Retail isn’t dying – it’s evolving! As consumers demand more than ever from their brands, and to be treated as an individual – retail has been playing catch up to a certain extent. The winners are those who can treat consumers like they value their time and their business, locking in loyalty. So what will be the top 3 retail trends for 2018.
Last year saw exciting growth for online retail with a growth increase of over 24% – but the great gains are to be made where retailers can create a seamless environment for both their online and offline enterprises. According to Google, 78% of all local searches on mobile result in a purchase instore within 24 hours. 10 years ago – the main challenge was to convince people to commit to purchasing online – now it’s all about how fast retailer’s can get purchases to their customers. How times have changed!
So what is going to be important for this year in retail?
This will become the buzzword of 2018 and it’s about creating a strong sense of connection where common interests are shared, where advice can be sought and recommendations given. Retailers that can facilitate this environment will be able to secure impressive loyalty for the brand. Take Apple who took their outlets to the next level by creating community hubs that offer an immersive customer experience with access to developers so customers feel they are playing a role in the next generation of products. The famous Genius Bar is now the Genius Grove – trees included! So it even looks like the local neighbourhood! Again – by providing access to leaning hubs or learning centres creates that all important sense of belonging.
This was a hot trend in 2017 and the sense that a brand or retailer fully understands your pain points, tastes and needs is truly powerful. Companies like Netflix and Spotify provide personalised playlists for their customers based on previous purchases – and once the consumer is exposed to this level of ‘bespoke’ treatment, it becomes the expected norm, rather than the exception. Retailers need to get this right though!
Creating memorable in-store experiences is fast becoming the ultimate complement to the online platform. Retail space is no longer about a place for products, it is now all about entertainment and community. Experiential retailing is the emerging trend which demonstrates the clever combination of merchandising and hospitality/entertainment management. Providing the unexpected is key – and it needs to be fun, such as discovering a Pop Up Shop where it would be least expected much to the delight of local shoppers. Pottery Barn featured local artisans selling their products along side their own merchandise for a special event- all this keeps the consumer coming back for more in case they miss out on the next exciting in-store promotion or event.
Is it time to ring in the changes?
Enhancing your actual in-store environment, maintaining a contemporary look and remaining relevant will be key in 2018. Look at your lighting – could this work harder for you – setting the scene for a more relaxed buying environment for your retail space? Are your mannequins old fashioned? Are they putting people off coming in? Have your display stands seen better days? Are your display areas adaptable and portable allowing you to give the impression of change in-store? Have you considered your customer flow and does your store layout optimise every opportunity?
If all this sounds overwhelming, help is at hand! Acopia are experts in Space Planning, Project Management, Shop Fittings and Fit-Out. We have an incredible team who work with you every step of the way to achieve your vision. Let us help you transform your retail space and help create your very own ‘brand theatre’!