Top 2023 Retail Design Insights from Dynamic

2023 has been a pivotal year in retail design and installation. Brick-and-mortar retail is evolving quickly with brands embracing the latest in tech and innovation. 

But even bigger than the innovation and technology push, is the deep need from consumers for a new type of retail store. A store where they feel comfortable, seen, and relevant. A retail space where they can connect and find community. 

Creating this doesn’t happen by chance. It takes strategic retail design and installation based on proven visual merchandising, branding, and design experience.

In this blog we have collected our top 2023 retail design and installation insights – so you can create a retail space that stands out for all the right reasons.  

How to Hire a Retail Installation Services Partner

Retail installation services include the delivery, handling, assembly, installation, and maintenance of all retail fixtures, millwork, and equipment. 

An experienced retail installation services partner does it all: 

To hire the right retail installation services partner for your brand, ask these questions:

  • How do you approach retail installation for a brand, location, or store concept you haven’t worked with before?
  • What design, materials, colors, and other visual elements represent my brand’s image?
  • How do you ensure brand and image consistency throughout the store, including during seasonal roll-outs and updates?
  • What is your approach to assembly and installation of custom fixtures, millwork, signage, and displays?
  • How much experience do you have managing retail installations for our customer demographic? Can you give me some examples?
  • What do you see as the top retail trends influencing our market? How can we use retail design to gain a competitive advantage?
  • What is your strategy and experience with retail installation maintenance, logistics, and warehousing?
  • What questions do you have for me about our company brand, image, customer demographic, and sales cycles?

There is a time and a place to take a risk, but choosing your retail installation services partner is not one of them. 

Make sure you know who you’re hiring, the work they have done, and their track record in creating lasting first impressions.

The Role of Retail Fixture Installation Companies in Visual Merchandising

Retail fixture installation companies are specialists in installing, maintaining, and delivering the  shelving, lighting, layout, kiosks, pop-ups, and design elements that bring your brand vision to life. 

Make sure your retail fixture installation company has these five core skillsets:

  1. Planning and Design: works with your marketing and design team, to plan your store layout, including how to arrange fixtures to highlight products, make customers feel at ease, and encourage browsing and sales. 
  2. Fixture Installation: this is the core role of a fixture installation company, ensuring all fixtures from lighting, display cases, kiosks, shelving, graphics and signage, interactive displays, seating, and more are installed precisely, cleanly, and efficiently. 
  3. Maintenance and Repair: preventive and reactive maintenance is a must-have when it comes to creating an inviting, professional, and profitable retail space. 
  4. Relocations, Renovations, and PopUps: manages and takes care of all dismantling, packaging, transporting, installation, and storage of your fixtures during relocations, pop-up store installations, global design roll-outs, seasonal renovations, and more. 
  5. Project Management: managing the multiple moving parts, people, deliverables, and understanding the overall vision of your retail space to ensure you get exactly what you and your customers need. 

The Four Rules of Retail Design and Installation

You need to memorize these four rules of retail design and installation:

  1. People shop with their senses. 
  2. Retail fixtures are part of your sales team.
  3. Your store is for your customers – not you.
  4. Great products cannot compensate for poor retail design.

Every aspect of your retail design from the color of your floor, the hue of your lighting, the position of your shelves, the depth of the display cases, and volume of music influences customer decisions. 

To help you choose the right retail displays for your products, brand, and customers, use this five-step framework:

  1. Customers. Who are they, what do they want from your store, what do they not want, why are they choosing your store?
  2. Products. What are you selling, how can you showcase product features, how can you make your products appealing?
  3. Five Senses. How can you create connections between your products and your customers, how can you use sight, touch, smell, sound, and taste to build brand loyalty, awareness, and customer desire?
  4. Retail Space. What is the best way for people to move through it, how can you design it to best support your customers, products, and sales team, what are your retail goals, what do you want people to do in your store.
  5. Sales Team. What are their biggest challenges, how do they spend their days, how can you make it easier for them to do their jobs, what are their moods like at the end of the work day?

Retail display installation is about more than positioning shelves and racks. It’s about emotion, marketing, brand awareness, environment, people, and psychology. 

It’s your store. Don’t forget this. 

