By Reno Macri

Shopping, often regarded as a chore, is going through a transformation as savvy shoppers of the 21st century are demanding a more interactive and visually appealing way of purchasing products and in this new age of technology, retailers are coming up with ever more innovative ways to keep consumers coming back for more. Some of the latest and blossoming trends in retail are:

1. The Raw Look
Less is more in modern retail design. Retailers are now realizing that minimalistic design has more of an impact than bright colors and fake wood. Going back to basics in an industrial style space with exposed steel beams and concrete pillars (like a professional’s loft apartment) make the store look less cluttered and ensure that the products stand out more.

2. Digital Retail Technology
Embracing the nation’s love of mobile phones, many retailers are creating their own mobile applications so that consumers can buy their products using their mobile phone. Another development is the in store digital catalog where customers can browse through virtual ‘aisles’ , check stock, find special offers or even talk to a customer services representative via video link. The use of websites, phone apps and digital catalogs have led online retailers to branch out and begin to open high street stores as the differences between physical stores and home shopping companies becomes blurred.

This has benefited online retailers who now have access to an entirely new pool of customers.

3. International Retailers
More and more UK retailers are spreading their wings and becoming international. Companies like NEXT and TopShop now exist in America as the U.S discover what’s great about British fashion. This has literally opened up a whole new world for fashion retailers.

4. Retail Trucks
Retail trucks – or even retail buses – can be used to advertise commercial products. They make highly visible signs and you can advertise anything from frozen yogurt to ladies clothing. While food sellers may be old hat (we’ve all heard of roadside cafes), trying out new brands in your favorite fashion store on wheels is an entirely new concept and one that is gathering storm. It allows retailers to promote new products and reach new customers and for customers to try samples or view special deals. Retail trucks can be taken to trade shows and fairs or other events where like-minded customers go.

5. Specialty Shops
These are small shops within a shop that focus on specific products to cater to the needs of a particular demographic of consumer.

6. Show-rooming
A craze borrowed from Japan, showrooming allows customers to scan bar codes in from the products they want to buy and instead of collecting the item, it is delivered to their home.

7. Architectural Structures as Advertising
Once the domain of independent artists, architectural art is now being used to represent companies so your advert is a solid reality rather than a line in the newspaper.

8. Weird and Wonderful Window Displays
As well as 4D art, retailers are coming up with captivating and wacky window designs to draw customers into their shops.

9. Service Charges
Some countries are implementing service charges so that the retail industry can pay import taxes.

10. Holistic Health
There has been a boom in holistic health stores and in the number of customers buying vitamins and supplements as more people are taking charge of their own health. Customers of the 21st century demand choice in all areas and want a truly personalized shopping experience.

Reno Macri is a founder and director of Enigma Visual Solutions, a leading exhibition and event marketing company in the UK. It specializes in providing exhibition services like exhibition stands design and build, event branding, pop up shop, retail branding, conference design, signage and much more. Reno specializes in experiential marketing, event planning and productions. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.