The shift of interest from fashion to home decoration is clearly detectable on social media platforms where the interior of the day may have replaced the outfit of the day. The popular Instagram hashtag #homeinspo is an evident demonstration of how interiors have become the new way to express one’s personality and style.
Consequently, there has been a surge in the number of fashion brands and retailers that have expanded their offerings to include lifestyle and homeware collections in response to this growing fondness for this category. Brands like Gucci and Loewe are diversifying into chairs, pillows and ceramics. Matchesfashion.com is promoting its home collection while Moda Operandi is adding a permanent homeware section.
Post Corona, a well-decorated and cozy home will be an encouraging way to bring loved ones together, be present and create beautiful meaningful and long-lasting memories. As JJ Martin, the creator of La Double J , put it: “Plates are the new It bag”.
© Curated by Ghada for Curated ME.
Style polisher and lifestyle editor, Ghada Slim has a long and rich career in the creative field. She started in the advertising industry, where she was instrumental in the marketing and brand building of many blue-chip brands such as Mercedes-Benz in the Middle East region.
Then she moved on to combine her passion for fashion with her long marketing and brand management experience by joining Al Tayer Group where she worked for nearly 10 years as the Styling director for Harvey Nichols & Bloomingdale’s in Dubai.
During her tenure, she was in charge of the preparations and styling of the bi-annual fashion shows, trunk shows, and press presentations, styling of the advertising and social media campaigns in addition to the presentation of the collections in the stores.
First impressions take only a few seconds to make but last a lifetime. Our appearance through different phases of our lives says so much about us. Hence we strive to be certain that our look is aligned with the representation we want to communicate to peers. Image and Color styling consultant, Silke Styles gives exclusive style tips to dress right for you.
As we transition through life's stages, our body changes, our hair gets longer or shorter and our taste in fashion evolves. It is important find out how we actively can develop and influence transitions through what we wear.
For example, a milestone shift. Take Ella, a fresh graduate from college who is going for a job interview and wants to communicate maturity, professionalism and her capability of mastering a task. The transition from choosing a casual student dress to instead a professional one, is important in the workplace; if Ella is indeed qualified for the job, her choice in clothes needs to reflect the same in order to increase her chances of being hired. To start, she could dress to fit in with the company's general dress code, such as a light-colored suit. Also, it is important for Ella to wear clothes that help her feel most confident as an unfit demeanor may jeopardize her first impression and send an unintended message. Ella should walk into that interview empowered knowing that she appropriately is dressed for the job.
In addition, the fit of clothing based on age is one of the most important aspects to remember to embody a sophisticated style. There is a well-known quote: "Mutton dressed as a lamb" which describes a middle-aged person (let's call her Sandra) who is dressed in clothes that she may have worn 20 years ago. By doing so, she only intends for us to admire her body shape, youthfulness and vitality. However contrastingly, Sandra doesn't need to to opt for an ill-fitting jacket or a pair of trousers makes her look dated, frumpy and even older than she is based on her age. In fact, something fresh yet tailored to her body shape will emphasize Sandra's features that is proud of today. She may look for the ways her shoulders sit, the sleeves of her blouse fall and the hemlines end. If something isn’t quite right, it might be worth her simply visiting a tailor.
Ultimately, it's evident that developing a more sophisticated style as we age will add elegance to our overall looks. Even if we lead casual lifestyles, we can opt for fabrics that help us to move with ease, such as linens or high quality cottons to avoid saggy clothing. This is the time to invest in quality staples to look and feel our best..... at any age and through any life transition.
Most importantly we must keep in mind, that style represents personality. Think about price per wear when evaluating both luxury and high-street purchases. Even the most classic pieces have an expiration date, so it is ideal reevaluate periodically. At the end of the day, life transitions, as mentioned above, are opportunities for these regular reassessments.
So coming back to the initial question: is there age-appropriate dressing? There certainly is one that honors our life opportunities, applauds our achievements and celebrates our unique selves.
© Curated by Silke for Curated ME.
Consumption in the time of Covid is largely defined by what is most Essential, what sparks Empathy, and what provides meaningful Experiences. Liya Kreidie, Fashion Communications expert in Dubai, tells us that these '3 Es' are at the crux of an otherwise imminent shift in the fashion landscape that has been crystallized by the pandemic and shed light on consumer behavior in the post-COVID-19 world.
Luxury fashion is a thing of the past, at least for now. Unless it can be associated with 3 main criteria: Essentials, Empathy, and Experiences (The 3 Es). What has become apparent during this period is that consumption in the time of Covid is largely defined by what is most essential, what sparks empathy, and what provides meaningful experiences, shedding light on the future of consumer behavior in the post-Covid world.
At the crux of this transformation are powerful forces that have been in the works for some time now. From the struggling and oversaturated retail landscape to the increasing need for work/life balance, from the rise of e-commerce, to sustainable and slow fashion, a structural change in how and what we consume has been inching its way to the forefront. COVID-19 was simply the catalyst that came along to crystallize this much needed paradigm shift.
Basic necessities like food aside, take a moment to think about what kinds of purchases you have made during this time. How many of you have sideswiped luxury items for essentials, such as pajamas, sweats, face masks, simple tanks or t-shirts, workout clothes and/ or loungewear. Let’s be honest, you don’t need a suit or heels (or even pants) to WFH.
Some of your discretionary spending may have also been dedicated to some kind of donation, giving back, or compassionate desire to support. This could also manifest in making more environmentally-friendly decisions, “buying local”, or contributing to any such a social cause. We are #inthistogether after all and this overwhelming sense of empathy and unity seems to be almost as contagious as COVID-19.
Lastly, but most certainly not least, many have spent money on experiences like courses, webinars, meditation apps, online therapy, fitness programs, virtual tours, cooking related activities, books, arts & crafts supplies among other such activities. A big chunk of our time and money has been dedicated to healing and exercising our minds and bodies, in an effort to stay relevant… and sane.
Without stating too much of the obvious, there are a few absolute truths that shape the world we live in today: we are all staying home, we are all social (and physical) distancing, and we are all a little, if not a lot, anxious about what the future may hold. Covid has allowed us to spend more time with our families and, most importantly, with ourselves. As a result, we are becoming more connected to our purpose and to our planet. We are less concerned with what others think of us and are more in tuned with how we view ourselves. All that being said, the 3 Es underscore this general shift away from the need for external social approval. They instead place much greater value on individual well-being. The byproduct: A more informed, healthier, happier and more resourceful population.
When COVID-19 becomes a thing of the past, people will want to go out again, shop for luxury items and dress well. However, this time around, “feeling good” with their new purchases will take precedence over just “looking good.” Decisions will be measured by how much practical, purpose-driven, and experiential value they bring. Fashion Houses – big or small— luxury or not—should keep this in mind as they embrace our new normal. Survival of the fittest in the post-COVID-19 world will be defined by how well we adapt to these undeniable forces of nature.
© Curated by Liya for Curated ME.