How to Deliver a Positive Retail Shopping Experience

People crave experiences and they want these from their favorite retailers and brands:

  • 35% of consumers shop in brick-and-mortar stores for an enjoyable experience 
  • 24% of consumers want to see, touch, and use products before buying
  • 60% of customers purchase from retailers based on previous positive customer service experiences
  • 86% of shoppers will pay more for an excellent shopper experience
  • 49% of customers made impulse purchases after a personalized experience
  • 83% of millennials expect brands to align with their values

To deliver a positive retail shopping experience, focus on these six core elements of retail design:

  1. Authenticity: how do you treat your customers?
  2. Personalization: how well do you know your customers?
  3. Sustainability: are you committed to sustainability or is this greenwashing?
  4. Value: what does your store give people that they can’t get online?
  5. Community: do you offer more than products for sale?
  6. Convenience: how easy is it for people to buy from you? 

What is it about your retail store that convinces people to get in their car, drive to your store, search for parking, deal with crowds, stand in line, and then drive home?

Your retail design needs to outperform the internet. Done right, retail design is the extra cherry-on-top that sets you apart from your competitors.

The Power of Pop-Ups and Experiential Retail

You know that people visit your store for more than just shopping. People who just want to shop can do this online. Your customers want more from you. They want that memorable shopping experience that they can tell their friends about and share on social media.

It’s time to start bending the rules of retail and giving people what they want. Immersive, personalized, memorable, interactive, and multisensory retail experiences. 

These four benefits of experiential retail outlive retail design trends and gimmicks:

  1. Increased foot traffic
    The more foot traffic, the greater the chance of sales. Experiential retail gives people a reason to seek out your store. 
  2. Brand awareness
    Think like a curious five-year old. What do people expect from your brand? Do the opposite. What have you always done with your windows and graphics during the holidays and seasonal sales periods? Do something completely different. Get people talking.
  3. Social engagement
    House of Vans. Casper. Ikea. These brands know that people want to share their shopping experiences on social media. So they gave shoppers what they wanted – experiential retail designed to be shared on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. 
  4. Community connection
    In-store classes and workshops, live events such as concerts or guest speakers hosting other community groups or causes, pop-ups, art gallery installations, etc. are all great ways to build a community connection and give people an experience they cannot get from shopping online. 

Too many retailers overlook the power of the pop-up in delivering memorable retail experiences. A pop-up shop lets you engage and connect with your customers on an unexpected level. 

For example, the Nike pop-up shops at NBA All Star Games, the NFL Superbowl, and The Olympics offer one-of-a-kind personalized experiences and exclusive products unique to each pop-up location. This helps Nike reinforce existing relationships and showcase products to people curious or new to the brand. The pop-ups are also a destination point at major sporting events. 

Making the transition to experiential retail does come with risk and unknowns. A pop-up installation is the ideal way to test your ideas and collect immediate customer feedback. 

As part of your marketing strategy, pop-ups are ideal for:

  • Testing new products, services, and branding strategies. Follow the lead of Warby Parker, a DTC eyewear brand who used pop-up shops to test out brick-and-mortar retail with pop-ups featuring eye-catching graphic installations and custom branding.
  • Reaching and engaging with a new demographic. Use your pop-ups to test your brand awareness and products with new customers. Your pop-up installation can push your brand out and collect data on awareness, product resonance, likes/dislikes, and customer demographics.
  • Teach people about your products. People need to know how and why your products solve their challenges. Create pop-ups with an educational feature. For example, use workshops and demonstrations to make it easy for people to get hands-on with your products.

Your pop-up can be whatever you want it to be. The only limit is your imagination. However, remember what people want from you – connection, community, personalization, and support.

How to Incorporate Brand Identity into Your Retail Store Design

What story does your retail store tell? If you covered up your logos and marketing – what makes it different from your competitors? Do your stores have a personality? Do you have the intangibles that appeal to the needs and wants of your customers?

Nike. Glossier. Ikea. Uniqlo. LEGO. Apple. Starbucks. 

These retail stores get it. These brands take deep advantage of retail design to communicate brand identity.

