The retail world has undergone a profound change during the last decade. E-commerce has embraced more and more sectors and consumers, leaving room for apocalyptic forecasts which have however been quickly overcome by the ability on the part of retailers to accommodate the new challenges posed by the market. Manufacturing companies have learned to liaise directly with the end consumers, and the latter are increasingly better informed and aware of topics which are not strictly tied to the product, such as ethical, social and environmental policies.
Industry professionals have therefore had to become accustomed to constant change, pursuing solutions capable of improving the buying experience and offering consumers innovative services. This year, the main showcase on the future of retail had been Euroshop 2020, the biggest industry trade fair in the world, helded from 16th until 20th February in Düsseldorf.
Trend 1 – Styles, materials and colours for a green world
2020 is the year for blue, green and natural shades: this has been certified by the design brands present at Euroshop as testified by the choice of creative minds, in both the clothing and the interior design worlds. In the concept of stores too, there has been evidence of the use of precious marbles (also stars of the latest Salone del Mobile) and oxidised metals capable of interpreting shades of green in an elegant and original manner, as well as resins and fabrics in various hues of blue, with a notable preference for darker shade.
This setting of the Caesar booth features stemmed glass stands made with terracotta, green and blue backgrounds: among the 2020 trends anticipated by the Join collection.
Ceramic tiles are capable of interpreting these looks, achieving them however with a material that is easier to clean, hard-wearing and totally recyclable.
In their choice of materials for wall tiles, seating and desks, designers are also having to take into account the ever-growing focus on the environment on the part of consumers: when accompanied by efficient marketing activities, opting for recyclable products with low impact could contribute to improving the perceived image of the brand
Thanks to a choice of natural materials and trendy looks and colours, including the Venetian Terrazzo look, the German studio FormDesign offered a captivating showcase on the latest design trends in the retail sector.
Last but not least, from a design perspective, 2020 is the year for the major come-back of the Venetian Terrazzo look: the fact that it recalls a recycled material means it is one of the appropriate solutions for tiling settings without having an impact on the planet. Moreover, many designers have reinterpreted and modernised this look, making it mesmerising and at the same time right on trend.
The Terrazzo look constitutes an original choice for floor and wall tiles in retail environments. Pictured, two elegant offerings from the Autore collection.
Trend 2 – Holistic experiences: beyond the omnichannel strategy
For years, we have heard it from multiple sources that manufacturers and traditional retailers need e-commerce in order to be competitive. Lately, the contrary is proving more and more evident: e-commerce businesses need physical points of sale and services across the territory to exploit their full potential.
Store environments also need to be able effectively to communicate the services that the retailer is capable of providing on-line, by introducing non-invasive reminders and interactive technologies. The store should be considered to be part of a purchasing path that consists of several points of contact, which need to be coordinated from an aesthetic and functional perspective so as not to create obstacles.
In general, whether on-line or off-line, they should not be considered as being independent environments with few points of contact, but as areas of the purchasing experience which cross-contaminate one another.
Trend 3 – Social shopping
Although they express their full potential in fashion, partnerships with social media influencers could prove an effective promotional tactic in all sectors. Stores can become sounding boards for the activities carried out by their brand, but they can also stimulate and make sharing pictures on social media more effective.
Inaugurated in April 2019, the Seven Dials Market is one of the biggest street food markets in London. When it was created, its designers were mindful to create spaces which would encourage sharing on social media. One of these spaces is for performances which can be watched from the market and another is the iconic banana-shaped seat (symbol of the market).
For this reason, taking into consideration the most rewarding styling trends on social media could prove useful when planning one’s space. For instance, one of the trends for 2020 includes less frequently resorting to saturated tones and fanciful filters, which characterised Instagram feeds for years, and the mass use of doodles as photo backgrounds.
Trend 4 - Store sweet store
The hectic work pace and the feeling of uncertainty brought about by social changes have led consumers to search for relaxing personal-centric experiences to fill their spare time.
The new co-working place inaugurated by WeWork in New York in January 2019 is an outstanding example of a space capable of combining retail areas and settings dedicated to relaxation. Instagram photos
Stores can exploit this change to reinvent themselves, focusing on the welcome they provide: it may be a good idea to prefer spaces that recall domestic atmospheres, open-plan areas dedicated to relaxation, instead of austere settings which mainly focus on product displays.
Even the food courts of shopping centres can constitute spaces to offer customers relaxing atmospheres. One example is Sandon City Mall, in Johannesburg, which was recently renovated with materials (Portraits) that bring to mind natural stone and natural elements.