In 10 months there have been 10 years of innovation, says the commerce group
The pandemic led to rapid innovation in retail as shoppers switched to e-commerce and used roadside pickup, according to a U.S. fashion retail organization.
Steve Lamar, President and CEO of the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), told CNBC that its members had raised an “incredible” amount in the past few months. The AAFA has 500 members, including Calvin Klein, Levi Strauss and Ralph Lauren.
“We’ve done 10 years of innovation in the last 10 months. One of the things we saw is … an incredible amount of innovations that really got done and again have plans that people looked at Everything was implemented in the next 10 years and we saw a lot of innovations in every way: retail, supply chain, procurement, technology, as you call it, “Lamar told Squawk Box Asia on Tuesday.
The pandemic temporarily closed stores as the US took home stay measures last March. Some retailers have permanently closed multiple locations, such as AAFA member Macy’s, which detailed dozens of new closings this week as part of a broader plan. Others, like Lululemon, did well during the pandemic as shoppers stayed at home and bought exercise equipment and exercise via smarter office wear.
The pandemic has helped establish an “omnichannel” shopping model, Lamar added. “You buy online, you pick up at the store. There’s a roadside pickup. Now you can return products that you bought online and return them to stores. This seamless integration is really becoming the rule, it used to be the exception, and so are we will see a lot more of it. “
A woman walks past a Lululemon shop.
Bloomberg | Getty Images
Lamar also highlighted the need for buyers to verify who they are buying online due to the increase in counterfeit goods. “E-commerce has been a huge growth model for the industry. [with a] double-digit increase from last year to this year, but as e-commerce rises, so does e-commerce pirates and counterfeiters, “he warned.
In November, Amazon (which is not a member of AAFA) announced a partnership with a US government group to prevent counterfeit goods from entering the country. The ecommerce website also sued two influencers for selling fakes on the same website month ago.
Lamar also called for continued financial incentives for the sector. “We are still in the midst of this very tragic, very terrible pandemic … and until we are able to get out of it, momentum has to be something that provides businesses, small businesses and liquidity support with liquidity support for workers, for consumers, so they can get out and shop and buy products. “
He urged US politicians to provide economic impetus in predictable ways. “This uncertainty, this unpredictability that we’ve been through is making it very difficult to build your economic base,” he said.
But he admitted that when the economy recovered, people would go to the stores. “There’s a lot of pent-up demand and when the economy picks up and more consumers feel comfortable, they’ll turn that demand into purchases,” he told CNBC.