Resolution: Investigate foreign products and store trends

September 8, 2017By Behind the Shelf Blog, Industry Intuition, Resolutions

by Steve Choate, business development manager, for the Resolutions blog series

Retail in the United States is robust and ever-changing. There are new players coming and going every day. Additionally, we have many new foreign-made items introduced. You need to stay on top of these U.S. newcomers in order to be successful in today’s manufacturing world.

We live in a global economy where products can be ordered from anywhere in the world and can be at your house within days. This changes how your customers view their sourcing options. Even though your manufacturing facilities may be in the U.S., you must look outside its borders at what is happening in terms of item and retailer trends and consumer preferences.retailers around the world

If you look across the U.S. retail landscape and how it has evolved over the last 30+ years, you will notice the influence that foreign-owned products and retailers have had. We have seen health, beauty, and wellness (HBW) sales at Walgreens influenced by their merger with the UK’s Boots stores, forming the Walgreens-Boots Alliance. Since 1976, we have witnessed the emergence and expansion of Aldi U.S. which has brought a new type of shopping opportunity to American consumers. We have also seen the different shopping experience provided by Trader Joe’s since 1979. By all accounts, 2017 is shaping up to be another milestone year as Germany’s Lidl opens their first of many U.S. stores in June.

I recommend you spend time each week researching the happenings of foreign retailers and HBW manufacturers. This research should go beyond just the industry and product category that you are currently in. Your foreign research could help you find your next product line extension, new display idea, or potential merger/acquisition target. Focusing on local is important, but also keep your eyes on the horizon for the next “big” thing.