Explore Make it Big 2022 On Demand

Level up your ecommerce knowledge with future-focused content from our virtual Make it Big conference.
Share this article

Jenny Fleiss Predicts What’s Next for Retail at Make it Big 2022

Get The Print Version

Tired of scrolling? Download a PDF version for easier offline reading and sharing with coworkers.

Jenny Fleiss, the co-founder of Rent the Runway and Jetblack and current Venture Partner at Volition Capital, has a talent for identifying and capitalizing on retail trends

Fleiss has been honored with numerous recognitions including Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30,” Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40,” “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs” and Fast Company’s “Most Influential Women in Technology.”

At this year’s Make it Big conference, Fleiss spoke with BigCommerce Senior Vice President of Product Marketing Meghan Stabler about the trends retailers should be keeping an eye on heading into 2023.  

Jenny Fleiss’s Key Takeaways at Make it Big 2022

Jenny Fleiss was the closing keynote speaker at Make it Big 2022, providing countless valuable insights for any business leader looking to stay on top of the latest trends. She touched on everything from omnichannel selling to NFTs.

Here are a few key takeaways from Fleiss’s Make it Big keynote session:

Meghan Stabler: Let’s talk about trends for a second, if we can. Can you predict trends or should the merchant be the one that is defining the trend in the market so it does truly become a trend? Where is the prediction of trends? Is it you? Is it the market? Is it a blend?

Jenny Fleiss: “I think it’s a blend, which is an easy answer to some extent. Let me break that down of what I mean. I think often it is catching a spark of an insight in the world around you or in a consumer behavior. But maybe it’s a small percentage of consumer behavior that sparks an idea or makes a lot of sense and could apply to a broader group.

“Example: Rent the Runway. The idea of renting and borrowing clothes from friends, sorority sisters, a sibling…that wasn’t new. The fact that as we did research, we found that at retail department stores, the biggest return dates were January 2nd after New Year’s and February 15th after Valentine’s Day. Women who went, bought an item, wore it, kept the tags on, returned the gold sparkly dress because it didn’t make any sense to keep it.

“They were never going to wear it again. And the retailer has to accept that, right? So many of the retailers weren’t even making that much money in the dress department in particular. And it was the most natural category where fast fashion Zara, H&M, Forever 21 were able to start to make headway because of that gap between the number of wearers and the actual cost, right?

“Like the idea that you want to spend more only if you know you can repeat and wear something and invest in it. So we were kind of seeing all those trends and saying, you know, there could be a big opportunity that we leaned into there.” 

MS: So do you have any trends that you’re following now or are you willing to go ahead and predict the next wave?

JF: “I’d say my macro framework for trends and investing is time is the greatest luxury and that’s something we all have in common, the idea that we constantly want to pack more into our lives and into our days. And so then I think about that in the current moment that we’re in post-pandemic. I think one exciting category is digital health and health-related devices.

“We are all much more attuned, aware of how to optimize our day-to-day, how to take care of our health. So businesses like Oura Ring, where you’re tracking your sleep and you’re tracking your activity, things that we’ve got to spend some more time on during the pandemic. And most people will tell you they want to continue to invest in those trends.

“Eight Sleep is another business that works around those. Then you have glucose monitoring businesses like Levels Health where who thought people would be like injecting needles to measure their blood flow, but it lets an every day person, not just the way an athlete would kind of optimize their day, try to think about how do I extend my time on planet Earth? But also how do I just optimize my every minute, my day-to-day?

“I’d say my macro framework for trends and investing is ‘Time is the greatest luxury’…”

“I think there’s many ecommerce businesses that also look to find ways to get you products faster, whether it’s Gopuff or, you know, Joker, those sorts of businesses or just to save you time as a consumer of faster checkout. So I’m often looking for just that inside of what helped me save a little extra time on a given day so that I can pack more into my life. And I think that will always be a healthy way to drive consumer trends.”

The Final Word

If you missed this session with Jenny Fleiss or would like to watch it again, now you can! Register for free today for easy access to all Make it Big sessions, now available on-demand through the end of the year. 

Don’t forget to share your favorite Make it Big moments with us on social with #MakeitBigConf, and tag us @BigCommerce. 

NOTE: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Pablo Gallaga avatar

Pablo Gallaga is a Senior Manager of Content Marketing at BigCommerce where he focuses on thought leadership content. His years of experience in tech, from startups to enterprise, inform his ecommerce insights.