Make the right choice for every marketing project
It’s a new year and no doubt we’ll see a few new trends emerge in the field of visual merchandising. We’ll also find out which trends from the past might re-emerge and which ones will show staying power by continuing to dominate the retail landscape. You’ll notice some commonality among these trends. We’ve grouped them into three categories: Experience, Convenience and Technology.
1. Bringing the natural environment inside
Top photo image companies like Adobe Stock and Getty/iStock predict a visual trend that includes an abundance of natural subjects. This is likely due to concerns over global warming and climate change. It may also reflect our collective desire to reduce the hold technology seems to have over so many aspects of our lives these days.
2. Involving all of the senses
Physical retail stores have a significant advantage over online shopping sites because they can engage more than just sight. Now, retailers will continue to push the boundaries of how to engage hearing, touch, smell and taste. From store layout to display fixtures, look for more innovations that will entice and attract shoppers, and encourage them to stay longer.
3. Making everything more experiential
Sometimes it’s not all about the product, it’s the experience. This year we expect to see retailers introduce more initiatives that deliver sensory experiences consumers want to share via social media channels. The more limited and exclusive, the better — as we’ve seen with the pop-up shop or flash retailing concept.
Marketing to millennials? Ensure your advertising reflects care for the environment and represents equality when depicting gender, race and ethnicity.
4. Evolving “store-within-a-store” concept to curated merchandise
This year, we’re likely to see more kiosks and small shops spring up within existing stores. Brands and retailers are collaborating to offer customers curated merchandise in a convenient setting. It’s a win-win situation because brands can give their products exposure to captive shoppers who crave new trendy items.
5. Moving beyond “sale” signs to informational guidance
Retail can sometimes get stuck in a rut, like posting a traditional “sale” sign to draw attention. However, there’s a new trend toward informational signage to drive shopper interaction and engagement. These signs are much more creative and communicate things like product recommendations or potential uses for an item.
6. Blending brick-and-mortar with online
Internet shopping has certainly had an impact on malls and independent stores, but it’s becoming increasingly more common for the lines between these two channels to blur. The biggest factors influencing this trend are rising shipping costs and consumer preference for easier returns.
7. Using mobile apps to connect, not just sell
It’s no surprise shopping apps from Amazon, Walmart and Groupon are hugely popular, but be on the lookout for retailers to offer features that go beyond products and discounts. Educational content, interactive gaming and social communities all provide opportunities to build brand and foster loyalty.
8. Implementing artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality
While we haven’t quite achieved the level of technology envisioned in the movie Minority Report, we’ve certainly made advances. And that trend shows no signs of slowing down. User experiences are being shaped by AI and data-driven algorithms. Retail websites are using virtual reality to help consumers envision products in a personalized way.
9. Embracing the internet of things (IoT) for retail
As a retailer, if you don’t consider data one of your most valuable assets, you may be left behind. The IoT for retail is fueled by data which is more available than ever thanks to loyalty and rewards programs. Retailers are able to have closer engagements with customers through internet-connected devices like phones, tablets and watches.