Being a small business and working to tight budgets means that you have to be flexible and do things differently. If you manufacture and product and sell it wholesale, or purchase products that you sell directly to the consumer, you will always want your product range to be on trend. Although you may feel small compared to larger retailers, there is a way you can stay on top of retail trends.

Step away

Some of it requires you to step away from the office, the manufacturing floor, or the ecommerce platform. Because, particularly in the past couple of years, we’ve all got a little bit used to hiding away and getting on with the jobs we can do without leaving our comfort zones, am I right?

I know I’m just as guilty of this than anyone else!

Keeping on top of current and future retail trends

Big budget or commissioned reports would give us lots of data to use, however I am yet to work with a client who has a budget for this kind of investment. So, we must be a little creative. Here are some of the things you can do to discover retail trends.

Visit trade shows

Retail trends
Visit trade shows to see the latest colours and themes.

Do some research and find out if there are any trade shows you can visit that will be relevant to your business. My ‘go to’ show is the Spring Fair – it’s great for spotting retail trends with suppliers keen to show off new products (after all, they’re there to sell their wares!) Use trade shows to look at trend colours and themes. And it’s amazing the conversations that can strike up here. I usually come away having learnt something new and made some new connections too.

Get on the high street

Visit stores to see what is going on in your category.

At least once per month, get your bum off your chair and go and look what is happening on the high street, in the physical stores. I don’t mean whilst you’re out doing your shopping. I mean plan a day where you can do some serious store visits that are relevant to your business. When you’re in store look at new products, how they are displayed, what is displayed with them, price points, colour trends….I could go on and on. But the important thing here is that you’re learning and keeping an eye on what is going on in the retail market and you can apply this to your business.

Read trade magazines

Read trade magazines to find our retail trends.

Who doesn’t like to flip through a magazine and see what is going on in their industry? It doesn’t have to be a physical magazine either. Sign up to updates from the online version of the magazine. I like the daily updates from Retail Week. Are there any other trade magazines that are specifically for your sector?


OK so you’re back at your desk. Are there any monthly events within your sector that will tell you about the trends in your industry? I have a couple that help me to keep up with marketing trends (everyday is a school day!) Do some research and see if you can find any that will be relevant to you.

Social media groups

On Facebook there are a number of retail specific groups that may be of interest for you to join. You can see what people are talking about, what issues they are facing, and find out what trends are up and coming.

Are you ready to get out there?

Head out to keep on top of retail trends

Have I inspired you to go and see what is happening and to find those key retail trends for you and your business? I do hope so as it’s important that you know what is happening in your category.

If you’re thinking of adding new products to your range, take a read of my blog all about expanding your product range.

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