ward howell

Key Industry Trends

Pure-play digital retailers from luxury to mass are leading the way on innovation. Companies such as Matchesfashion.com, Modaoperandi, Zalando, and Amazon are experimenting with physical store space that offers a 360-degree shopping experience.
Established large players such as Walmart are fully embracing digital and omni-channel retail through acquisitions (such as Jet.com), specific e-commerce efforts, and hiring star retail veterans of luxury digital retail.
Technology is transforming retail marketing significantly. Companies are trying to understand individual buying behavior by recording facial expressions and linking that information with transaction data. And while “digital wallets” haven’t yet reached critical mass with shoppers, the value of transactions made by mobile payments is expected to reach $210 billion by 2019, up from $8.7 billion in 2015. Many retailers are building their own apps to enable customers to pay this way.
Over the past several years, there has been a disconnect — landlords and bricks-and-mortar retailers did not have the same customer information as that gleaned from e-commerce. Through advancements in technology, that gap is now decreasing and these retailers can increasingly tap into the same insights as their online counterparts.

Talent Opportunities and Challenges

With the magnitude of change in this industry comes growing pains, but also incredible opportunity for visionaries.
We are seeing that the winning global formula requires holistic “real” shopping and entertainment “theme-parks” addressing consumers’ needs in one space. At the same time, global developers and retailers are competing to create unique, innovative spaces offering art, technology, entertainment, theater, luxury, and the most “edgy” fashion & style, food, and hospitality.

Cohesive online and offline experience is essential. Websites must be global — including pricing based on customers’ locations and superb customer care teams available 24/7 – to speak to customers through all channels with a unified voice.

Retail executives need to be creative, innovative, and able to anticipate and execute the next moves. At Ward Howell, we help our clients identify and develop executives who can deliver in fast-changing, uncertain market conditions.

Areas of Expertise

  • Beauty
  • Retail
  • Fashion
  • Lifestyle
  • Digital Retail

To learn more about what we do and how we can
help our clients, contact