To incorporate brand identity into your retail store design, focus on these seven core elements of retail store design and brand identity:

  1. Window Displays
    The first thing people see is your window display. You have about 2 seconds to grab the attention of someone walking by. Put your brand identity and story on full show in your window display.
  2. Graphics
    Graphic installations and signage including banners, films, floor graphics, 3D lettering, wallpapers, murals, and cut letters are key to expressing your brand identity and making it easy for people to relax and spend time in your store.
  3. Color
    The Glossier flagship store in SoHo is an example of how to use color to make people feel calm, welcomed, and supported. From the monochrome design through to the bright red accents and the subtle white subway tiles – the use of color simply works on all levels.
  4. Millwork
    Creative use of millwork and fixtures allows you to show off your message, personality, vibe, and value through-out your store. Think of the shelving in Costco and the shelving in Apple. Very different brand identities and very different approaches to shelving.
  5. Lighting
    Walk into any LEGO store and you’re dazzled by the bright lights, the vibrant color scheme, and the creative use of signage and millwork. You feel inspired, curious, and drawn to displays – all thanks to the lighting.
  6. Space and Store Layout
    Space and store layout are key visual merchandising tools for guiding people through your story and directing them to key sales areas. Think of how you position millwork and use design strategies like curves, sharp angles, interactive displays, and relaxation zones.
  7. Consistency
    Consistency makes it easy for people trust your brand and feel like they “know” you. When you veer off-brand, you cause an immediate disruption – which may help you gain attention but threatens to confuse people and make them question why they chose your brand over your competitor.

Brands like Uniqlo, LEGO, Apple, Starbucks, Nike, Ikea, and Glossier have an edge because they are not afraid to connect with their customers and show-off who they are, what they believe in, and why people need and want them. 

6 Real Strategies for Sustainable Retail Design

Sustainable retail design is about more than eliminating plastic bags or dimming your lights. Your customers expect more. If you fail to deliver on sustainability, your customers will abandon you.

You need to prioritize these 6 sustainable retail design strategies and principles:

  1. Use responsibly sourced materials, fixtures, millwork, and sustainable design elements.
  2. Use modular fixtures, product displays, and seating that can adjust to product roll-outs and promotions.
  3. Always prioritize repair, refurbishment, and preventive maintenance of your fixtures and fittings.
  4. Build energy efficiency into your lighting, heating, cooling, and visual design elements. 
  5. Take advantage of a forward-thinking design and merchandising ethos that enables ease of adaptability, repurposing, durability, and agility. 
  6. Incorporate technology to limit waste and to take advantage of evolving merchandising and branding strategies. 

The facts are here for us to see. Changing climate. Excessive amounts of garbage. Polluted oceans. Food shortages. We are in an environmental and climate crisis. You cannot wait to act.

The time for sustainable retail design is now – you cannot sleep on this. 

Millwork Design is Your Competitive Advantage

Experiences. Conversations. Entertainment. Product demos. Help. Connection. This is why people shop in brick-and-mortar stores. And this does not happen with old-school retail design. 

Your millwork, window displays, graphics, and layout need to focus on the consumer. Your products are no longer enough. It is all about the consumer now.

Smart retailers recognize this. You know your retail store needs to be a space where people feel seen, accepted, and welcomed. The shopping is almost secondary.

And as the headlines remind us on a daily basis, the retailers who fail to change with the times get left behind. The good news is, your modern millwork design, graphics, window displays, layout, and entire visual merchandising strategy is your secret competitive advantage.

Give people what they crave – belonging and being seen:

  • Demo and tester kiosks that let people see and feel how your products fit into their lives and solve their challenges. 
  • Display cases and shelving units that can be adjusted and customized to showcase seasonal items. 
  • Mannequins and forms that look like your customers.
  • Floor layouts and signage that make it easy for people to move around, relax, and find what they needs. 
  • Window displays that communicate how your brand mission and ethos meshes with the community.
  • Pop-up collaborations with adjacent brands or local artisans. 
  • Accessible and knowledge sales personnel who can educate and support consumers, giving them the extra information they need to feel confident about their purchase.

You’re selling to humans, people with emotions, challenges, and history. Be more than a store. 

You need to work with humans who know retail design and installation. You need Dynamic. 

You need our network of highly skilled local retail designers, fixture installers, and service providers. Real people who know your local market. Our strength is our people. 

At Dynamic, our unique combination of IN-HOUSE offerings makes us your single source provider for retail millwork design and installation, graphics, and window displays. No one understands retail design and installation better than we do. 

Contact us to learn how we can handle any aspect of your business – from an individual installation to a global roll-out.