In-depth: Trends in Retail Design coming into 2018

posted on Monday, 13th November 2017 by David Slater

Retail  VR  Shop Design  Commercial 


As 2017 wraps up what was yet another iconic year in retail design, we look forward to 2018 in hopes that the New Year will top its predecessor. However, we have no doubt that it will.

From yoga store coffee bars to virtual reality cafes, the retail industry is already promising to be an ideas trove for designers and store owners alike. According to research, fewer options lead to increased chances of purchase. Designers have been toying with minimalist concepts for some time and we hope to see more of it next year.

Retail -trends -bag

One space, diverse services
There will be more brands combining services in a single space. Expect to things like a mix of beverages and fitness apparels being sold in one store. An example is Neat Café. This store, which is situated in Lululemon’s European flagship store, provides a variety of beverages for health-conscious consumers.

The café sells everything from juices to protein shakes for dieting customers, and tea and coffee for people looking for a pick-me-up.

Vive Virtual Reality Cafes
China’s retail industry is at the forefront of using VR (pictured top) to promote customer purchase. Only few years ago, Alibaba teamed up with Macy’s to provide a unique VR shopping experience for its customers.

In 2018, Vive’s VR Cafes will take that further by revealing what the future of retail and virtual reality will look like as a mainstream combination. The VR café’s give visitors an virtual reality experience, without them needing to spend so much by buying the VR sets themselves.

More ice cream dipping bars
Have you got a sweet tooth for delicious ice cream? What if you could walk into a store and choose your own ice cream flavour form a centre dipping bar? Magnum started this trend and we expect to see more gelato shops adopt it in the coming year.

The dipping bar provides a luxurious experience for visitors. Magnum’s pop-up store is in SoHo and the design was inspired by the surroundings of its location. The dessert pop-up store consists of high-ceilings, bejewelled décor, and primarily white and brown colours with warm golden highlights that easily blend into the brand’s traditional colour scheme.

Channel -Blurrying -Shops

Channel blurring
From the quick casual-inspired Kum & Go marketplace in Iowa to AXION’s coffee-centric place in Argentina, c-stores are no longer confined to old formats and product offerings. Is a concept successful in another channel? Adapt and infuse it into yours.

According to the CEO of shop design supplier Slatwall Accessories, “Consumers no longer expect strict boundaries between c-stores, QSRs, drugstore and coffee shop. They would sooner accept any store design that allows them shop easily regardless of which channel it appeared first,” he says. Expect to encounter more channel blurring in stores come 2018.

Outside-in concepts
In the fuel-founded c-store context, suppose customers could you their digital pay options like Apple Pay to order meals on a display screen while buying petrol? It would be delivered to the car as soon as the finish filling up.
One brand already testing this concept is Zarco, USA. It uses technology to facilitate typical in-store service options for consumers outside. Hence the name being called outside-in, we will be seeing more technology-driven design changes outside-in in 2018.

Key retail trends
Other trends to look out for include stores that allow you sit and stay a while and the Inside-out design. Customers are learning to take their time when shopping in-store, particularly in standard coffee shops. Store owners are capitalising on this by upping up the ante with comfortable furniture.

Similarly, the inside-out design exposes the whole interior of a store by not blocking the glass windows and doors with ad posters. The more transparent a store is, the more likely customers will enter it.

What design trends are you adopting next year? Is it adaptable to your business? Share them with us in the comments below.

David Slater

Fuelled by a love of interior design and custom installation, David oversees Inside ID and sister publication Inside CI, and has a long history in related businesses...

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