PI Apparel Brings Together Top Merchants in New York to Explore the Latest Trends in Merchandise Planning

November 8th, 2023
12:55 PM

Last month, PI Apparel launched its first edition of their Merchandise Planning conference which is the first of its kind. The two-day event brought together leading Merchants to discuss the latest trends and developments in data analytics, smart forecasting, and strategic planning for casting supremely customer-focused products.

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The Aims

Until recently, a merchant’s success was based on the ability to forecast trends, select or develop products, and profitably manage a business. These responsibilities required a clear understanding of the customer. However, understanding the customer has become exponentially more complex in recent times.

Merchants must now evaluate data analytics, patterns in online shopping behavior, and fluid pop culture and entertainment trends. They must also gauge the impact of macroeconomic conditions on consumption habits. Then merchants must integrate all of these data points with their own customer experience to make the most impactful business decisions that affect company direction.

This transformation requires a cultural shift of traditional retailers (as well as designers and manufacturers) that is centered on optimizing data and leveraging consumer insights to offer products and services that shoppers want.

This event brought together the leading retail thought leaders in the US to explore the latest innovations in merchandise planning in order to accelerate speed to market and maximise ROI. Hot topics will include how to use AI and data to enhance digital integration, Inventory and Demand Forecasting, Customer experience, Pricing Strategies and Sustainability.

We looked at not only at new technologies that are revolutionizing the Merchants role, but also the key strategies and methodologies needed to create the most customer centric products, whilst minimizing mark downs and returns.


The Importance

The retail apparel industry is forecast to reach $400 billion in total sales by 2028. After a global pandemic that crammed a decade’s worth of ecommerce growth into a mere eighteen months, the energy is finally bouncing back and there’s a sense that this is the moment for some real leaps and bounds in innovation.

Compared to larger expo events, PI Apparel is able to offer a more intimate setting to hear insights from industry experts and network effectively. With a specific focus on Merchandise planning, our attendees were able to gain the most relevant information to elevate their strategies and business.


Key Themes included:

  • Optimized Line Planning Strategies
  • Demand Forecasting & Inventory Management
  • Product Assortment Curation
  • Customer Engagement & Personalization
  • AI & Predictive Analytics
  • E-Commerce and Omnichannel


Key Speakers included:

  • Steve Brown, Heading up Merchandising at Calvin Klein
  • Bailey Heckel, Director of IT - Design and Merchandising Systems
  • Glenda Light, Former VP Company Planning (Contract), Alo Yoga
  • Myraida Vega, VP of Planning and Allocation, Reformation


About PI Apparel

PI Apparel is a community for apparel and footwear professionals. Providing a series of global events which bring together industry leaders to discuss digital transformation in apparel. Launched as a branch of the Product Innovation brand, the first PI Apparel event took place in London in 2013. Since then, it has become one of the world’s top event series in the apparel industry and has grown to establish a prominent presence in the USA, Asia and Europe. For more information visit, https://apparel.pi.tv/.