Guest Column - March/April 2013

Breaking Trends for 2013

Dana LaSalvia

By Dana LaSalvia

Now is the time to start the year off strong by familiarizing yourself with new product trends and integrating them into your rewards and loyalty programs. Trends come and go quickly, with a direct impact on redemptions rates and engagement levels. In order to drive participant engagement and keep redemption rates high, your program rewards must mirror current product trends and keep pace with seasonal changes in order to be successful. Which trends should you keep an eye on in 2013?

Fashion and accessories as a category continues to grow, fueling a strong demand for luxury products. Knowing what's in, what's out and what will be hot will keep your fashion merchandise current and in demand. Celebrity endorsements and licensed products have triggered an outbreak of everyone wanting to live the A-list lifestyle. Does your reward selection include these products? Looking ahead, you'll want to continue to bank on the value of celebrity appeal to drive redemptions.

Popular television programs are an excellent indicator of current and future product trends. Take a closer look at which shows are leading the ratings and any recurring product placements that are featured. It's a sure bet that your program participants will feel a strong correlation to the products promoted during their favorite programming.

In order to fully engage participants with the rewards they truly want, your loyalty programs must follow the latest trends and implement them accordingly. Instead of bucking current trends, utilize your buying power to increase engagement, loyalty and redemptions. Let's stop to take a closer look at the trends that are emerging right before your eyes.

You're In or You're Out

Based on the Spring 2013 runway shows, several trends are going to dominate the fashion industry this year and, in turn, affect the incentive industry. So, what's in? The color experts at Pantone named emerald the "it" color of the year for 2013, so expect it to be huge this spring, along with lemon, poppy red, violet and nectarine ( From rugby stripes to pinstripes, patterns will be one of the year's top fashion trends. Color blocking is also still going strong. Review the merchandise in your fashion category and be sure to include Michael Kors handbags, Burberry wristlets and a variety of watches that mirror these trends.

According to Jessica Brown, senior director of Luxury Goods at Rymax, "the jewelry stacking trend will be huge in 2013 and lends itself perfectly to the mixing of metals. Stack square or round rings or bangles in different shades of gold or layer gold and silver necklaces for a fashion-forward look. It's time to break the old fashion rule that told us not to mix metals." Include a variety of rose-gold-toned, yellow-gold-toned, sterling silver and stainless steel pieces from a top jeweler, and you'll give your participants a wide range of options to complete their wardrobe and stay on trend.

Don't forget that different seasons will yield new trends, as what's hot for spring/summer may change as we head into fall. Because fashion is ever-changing, you must forecast product reviews and refreshments for the entire year. Participants redeem as they shop, and will always want to choose from the hottest product selection.