It is difficult to sum up the last two years with any term other than challenging, and retail has had to adapt extremely rapidly.
If one quote could be used, to sum up the past two years it would be this quote by Ray Bradbury:
“First you jump off the cliff, and build your wings on the way down.”
So many companies that trade in retail experiences, hospitality and in-person experiences have had to significantly adjust their business model and commercial retail design in order to adapt to a situation that has rapidly changed.
This has led to many changes in both buying and selling behaviour, some of which will be permanent, and as such here are some innovative retail trends to prepare for in the new year.
The Retail Merge
It can be easy sometimes to see online and offline retail channels are entirely separate, but the companies that have pivoted to online the best have still taken full advantage of their retail spaces.
The key to effective design on that front is to make the buying experience as seamless as possible between the two types of purchasing, such as the use of click and collect services, discounts that work both online and offline, and branding that is seamless between website, social media and storefront.
Your brick-and-mortar store is still an asset even when situations on the high street change, but it becomes a signpost to quickly pivot potential customers to another sales channel.
The simple fact online juggernauts such as Amazon are opening brick-and-mortar stores highlights how important and relevant online remains.
The Rise Of Social Advertising And Marketing
Many people are aware of the idea of social media influencers, but might not quite get the value they can bring to a business.
Influencers, thanks in no small part to greater regulation, have moved away from carefully curated selfies, product shots and captions, and more towards an authentic aesthetic that draws people towards products.
Businesses are likely to look towards influencers of all levels to provide authentic content and create a digital social community around your brand, generating a buzz, creating a way for like-minded commenters to talk to each other as well as showing off great products.
Augmented Reality’s Great Leap Forward
One of the biggest technological advancements pushing digital shopping forward is augmented reality, which has helped to create a more tactile shopping experience, as well as boost conversions.
Expect this to continue and become more widespread in the years to come.