As digitisation continues to revolutionise retail, brick-and-mortar stores are evolving. The strong players in offline retail will continue to make their presence felt, even as more and more people buy their goods online. But to have a really good store today means rethinking the purpose behind it and amending your display space accordingly – here are five of the trends driving change, and how they can help you make sense of offline retail in an increasingly online world.
1 – It’s all about the sensory experience
You’ve probably heard about the importance of the “experience” but here is what it means: in a world where people can buy the same products online as they can offline, usually more easily and sometimes more cheaply, brick-and-mortar stores have to offer something different. That “something different” is an immersive experience that lets shoppers experience products with all their five senses – your displays have to make the most of the tactile and sensual elements of the products, which are still a vital element.
2 – Enable browsing, not just buying
The experience of shopping should be fun – and that means treating the transaction as a secondary element. You should be thinking about the way your customers will travel through your store, and using display spaces to create a uniquely curated experience. You can do this by creating different set-ups from your competitors, emphasising better product presentation, and offering the highest quality customer care. If you make your shop a fun place to be, your customers will be loyal to it.
3 – Be flexible in how you design retail spaces
If you want customers to keep coming back, you can’t leave the same displays up for months at a time. You should be using your space in novel ways, regularly shaking things up, and creating themed product presentations around curated collections. In some industries, that’s already the standard – but it will soon apply to all types of retail. Think about ways you can repurpose your display furniture and spaces, and don’t be afraid to try new things from time to time.
4 – Even offline should go online
As digitisation creeps into the physical world, your store will have to follow suit. That means connecting the digital space with the analogue space – using connectivity (does your store have free WiFi?), showcasing your displays on social media (time to get that Instagram account going), enabling omnichannel retail (have you thought about fitting out your displays with a tablet?) and more. Your store shouldn’t be somewhere people go and find themselves cut off from the internet – it should offer something in addition to, or over and above, the online experience.
5 – Put your people in the spotlight, too
The focus on sensory experiences, fun, novelty, and added value all have one thing in common: they make the shopping experience more human. That means that your staff must move into the foreground, offering assistance navigating the beautiful spaces you’ve created. Every person you employ needs to be an expert at navigating the displays and presentations on offer, and also needs to be a customer-focussed person that has the willingness – and ability – to help. Without that human touch, even the best retail space will feel hollow.
If you need more help thinking through your next retail display, get in touch with us through our contact page. With years of experience, and a great track record, we can help you make your brick and mortar store truly competitive in the digital age.