Retailers and brands are coming out of a pandemic that essentially has lasted three years. The retail market has been challenged by disruptions across the supply chain, inflationary pricing, economic uncertainty, and geo-political factors. The retail market is adjusting to a “NEW ABNORMAL” and a seamless experience and hybrid shopping are shaping the future of retail.
What retail industry trends are expected in 2023 and beyond that will impact retail store design, as we “say goodbye to traditional retail?”
Consumers will continue to shop offline
The death of brick-and-mortar stores has been greatly exaggerated. Consumers flocked back to brick-and-mortar stores as pandemic restrictions were lifted.
Physical retail stores will support sales and fulfillment
A reliance on BOPIS (Buy Online Purchase In Store) and speedy delivery remains. Therefore, it is essential to have an engaging sales floor that facilitates the offline shopping experience.
Experiential retail will continue to grow
People want the experience of going to a store and selecting items they like. Successful stores will offer experiences that retail shoppers will not find anywhere else. A research study found that 59% of consumers expect retailers to dedicate more space to experiences and that 81% of shoppers are willing to spend more in retail stores offering rich shopping experiences.
Increased focus on sustainability and corporate social responsibility
Sustainability will continue to be “Top Of Mind” in 2023. Retailers will be expected to continue improving their sustainability and corporate social responsibilities (CSR) initiatives by selling ethically-sourced products, implementing green business practices and more. Modern shoppers want to align with brands that share their values.
Retail will penetrate other industries and vice versa
More retailers will evolve from purely retail-only stores to become hybrid locations offering more than inventory in 2023. Retail stores will set up services, event spaces and even coffee shops within their locations.
Companies in other industries will continue to add retail components to their businesses to maximize revenue through retail. Hybrid retail locations lend themselves to unique experiences and this trend likely will grow in 2023 and beyond.
Store design will shift to include mixed-use spaces
Store design has been a critical element during the pandemic as retailers adjust store sizes and engage in experiential retailing. For example: Walmart and Target have tested smaller formats like the Target Campus stores or Walmart’s Neighborhood Markets. Simultaneously, Target recently announced plans to invest in larger stores that offer 20,000 more square feet of space than its average store, including new store design features. Features to support new shopping initiatives such as curbside pick-up, fulfillment from stores, and pick-up in-store continue to be added.
Mall developers and community leaders are moving toward pursuing the mixed-use space concept that offers shopping, living, dining, and other community spaces that serve a specified market.
Designers of future retail stores must recognize and understand retail trends and develop designs that will meet the needs and challenges these trends present. Agility, flexibility and sustainability certainly will be watch words for retail space designers in 2023 and beyond.
Glenn Ebersole is a registered professional engineer and is the Director of Business Development at JL Architects, a West Chester-based architectural firm serving clients locally, regionally and nationally. He can be reached at [email protected] or 717-575-8572.