by Karen Alberg Grossman

In its first session of a new series entitled What’s Next?, Management One presented an interesting webinar on new purchasing strategies for retailers. Specifically, the session focused on digital marketplaces and how they’ll impact the future. Moderated by Management One’s president Mike Alic, the panel comprised Tommy Fazio from NuOrder, Kelly Helfman from Informa, Lauren Cooks Levitan from Faire, Karalynn Sprouse from Emerald Expositions, and Adrianne Weissman from Evelyn & Arthur, a women’s apparel chain in the southeast.

Alic kicked it off with a compelling message on diversity, explaining Management One’s recent commitment to increase racial and ethnic diversity within their company and their network in order to improve racial and social justice in America, which will ultimately make them a stronger company. He also talked about “hitting the re-set button on how much stock companies need, in order to improve the health of our businesses, and our planet.”

Other strong messages throughout the session: the importance of using data, of cutting out underperforming vendors, of finding local vendors, of going deeper with fewer brands, of revisiting vendors who might not have sold you in the past.

Tommy Fazio from NuOrder stressed the importance of planning based less on what you sold last year and more on what’s trending now. He feels business today is less designer-driven and more about comfort and feel-good categories, especially casual apparel, health/wellness, home, and beauty. Kelly Helfman from Informa advised retailers to take advantage of the FREE educational opportunities the new digital trade shows are now offering, including fashion forecasting services that are generally expensive to join.

Lauren Cooks Levitan from digital marketplace Faire quoted a recent survey with the 100,000 retailers using the Faire platform: 53 percent expect to buy less for holiday, 58 percent will wait until later to place holiday orders and will expect return privileges and dating. Adrianne Weissman offered some wise advice: if you’ve put fall orders on hold, confirm with the vendor whether or not you still want the goods or you’re likely to get a surprise shipment. She also suggests that retailers get from their vendors an “available to sell” lists so you know what’s on hand should you need goods later. She also suggests negotiating with vendors, most of whom are stuck with inventory and open to deals.

To listen to the entire session, click here.


  1. Retailers will be scrambling for merchandise in the weeks ahead. Manufacturers and brands alike will be thin in inventory, as they have gotten burnt with cancellations and hesitant to carry inventory. Many manufacturers/importers are challenged getting their factories to take orders, as the factories are concerned with their (customers) credit worthiness. The ripple effect is staggering. Fall/Holiday will be the season that never was.

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