What are the challenges and trends facing retailers? Give practical examples.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Targetjobs.co.uk lays out some of the challenges and trends facing retailers for 2016, which will be useful as the foundation of your discussion. These include the challenges of (1) finding ways to adapt to changes in government policy, such as insurance requirements or minimum wage increases, and of (2) finding ways to adapt to increasing ethical and environmental demands, such as transparency about suppliers, manufacturing, and sourcing. These also include the trends of (1) finding ways to adapt to the competition of online e-commerce entrants into previously physical-location shopping activity, like grocery purchasing, and of (2) finding ways to adapt to retail entrants who sell at discounted prices, such as adapting by broadening product range.

One example of challenging changes in government policy is the on-going concern in United States retail about dealing with Affordable Care Act regulations. One adaptive strategy has been to limit retail clerk employment to less than full-time and split shifts between two employees. Another example of challenging changes in government policy is the introduction of a higher minimum wage in the United Kingdom. One strategy for adapting to higher wages has been to enter into partnership with Amazon marketing, which is what the United Kingdom's Morrisons Supermarket did in February of 2016. HelloLife.net in the U.S. also entered into an adaptive Amazon partnership in homeopathic health supplements in 2016.

One strategy used by grocery stores adapting to trends in e-commerce retail in the United Kingdom is the introduction of "smaller, food-based outlets to meet the needs of commuters, such as in train and petrol stations." One strategy used by clothiers adapting to trends in retail is to scale back in new store openings, as Uniqlo of Japan has done in its U.S. market; with 44 U.S. stores by October 2015, it scaled back its plan for an additional 15 stores per year to only 5 additional stores per year.