The ability to detect trends and to interpret that knowledge can tell you what consumers want now, but also help you predict what theyíll be looking for tomorrow. This can really give a retailer a big edge, particularly when it comes to selecting product lines.
What is a Trend?
A trend is not a group of popular items that everyone is buying. A trend is an expression of what matters to consumers at the momentóitís a sign of what theyíre excited about. A trend can actually give you many ideas of what products might be popular in certain groups. The trend towards natural living, for example, could inspire a whole line of products because thatís what people are concerned with and are thinking about. And trends grow and evolve and morph, but they have rhyme and reasonóunlike fads, they donít just come out of nowhere.
Lisa Suttora of http://WhatDoISell.com defines trend analysis as ìlooking at a definable group of customers that you can get coming back time and time againÖYouíre not sourcing products in a vacuum, because you know exactly what types of products people are looking for.î Though it may initially take you more time to study market trends in the beginning, it will save you a lot of time in the long run. You wonít be trying to figure out why you canít move products, and you wonít be wasting money on just guessing at what you think will sell.
How Do I Become a Trend Spotter?
Spotting trends is a learned abilityóit doesnít require you to be trendy. It requires disciplineómake it a habit to research trends daily. There are many avenues you can use to help you research:
ï Most major search engines offer keyword tracking tools that show you how many people are searching for a given item. Worldwide Brands offers a Market Research Wizard that can show you how likely a product is to be successful based on market statistics.
ï Consumer magazines and websites are great sources for gathering information.
ï Check out trade shows, associations, and publications. Though trade publications tend to be pricy, the information in them is the result of millions of dollars of research and projects out from 12 to 18 months, which really gives you a jump on buying trends that havenít even evolved yet.
ï The media can provide some really valuable trending statsónewspapers often give numbers and demographics. Look for indicators of growth and decline. You want to get in on the upswing of a trendónot when itís on its way out. Document everything so that you have it all in front of you and donít forget anything important when you sit down to analyze the results of your research.
The key is to be consistent and do your research daily. Says Suttora, ìTrending information is not something you do once and then stopÖEvery successful business owner is going to continually be reinventing their product lineÖon an ongoing basis.î