Must-Watch Retail Trends for 2018

Setting your retail establishment apart from the competition gets more difficult with each passing year thanks to the unstoppable popularity of e-tail. That’s why good store design is so important – not only does it create a pleasurable environment that people will keep coming back to, it also delivers an experience that can’t be matched by impersonal online shopping. This year’s hottest design trends are all about creating unique experiences and emphasizing the human element of retail.

Tell Your Store’s Story

What’s special about your store? A successful retailer figures out what their story is and then sets out to tell it better than anyone. For example, is your store all about convenience? Find a way to up the convenience factor and deliver even easier shopping. If you’re going for luxury instead, look at ways to create a more sophisticated shopping setting.

More Diverse Services

Online retailers like Amazon thrive on their ability to offer anything a shopper could need in one place. A brick and mortar shop can’t match a huge e-tailer on its nationwide network of inventory warehouses, but the idea of offering multiple services within one store (particularly services that benefit from an in-person touch) is a good one for retailers of any size. Think about what additional offerings or services would be a natural complement to what you already offer. For example, if you sell athletic clothing or equipment, what about offering fresh, customized juice blends? If you have a bookstore, could you offer coffee or snacks for customers to enjoy while they peruse your titles? This could be a great opportunity to partner with another small business in your area to increase sales for both of you.

Head Outside

If you have the option of incorporating outdoor green space, capitalize on the opportunity. The open-air setting is not only inviting when the weather is good, it also cuts down on your HVAC bills. A large landscape isn’t necessary; if you don’t have access to a large green expanse, try incorporating planters into your storefront or arranging the inside of your store to capitalize on the view from one side of your store.

Take a Cue from Hospitality

Hospitality- and restaurant-inspired interiors are making a splash in retail design, and with good reason. Both industries focus heavily on curating pleasant experiences in welcoming environments, goals that retailers would do well to adopt. Think about embracing a homier look for your store if it fits your brand, from more comfortable furnishings to softer textiles.

Showroom Style

Major retailers like Sephora and Nordstrom have increasingly emphasized providing services in a right-sized store over maintaining a huge inventory. Shoppers can visit a physical store for things that can’t easily be duplicated online, like capturing measurements or assisting with tailoring and alterations. Meanwhile, their actual purchases can be ordered online while in the store and then shipped directly to their homes.

Some retailers are even embracing the personal stylist model, where a store staffer helps a shopper assemble the perfect outfit or match the right makeup shades to their skin. The convenience of this service can’t be overstated – a personal stylist ensures that no one ends up with a product that won’t look right outside the store, and as long as the conversation feels pressure-free, the whole experience ends up being fun and lighthearted rather than feeling like a constant upsell.