The Top Wholesale Trends to Look Out for in 2020

As consumer trends and technology rapidly evolve, so do the inner workings of the wholesale fashion industry. The most successful players will be flexible, proactively seeking out fresh ways to boost earnings and remain relevant in the new domestic and global climate. Get a head start on the new year; explore these four top wholesale trends before 2020 begins.

1. Hyperlocal Product Assortments

Wholesale buyers will increasingly turn to partnering with brands for merchandise tailored to consumer segments, trends and lifestyles within smaller segments of their markets. For example, whereas buyers for a certain store may have focused on South Florida in the past, they may now begin to purchase for each store’s neighborhood instead. For example, they may place different buys for stores in Downtown Palm Beach, the waterfront of Palm Beach and the high traffic flagship at the local mall.

According to “The State of Fashion 2020” by The Business of Fashion and McKinsey, 55% of fashion executives name a “localized brick-and-mortar experience” among the top themes for 2020. The phenomenon is already being leveraged with success in stores as diverse as Gucci Garden in Florence, Italy offering one-of-a-kind merchandise, and Nike By Melrose in Los Angeles which offers local favorite SKUs, BOPIS, locally-focused events, highly-specialized services, and more.

Focusing on local consumers and communities presents a host of opportunities. According to an international Facebook study, 85% of shoppers purchase locally for convenience. Retailers have picked up on the trend, opening smaller neighborhood locations to complement their existing collections of stores. Buyers will turn to brands for hyperlocal product assortments to build stronger relationships with their communities, create excitement and add value. As such, product exclusives, capsule collections and limited-edition items will also come into play.

“We want to drive engagement. The way you do that on the Upper East Side [of New York City] is different from the way you do that on Melrose in LA or downtown in [New York City’s] West Village.” – Jamie Nordstrom, President of Stores, Nordstrom 

2. Trade Shows Go Tech 

Over 55% of brands and multi-brand retailers questioned in the BOF – McKinsey State of Fashion 2020 Survey said trade shows have little to no relevance on placing wholesale fashion orders; 30% said they have some relevance in the matter. In an industry marked by innovative, retail calendar-disrupting brands, the traditional trade show circuit is no longer enough. Trade shows will embrace technology to provide greater insights and convenience than they have in years past. What’s more, trade shows will begin to strategize in a manner consistent with the way buyers and brands do business today: B2B e-commerce. The new digital concierge service at MAGIC in Las Vegas represents one such step towards a new era in industry trade shows.

3. B2C Sales Opportunities at Trade Shows

In an effort to increase revenue and drive traffic and engagement, trade shows will offer more B2C selling opportunities at previously B2B-exclusive events. The trend will appear as part of the evolution of trade shows responding to the new state of the fashion industry, but also as a new way for wholesale fashion brands to meet, connect and engage with end consumers. Brands and multi-brand retailers would do well to work together, using the opportunities to glean valuable primary research, strategize future merchandising, marketing and pricing strategies and find inspiration for future partnerships.

“B2B remains essential, it is the focus of our business and always our primary concern. But B2C is a real opportunity for the brands.” – Brenda Bellei, CEO, White Milano

4. Sustainable Fashion Rises

The youngest individual to ever receive the title, sixteen year old climate change activist, Greta Thunberg, is TIME’s 2019 Person of the Year. Eco-consciousness is officially top of mind on the world stage. 

In the fashion industry, longtime sustainable brands such as Patagonia and Eileen Fisher are experiencing increasing levels of demand and younger brands are arriving on the scene with eco-friendly practices of their own. Consumers have made their demand for eco-sustainable products loud and clear, and both fashion brands and retailers are responding. 

Brands lacking sustainable practices should begin to explore ways to minimize their impact on the planet. And while sustainable-first marketing messages may align with the brand DNA for some fashion companies, others should develop B2B communications campaigns to dive deep into their messaging for potential wholesale clients. Whether your sustainability messages are more appropriate for B2B or B2C audiences, develop a plan. Create marketing collateral with supporting documentation, key facts, easily-digestible statistics and other material for your B2B e-commerce pitches and communications with current clientele. You’ll better position your brand to retailers while providing easy-to-remember sales points for any discerning customer with a list of questions.

The role of B2B e-commerce in the mission for better eco-practices doesn’t end there. The wholesale fashion technology minimizes the travel time required for in-person buyer visits while significantly reducing paper waste at appointments and shows.

Do business in 2020 with confidence- request your NuORDER demo today.