Wood, a symbol of sustainability and a mega-trend in retail, is still a preferred material in shopfitting. Often combined with fresh and lively colours, it is used to create strong highlights within different store areas. Beyond that, new materials have been invented to fulfil sustainable concepts. The entries for the EuroShop RetailDesign Award 2022 include 87 examples of outstanding store design concepts from 28 countries. Of these, 37 have made it to the shortlist. EHI shopfitting expert Claudia Horbert has reviewed them to identify the top trends in international retail design. The winners will be announced at the end of February.
Cosiness and coolness
Wood stands for an environmentally friendly store design. But it’s more than that: stores are working on concepts characterized by an abundant use of other natural and recycled materials, giving a second life to products that no longer have a possible reuse. Wood of different kinds has become a determining element for store construction. Together with a soft and warm colour scheme it creates a cosy atmosphere, while metal parts, concrete and grids are used to achieve a raw, technical design.
Plastics and the environment
Even newly invented materials that don’t look like it at first glance are environment-friendly. For example, plastic tiles and textile scraps are in this way prevented from being discarded and going to waste. These materials deliver just the right input for new sustainable designs in a store.
Retail and sociability
Modern stores nowadays engage their customers in an interactive story-telling experience. It’s more about the experience on-site than just the purchase of an item. The store is a social place and meeting point for the community, mixing cafés and restaurants, personal services, art galleries, co-working spaces, readings, workshops and lots more. With the growing blend of shopping, hospitality, work and entertainment, sales spaces have to fulfil more than just one function. For this reason, flexibility is highly important, not only for switching from one category to another, but also for transitions between segments and areas.
Fresh and local
In the food business modern supermarkets emphasise freshness, local products and hospitality. They extend their fresh food sections and invite their customers to culinary journeys by responding to changing consumer habits.
Robots and digital mirrors
To meet customers’ expectations, contemporary stores are providing an omnichannel experience through the use of digital tools and services. Some examples:
- Gaming touchpoints and selfie points
- Running tracks for running style analysis
- Digital mirror screens in fitting rooms and in the beauty department
- A robot as a customer assistant in a Thai supermarket who guides customers, recommends special offers and contacts human staff when needed.
The pandemic has demonstrated, in a different way, the significance of establishing stores that can adapt to new behaviour patterns. If life is becoming more and more digitised, people are looking for real-world experiences that engage all their senses. Customer experience becomes more important than transactions with retailers.
EuroShop RetailDesign Award 2022
To prevail in this year’s competition, entrants will again have to present a successful combination of shop architecture, colours, materials, lighting and visual merchandising. They will also have to convey a clear message about their product range. Thirty-seven entrants have been nominated. The nominees have the chance to be honoured in one of the following five subject areas: Food, Fashion & Lifestyle, Digital, Hospitality and Sustainability. EHI and Messe Düsseldorf will announce the winners at the end of February. For more information and to view the 2022 nominees, go to www.euroshop-award.com.