What Millennial Shopping Trends Mean For the Way Stores Will Look in the Future

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According to a recent study by Deloitte, more than 50 percent of consumers do their holiday shopping and much of their other shopping almost exclusively online. Some experts believe the continual rise of e-commerce over the past decade has spelled doom for the brick-and-mortar store, but that tide might be turning.

In fact, predictions for Black Friday 2018 looked promising for physical retailers. Although it was predicted that 2018 would yield growth in that sector, unfortunately numbers fell short of that hope. However, the numbers took only a small (roughly 1 percent) decline from 2017, which in essence means that traditional store numbers are holding steady and that brick-and-mortar is not dead.

So, what do these numbers mean for the design of new stores or redesign of existing ones for 2019 and beyond? Generally speaking, design has always reflected cultural values, and this year’s architectural zeitgeist is diversity with balance and inclusivity. The challenge, then, for those in the building and design industries, is to get contemporary customers through the door and make them feel known, accepted, and welcome to stay and buy.

One way to accomplish this is through the use of bold color schemes. Color blocking is used to catch visual attention and has been proven to encourage specific consumer behaviors. This notion is not exactly modern, however. For decades, designers have understood the psychology of color. In addition, chromatic color, in which various shades of a single hue are present, is also a big hit currently.

According to the design pros at Design and Build Review (DBR), “While the former is particularly effective in youth-orientated retail experiences, the latter is growing in the luxury space.”

The type of store will, to a large degree, dictate its construction and design. The wellness trend for example is not slowing down, and stores that depend on these themes are making a shift to an ambience that entices customers to linger. This includes using natural materials such as wood, clay and plenty of vegetation. Services like financial planning, in addition, are moving toward creating a home-y atmosphere and away from the austere feel of the past, which could be perceived as stuffy or intimidating.

The popular trend of the showroom approach is also impacting how stores are built. The concept here is to keep a minimal stock, just enough for trying on or trying out by customers, with special order availability. The company then ships items to the customer’s home. This type of environment requires smaller locales and is thus reducing the size needs of new buildings.

This smaller environment accommodates new reduced space needs, but it does more than that. It allows brands to focus on providing the most rewarding and unique interactions with clients.

This trend also serves as the “antithesis of the standard shopping mall experience, with the overwhelming assortment of products, the glazed apathy of part-time store workers, [and] the disrobed patrons bellowing from fitting rooms for another size,” according to the New York Times. This smaller size store sets the mood for a more personalized customer experience, which is the holy grail of millennial shopping goals.

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