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Top 5 retail trends of 2016

Top 5 retail trends of 2016


Now that January has passed and your store has recovered from the non-stop chaos of the holiday season, it’s time to turn your attention to the future. Retail design may not be as fickle as the fashion industry, but it certainly does change over time. February is the perfect time of year to take a good look at your displays, mannequins, signage and other visual features and make some changes. Which displays have been around the longest, or which have received the most wear and tear? Replacing those items will really freshen up your store and make the customers stop and stare.

You don’t want to get left behind in the past. A look at some of the big-box stores is enough to show you that they haven’t changed much in the last decade – which gives your brand a unique opportunity to stand out. Modern technology changes rapidly, and that has caused retail customers to expect the same of their shopping experiences. Only by regularly updating your look can you keep up with the expectations of consumers. Nowadays, bad retail design is unacceptable, and it could put you out of business.

Check out the top five retail trends of 2016, and think about how you can use them in your own establishment.

1. Wood and stone
The trend of integrating wood and stone materials into retail design was a trend that caught on last year and will continue to gain steam in 2016. Bringing a bit of nature into your store will create a calming effect in your shoppers, especially if your store is located in a busy urban environment. Stepping off the street and into a show floor with dark wood paneling and layers of rugged stone can really make an impact on the shopper’s mood. To complement these elements, consider using a special mannequin from our graphic transfer collection. We have durable graphics in light and dark wood grain that create a unique visual design.

2. Space age revisited
When choosing an ultra-modern design, there are a few pitfalls to avoid. The main trap that this style falls into is that of rapid outdating. If you’ve ever read old predictions of what people thought the year 2000 would look like, you’ll have some idea of this concept. Basically, an ultra-modern design might attempt to look futuristic only to look very outdated a year later when design trends veer in another direction. If you’re going in this direction, the best bet is to focus on a melding of the digital and physical worlds. In an interview with the Harvard Business Review, Ron Johnson, the retail designer behind the Apple Store, said that he wanted the brick-and-mortar stores to have the same feel as the online stores. A simple way you can do this is to make sure the color schemes match. Our C3 custom color mannequins can help you have a consistent color palette online and off.

3. Scandinavian appeal
Furniture trends have become a comfortable mid-ground between design and ergonomics for the past few years, and that trend is slowly creeping into other retail spaces. If you haven’t been in an Ikea in a few years, stop by one and take some notes. They still have easy-to-assemble furniture, but the quality has gone up by several degrees – some of their products are now made of real, solid wood. This combination of comfort, visual appeal and simplicity can be used in most retail settings. If your store sells shoes, think about the customer’s experience when trying on a new pair. Is it a comfortable experience? How could you change it up a bit? Try to use some chairs that match our unique shoe displays for more visual integration.

“More personal attention will take your customers back to a simpler time.”

4. Vintage, but not retro
For a time, it was quite popular to emulate the designs of the 1960s and 70s. This year, it seems, is when those trends fade back into the past. Now, vintage is all about the styles of the early 20th century, especially the 40s and 50s. In men’s fashion, leather, tweed and broadcloth shirts are all highly popular. You can change up the look of your store to fit this trend by adding a few small touches to your displays. With this trend comes the idea of more personal customer service, which is a great way to keep customers coming back. In an age of telecommuting and far-away customer service hotlines, having a personal touch in your store will really stick in the minds of your customers and take them back to simpler times.

5. Retail as a hang out spot
Here’s a concept that definitely appeals to millennial shoppers – the retail store as a place to hang out. More and more shops are adding couches and tables to their stores to encourage shoppers to sit down and relax. Some even go so far as to add an entire cafe! But why? According to Business Insider, cafes in Silicon Valley are among the top places for young professionals to hang out and share ideas. These areas create comfortable environments in which to work, chat and spend money. In urban areas, more and more young people are living with roommates, which means they often want to get out of the house and spend some time elsewhere – why not make that place your shop? It’s a surefire way to get more eyes on your merchandise.

When implementing any of these trends in your store, keep in mind the concept of subtlety. Going overboard with a design can easily cause visual clutter or make certain customers think your store isn’t for their demographic. Subtlety is your friend in this regard. Try changing only a few things at first, such as your mannequins or an outdated table.

Keeping on top of the changing retail design trends will ensure that you remain one step ahead of the competition. So as you move into 2016, play with some new styles, have fun, and create a rewarding shopping experience for your customers.