The modern shopper enjoys both bricks and clicks – the physical experience of buying something in-store (the ‘bricks’), as well as the convenience of buying items online (‘the clicks’). But what will this mean for retail design in 2023?
Here Thames Contracts, who specialise in high-end shop fitouts in North London and parts of Hertfordshire, examine what the coming year is likely to bring for retail outlets across the capital and the rest of the UK.
The Power of Social Media
Shops are likely to be increasingly designed with social media in mind. This means selling an idea or an identification with a brand is a powerful marketing tool, and the various social media platforms are one way of achieving this (particularly if it’s a celebrity endorsement).
So some stores are now ensuring there are mirrors throughout their floorspace, and not just in the fitting rooms. This means would-be buyers can take pictures of themselves – selfies – trying on clothes and share them with their friends and family on their Facebook or Instagram accounts.
A Virtual Universe
In the USA, clothing and department stores are increasingly using virtual reality technology and this is a trend that could cross the Atlantic this year. It means you can try on digitally created garments and accessories in a virtual environment, giving you the chance to see how something might look on you or an avatar before visiting the shop or purchasing it online.
The technology is similar to that used in the popular app Snapchat. A camera-equipped device captures the customer, and the augmented reality technology then places a realistic virtual representation of the product over the real-world image of the person to show how the product would look on the customer’s body. Firms that have already taken up this technology include Walmart, Avon and Hugo Boss. However, offering this will mean devoting space and resources within the store.
The Need for Flexibility
More generally, successful retail stores need to be able to switch their priorities from online to physical experience very quickly to maximise their earning potential. Something which is increasingly important in these challenging post-pandemic times for all businesses, given the current cost of living crisis. This means offering a range of experiences such as an online-only operation, a click-and-collect facility, as well as buy online/return in store (BORIS).
To maximise this need for flexibility, many stores are now likely to revert to more open-plan areas which can be easily adapted to changing needs. One way of achieving this is by using glass partitions. We have installed these in many offices in Hitchin, Borehamwood and the surrounding area, but they work equally well in retail outlets too. They can be branded with company logos or other messages for added effect.
The Need for Sustainability
The extreme weather events of the past 12 months have underlined how important it is for retailers to be sustainable – and to be seen to be so. This means cutting carbon footprints by selling items with minimal packaging (or no packaging at all) and having a supply chain and a product that is ethically or locally sourced.
In shop design terms it means using smart technology such as automatic dimmer switches and using LED bulbs rather than conventional ones. It also helps if you design your retail space with as much natural light as possible. Studies have shown this is better for both the physical and mental health of your employees (as well as any would-be buyers). More natural light could also help cut your electricity bill.
Shop Fitouts in North London from Thames Contracts
At Thames we will look at all aspects of your retail environment, including the lighting, the flooring, the layout, technology and the shop front to ensure that you make the most of your space.
We have worked for many big names as well as smaller establishments. However, one thing that doesn’t change, however big or small the project, is the high quality of our work.
We have an enviable reputation for bringing in our shop fitout projects on time and in budget.
If you would like to know more about any of our services, call us on 020 8368 0045 or follow this link and fill in the online form.