With 2016 fast fading in the rear-view mirror and retailers having just moved through their traditionally busiest time of the year, we're now into 2017 and looking at a new, fresh start to a year full of hope and promise. The coming year looks to be unique for retail store operations partly because store owners, amid the pressure to compete with their eCommerce rivals, are exploring new innovations to help stabilize a retail market that's recently been softening.
Looking at retail trends for the year 2017, you can expect retailers to place special emphasis on the “customer experience” which, after all, is their main competitive edge against online shopping. Retail shelving plays a role in creating this shopper experience, as the shelves and fixtures you choose to use become a major factor in designing your store's atmosphere.
New retail shelving styles continue to be developed, giving store owners even more choices on ways to best outfit their merchandising areas to be both appealing to customers and to help generate the desire in them to buy more of the products displayed on those shelves. Computer technology is even starting to play a part in the development of retail shelving. The use of “smart shelves,” for example, is a prime illustration of how traditional retail is going high tech. Some stores are installing shelves that can interact with your smart phone to take you right to the areas in the store that match items on your shopping list. Others can display product info digitally or have product prices updated instantly using handheld computers.
2017 Retail Trends
The #1 retail trend for 2017 looks to be the upgrading of physical stores to draw customers in and away from shopping online. Physical stores are important to customers because they provide the ability to see and to touch products – to try on an item of clothing or sit on an actual couch or chair before committing to spending. A major trend in 2017 will see store owners looking for innovative ways to elevate the customer shopping experience to give those customers good feelings about being there and a reason to want to come back and even share the experience with others.
Retail shelving trends are moving away from traditional squared-off metal shelves in beige/white and moving toward a more organic look – not only in shelves and fixtures but in other mood-creating areas, such as flooring surfaces, wall colors, the addition of natural lighting via windows and skylights, signage, in-store greenery and more.
Gondola shelves have long been the workhorse of many retail display environments and they still are, but this year look for all those straight edges and basic beige and white colors to develop undulating curves and to take on a new palette of colorful hues as found in the Madix line of Concave/Radius Shelves. These come in wall-mount shelving as well as gondola models.
Studies show that consumer preferences are trending more toward smaller stores and away from big box mega stores. Shoppers like the idea of being able to easily find what they want in a comfortable, specialized environment with an organic feel rather than a sterilized environment of sharp-edged metal shelving, linoleum flooring and fluorescent lighting. Featuring displays made from wood, faux wood, glass, chrome, bamboo, etc. helps this all take shape.
2017 should prove to be a year where customer personalization becomes primal and the shopper's experience trumps low cost and even product quality. Meet expectations by providing a customer experience they'll come back for again. Success should follow.