As we head towards the second half of 2019, Modern Retail look into the five biggest visual merchandising trends of the year so far.
Virtual reality and augmented reality
The introduction of VR instore has proven an innovative way to enable experiences which would have previously only been possible through leaving the store. Examples of this include giving consumers a VR tour of a car using a headset, or even allowing them to explore what a product would look like when built, before purchasing.
AR is best used to overlay imagery on already existing settings, for example, projecting different clothing onto a shopper in-store, or seeing what specific artwork would look like on a wall.
Areas designated to VR and AR continue to innovate common practice, helping retailers to take consumers on a journey and helping to excite customers in a cost-effective and less time-consuming way.
Combining brick-and-mortar with online and IoT
2019 has seen many brick-and-mortar retailers disprove the idea that only e-commerce companies can offer a tailored experience.
According to Infosys, an enormous 78% of consumers said that they would be willing to return to a store if offers were tailored to their interests and preferences, while 86% said they would pay up to 25% more for a better experience.
For those who aren’t familiar with the IoT, it stands for the Internet of Things. This is essentially the extension of internet connectivity which links with physical devices and everyday objects.
Methods of using the IoT to improve customers’ visits include tracking popular areas of the store and placing relevant adverts or information in these locations. Some stores have begun to place sensors near changing rooms which automatically call for a sales associate when somebody has been queueing for more than 15 seconds. This simple use of information works to increase the likelihood of spending, also creating a positive experience.
Retailers are expected to continue making closer engagements with customers through internet-connected devices, creating in-store ‘download our app’ reminders and scannable codes for additional benefits.
In-store experiences and pop-up activations have captured the attention of consumers this year, turning shopping into a more memorable experience.
Nespresso is a brilliant example of a company using experiential merchandising, creating a premium feel through the design of their stores. Very few products are on show, with an emphasis on tasting bars and trialling the products for yourself. Their minimalistic and sleek brand image is complimented perfectly by knowledgeable ambassadors on hand to provide information about each product, leaving customers feeling valued.
These displays are designed to make passers-by stop, whether it’s a themed window display, or entire store.
More companies are now switching up their store design to reflect their brand image, creating areas for customers to try before they buy and see products in action.
Stores within stores
Stores within stores are becoming increasingly popular, often being used to promote specific lines of products.
Separate sections are being introduced by retailers, each dedicated to a particular theme or brand. Showcasing exclusive products, this design typically appears as a store inside the main store, immediately capturing the attention of consumers.
This design enables separate campaigns to run in chosen areas of the store, also meaning customers can find a larger variety of products within one location.
Consumers love nothing more than products which are tailored to them, and what better way to do this than through data-backed merchandising?
Whether it’s following an emerging trend, stocking a pair of jeans which are particularly popular, or using customer feedback to determine items which are in demand, using data to shape in-store merchandising is a simple way to grow business.
There are countless methods of collecting data, from installing tablets at tills for customers to opt into market research, to conducting questionnaires and tracking the sales of varying products.
This is a technique which is used by many of the world’s most successful retailers, for example, Nike, who create areas dedicated to products selling well in each store’s town.
Data-backed merchandising is something we’re expecting to see a lot more of in the second half of 2019, working to make customers feel valued while selling based on preferences.
For more pieces on shopfitting and visual merchandising, read Modern Retail’s Guide to Shopfitting.