The future of retail is about creating unique experiences for the consumer. It's about using "green" materials and the development of sustainable products. It's about the introduction of in-store merchandise customization as well as personalized service and designated product pick-up areas. Future retail takes into account opportunities to touch all the senses -- including in-store sampling, testing, socializing, and learning.
Are you considering making a few changes to your retail store? Before you begin a retail build-out or upgrade, take a closer look at some of the top trends impacting retail.
"Green" initiatives and sustainability will continue to be leading drivers in the design and construction of retail in 2016 and beyond. From energy-efficient design structures to high-efficiency lighting systems, millennial consumers are pushing retailers to figure out how to incorporate sustainability throughout their stores and within their merchandise.
New high tech systems with rapid in-store processing are paving the way for a new type of customized merchandise that was previously inaccessible to most consumers. With new tools and affordable pricing, customized merchandise is primed to become a valuable new revenue stream for all types of products. In both flagship stores and at select retailers, Nike is leading the way by allowing customers to add customized wording on Nike shoes and socks.
Upgrading the Personal Touch
Interactive digital technology allows companies to analyze online customer behavior and in turn provide tailored offerings based on the unique preferences of each individual. While not all consumers value this approach, younger generations expect and enjoy the tailored offerings and benefits presented to them based on their individual preferences. From a marketing perspective, this type of personalization can promote closer customer relationships and build stronger loyalty. For example, flash sales retailer Zulily uses algorithms that take into account recent and historical customer behavior in order to provide tailored children's and women's clothing recommendations that appeal to customer preference for brands, pricing, and style. The new challenge for retailers is to bring a similar level of personalization and customer service to physical stores.
Factoring in BOPIS
Although already commonly offered at many larger retailers, buying online and picking up in the store, referred to as "BOPIS" will become even more important this year. This delivery option saves consumers money and allows them the convenience and ease of picking up at the retail store location rather than waiting for deliveries that could get lost or stolen. For the retailer, BOPIS gets the consumer physically in the store and increases the likelihood of impulse purchases.
Combining In-Store Learning
Consumers, especially the millennial generation, seek out new experiences and opportunities to explore and learn. Incorporating experiences that stir the senses and develop new skills are transforming retail stores into special destinations. Using vignettes to allow customers to see how to "use" a product, creating areas where consumers can "test" the product, or setting up a loose "classroom" setting creates these unique learning and lifestyle experiences for customers.
The leader in this category has been Apple, providing specialized tables for product testing, a "Genius Bar" counter for product questions and repair, and large tables for one-to-one and community classes on-site. But, other companies are making inroads as well. AT&T Mobility flagship stores now offer three "experience zones." The "Connected Experience Zone" uses realistic room displays to demonstrate how security and entertainment products can be utilized in daily life. The stores also feature "Community Zones" that allow customers to touch, test, and interact with multiple devices at large, community tables. Finally, "Explore Zones" teach customers how the latest technology devices and accessories function.
The future of retail is about creating new, unique experiences. What elements are drawing in your customers and keeping them at your store? What entices them to return? How impactful is the retail design?
Whether you are considering updating the design of your retail store, upgrading your facility, or integrating new concepts such as in-store learning areas, StoreTech+co is the forward-thinking, experienced partner that brings vision, progressive design, and success to your project. Click here to view our Retail Project Portfolio.
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