2019 Retail Industry Design Trends

2019 Retail Industry Design Trends

Hudson’s Bay Gatineau QC | Photo: Adrien Williams

When it comes to retail trends, online shopping is here to stay. According to recent studies, 79% of U.S. consumers shop online with the actual number of shoppers expected to hit 224 million in 2019. Online shopping provides convenience, optimal pricing, and oftentimes more selection and options than traditional retail stores. With such service at your fingertips, the design of a physical store is now more important than ever.

Brick-and-mortar stores aren’t entirely without their perks, and many consumers still go the retail route for their shopping experience; they can try on apparel or see and touch something before purchasing, and they can speak to a real person to ask specific questions. Businesses who want to give themselves the most opportunities to succeed blend the best of online and retail shopping, catering to every type of consumer.

Design innovation is a vital tool for retailers to set themselves apart and draw customers into their stores. Each retail space, regardless of industry — department store, supermarket, drug store, boutique, etc. — should incorporate some of these emerging trends in retail store design into their spaces.

Reinvent the Shopping Experience

To compete with the appeal of online shopping, retailers need to get creative with the physical design of their stores. It’s not just about the experience of going to a store in person, but the experiences had while inside the store. It’s no longer enough to have the items shoppers are looking for, retailers must cultivate an atmosphere and feeling that appeals to all customers.

Resimercial design is a growing retail trend and is increasingly popular in the interior design industry as a whole. Resimercial design essentially means creating a comfortable, inviting, home-like atmosphere in a public space. Many in the restaurant and hospitality industry have incorporated resimercial elements, and now retail stores are seeing the appeal of creating this type of atmosphere; customers feel comfortable, they spend more time in the store, and hopefully more money too.

Many stores are including outside elements in their spaces that add to the experience of shopping in person. For example, supermarkets and larger retailers host coffee chain restaurants within their stores, so shoppers can get their caffeine fix while picking up the items they need. Some high-end department stores even offer various amenities within their retail spaces including restaurants and spas that enhance the overall shopping experience for the customer.

Amenities aren’t the only retail trend in 2019. At New Balance’s flagship store in Brighton, MA, customers can get a 3D scan of their foot, giving them the exact specifications and ideal fit for their shoe purchase. They then watch their shoes being made in the shoe manufacturing area. Customers can even stop by the “customization bar” where shoppers can customize sneakers and have them shipped to their homes.

2019 Retail Industry Design Trends

New Balance | Midvale, UT

“The need for a physical shopping experience will always exist,” said Elizabeth Lester, Senior Manager, Global Retail Design and Development for New Balance. “At some point, every customer wants the opportunity to touch and feel the product before they buy — they want the opportunity to interact with a brand in a physical sense.”

A popular glasses retailer equips their employees with iPads so they can look up customer accounts and provide checkout services from anywhere in the store. Some supermarkets even offer an app that allows shoppers to create shopping lists that are organized by aisle, view the nutritional information of products and browse coupons. These in-store tech innovations allow retailers to provide the same convenience that customers want, but also get them in the door.

Use the Force of Social Media

When companies design their physical locations, considering the design of an aesthetically pleasing space that shoppers will want to photograph or pose in front of is vital. This social media phenomenon not only makes the shopping experience interactive but is a great way for companies and businesses to get free marketing and further promote their brand.

Brian Weltman, CEO of Retail Habitats, is seeing this shift in the trends of retail store design. “A visit to a brick-and-mortar space is more about the experience than anything else. For this reason, we are now taking what used to be considered much needed real estate for products and reallocating it for decorative installations for the ever-so-important Instagramable moment,” he said. “Retailers are starting to see that the equity social media posts can bring to their brands as more valuable than just a product on a shelf.”

To accomplish this as a designer, there are countless elements you can feature. It can begin with eye-catching floor or wall installations in interesting patterns like basket weave or herringbone. Then, experiment with neon or chalkboard signage with catchy phrases, paired with intriguing backdrops for photo ops. Retail trends today are seeing brands get creative about design elements that inspire customers to take photos inside the store and share them on social media.

One retailer who has mastered this is the concept store Story in New York City, which describes itself as follows: “Point of view of a Magazine | Changes like a Gallery | Sells things like a Store.” Every few weeks they switch up the entire design of their store and what they’re selling, so it entices people to come in and see what’s new and different. Previously, Story was strictly a beauty retailer for well-known makeup brands, but they have reinvented their brand, their products, and their shopping experience to draw every kind of shopper.

Opt for a Pop-Up Shop

Just as companies are designing stores with fun new accents for social media opportunities, they are also setting up pop-up stores with the same motivation. These unique, “for a limited time” experiences appeal to millennial consumers and provide ample opportunity to spread brand awareness.

“Customers can create memories and truly connect with a brand,” said Ana Pelucarte, CEO of Pop Up Mob. “Pop ups go way beyond transactional retail experiences which is what stores have offered for the longest time.”

Pop-ups are spreading to ecommerce businesses, who are opening temporary stores to test out a neighborhood and get a feel for the performance of their products or services in a real physical space. This can be a preliminary step to opening a permanent location, though some ecommerce retailers do this only temporarily.

Design for Your Demographics

When designing a retail space, considering your audience or target demographic is a foundational step in the process. Identifying that group or group(s) and then choosing design elements that appeal to that demographic is an easy way to draw people in to your stores.

For instance, a children’s clothing store may want to focus on bright colors on the floor, walls, and other pops of color throughout the space. An outdoor retailer may use more earthy tones in their color palette and feature imagery of famous trails or mountains. Though targeted, this appeals to the customized experience consumers expect today.

“If a customer gets a clear point of view of who you are as a brand and can walk out of the door being able to describe their experience in one sentence, you have success,” said Lion’esque Group Founder Melissa Gonzales.

Walk This Way

Retail stores have long used flooring design to help shoppers navigate their way through different sections within the store. It’s also common in department stores and supermarkets to install flooring in a specific pattern that drives shopper traffic throughout the store. As it turns out, flooring design is both an art and a science.

A supermarket, for example, typically puts the items they want people to pay the most attention to at the front of stores and around the perimeter. Because of this, those areas tend to have their own designated flooring material that will subconsciously steer shoppers through those areas.

Other retailers, regardless of industry, should consider using specific wayfinding layout designs in their stores. Businesses can use the flooring design to guide customers to the products they especially want to be seen or even their accent wall or eye-catching neon signage that is generating all the social media buzz. You can essentially use thoughtfully selected flooring designs to strategically guide customers through your store.

No matter the flooring designs or retail trends included in your store’s design, your flooring choices need to hold up under the foot traffic expected in brick-and-mortar stores. Luxury vinyl is one of the most durable and aesthetically-pleasing options for commercial spaces and has been trusted by retailers for decades. If you have any questions about Parterre LVT or how we can help with your next store design, please feel free to contact us.