Visual Merchandising for A Modern Retail Experience

Learn how to deliver a unique retail experience without being gimmicky

The competition for customer footfall is at a premium. And it’s not the product that matters.

Retail in 2022 is about the benefit of the benefit.

What is the benefit to your customer? What does your retail experience give them?

The experience matters. The best products and brands do not sell without the right experience.

Retail customers want an experience. Yes, they may seek out your brick-and-mortar store for your products, but in the end, it’s the experience that convinces them to linger, browse, touch, and buy.

To make this happen, your visual merchandising and store layout needs to be all about the experience.

Bright open spaces. Interactive window displays. Comfortable chairs. Space to move. Instagramable pop ups. In-store technology. LED product displays. Custom branded millwork. Bold retail fixtures that show and tell.

Experience-forward retail fixtures and millwork must be the focus of your 2022 visual merchandising strategy.

Design and build the right retail experience and the customers will come. Keep reading to learn how you can make this happen in your retail store – regardless of your product, brand, and target demographic.

What Customers Want from Retail in 2022 and Beyond

As you think about how you can deliver an experience, consider these statistics on what customers want from retail in 2022 and beyond:

  • 81% of Gen Z customers prefer to discover new products in stores
  • 50% of customers say in-store browsing allows them to disconnect from the digital world
  • Over one-third of surveyed consumers in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK say a sense of community motivates them to visit local retailers
  • In 2021, 44% of surveyed consumers chose to purchase from brands who have a clear sustainability commitment
  • 83% of surveyed millennials expect brands to align with their values
  • 55% of surveyed consumers look forward to shopping in stores
  • 40% of surveyed consumers don’t like buying without first touching and seeing the product
  • 72% of surveyed consumers showroom products
  • 23% increase globally for appointment shopping

(Statistic sources: 53 Data-Backed Retail Statistics Shaping Retail in 2022 and Beyond and 50 Omnichannel Statistics for Retailers: New for 2022)

And please remember these key statistics about retail stores and sales in 2022 and beyond:

  • 13.7% increase in in-store sales from 2019 through to mid-2022
  • Only 14.3% of retail sales through to mid-2022 were online
  • 20% of surveyed consumers say they now do all their shopping in-store

(Statistics source: 41 Retails Statistics for 2022: The State of In-Store Shopping)

The Psychology of Retail Design and Visual Merchandising

The psychology of retail design tells us what influences customer behavior and buying decisions.

As you audit an existing retail store design or plan for a new store opening, remember these key visual merchandising and store layout strategies:

  • Color: has a direct correlation with emotion and is a key design element in retail store design. For example, black, red, and orange can encourage impulse buying. And whereas young shoppers are attracted to bright colors, older shoppers prefer more muted and subtle colors.
  • Decompression Zone: no one likes a crowded store that bombards them with products. Use the decompression zone to welcome people to your store and ease the transition to browsing and shopping. Take advantage of retail fixtures and millwork that allow you to introduce your brand, communicate your ethos, and subtly guide consumers through the store.
  • Lighting: just like color, lighting impacts mood and emotions. The right lighting fixtures can draw attention to specific products and help lead the eyes (and feet) to your feature products.
  • Store Layout Options: your customers want direction and to be guided through your store. Design strategies such as curves, angles, signage, power walls, and interactive displays can seamlessly lead customers through your store.

The standard store layout options are: grid or straight, loop or racetrack, free-flow, and fixed path. Each of these has their advantages and disadvantages.

The grid layout for makes it easy for shoppers to pick and choose aisles and to shop for very specific products. A loop store design is ideal for giving shoppers a guided and supported shopping experience. The free-flow layout encourages browsing, discovery and serendipity. And the fixed path is popular with big box stores using showrooms and relying on impulse purchasing.

  • Space: customers want room to move and do not want to feel crowded. People are less likely to linger over a display if they feel confined or rushed. Particularly in the post-pandemic shopping era, people are conscious of being too close to strangers. Incorporate white space on your walls, in your shelving and fixtures, and use relaxation zones to give a feeling of space and time.
  • Checkout Displays: custom checkout displays with branded millwork are an ideal opportunity to upsell customers, reinforce your brand message, and to encourage customers to return to your store.
  • Window Displays: whether you’re in a shopping mall or on the high street, your window display needs to grab attention, communicate your brand, and give shoppers a reason to walk through your doors. You have about one second to do this.

The options are limitless but don’t forget who your target audience is and what attracts them. For example, interactive augmented reality displays, seasonal displays and targeted product placement, your mission statement, story-based themes, and more can be key visual merchandising tactics. 

  • Fixtures Matter: make it easy for customers to see, touch, and buy your products. Think about how you want customers to interact with products and which products you want to feature. Retail fixture options such as display cases, display boards, shelving, gondolas, focal wall units, nesting tables, interactive touch screens and mirrors, and more must be used strategically to show, tell, guide, sell, connect, and engage customers.  

Remember – retail experience is the new product in 2022. An experience that evokes positive emotions convinces customers to relax, explore, and trust your brand.

Modern Retail Fixture and Millwork Installation Trends

Striking the ideal balance of innovative visual merchandising, store layout, color and lighting, and retail fixtures and millwork is key to delivering the retail experience that builds brand loyalty.

Your customers are savvy and are quickly turned off by retail store design that is overtly selling to them, is simply following the latest trend, or has no connection to the brand’s mission and products.

Experience matters but it is possible to overdo it with interactive displays, touchscreens, augmented reality, and LED displays. Keep this in mind as you catch-up with the latest retail fixture and millwork trends:

  • Immersive retail displays allow customers to experience your products and brand. Think of how LEGO uses custom fixtures and millwork to give shoppers a hands-on experience with features like the Brick Lab, Tree of Discovery, and Personalisation Studio.
  • Touching and feeling products is a priority for customers now that they can finally get back into stores. Using interactive displays that let customers see how your products fit their lifestyle and personality is an ideal way to build instant brand connections.
  • Technology is a must-have for retailers who understand the value of bridging the gaps between the digital and physical to deliver an experiential retail store. From touchscreen kiosks, design labs, smart mirrors, on-the-spot payment, robot-powered restaurants, augmented reality displays, and more – technology is everywhere in retail and is key to getting shoppers of all ages through the doors.
  • Comfortability and relaxation rank high for customers. Everything from modern lighting design, incorporating chairs and lounge areas, in-store experiences such as coffee shops, or product assembly stations – make it easier for customers to browse, shop, and enjoy the experience.
  • Convenience comes in all shapes and sizes in retail stores. Depending on your product and customers, you may have a series of pop-up store installations that sell complementary products or like Target and IKEA, launch small format stores and design studios, appealing to customers who do not like the big box experience.

Think of what it feels like to walk into an outdated store that is merely a box with shelves and a cash register. You feel nothing. The shopping experience evokes zero emotion. There is nothing compelling you to return.

Do not let this be your retail store experience for customers. If you are still using visual merchandising strategies from 2019, it’s very likely your customers are not getting what they want from you.

At Dynamic Resources, our unique combination of IN-HOUSE offerings makes us your single source provider for all your retail fixture and millwork installation needs.  No one understand installation better than we do.

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