Reopening of retail stores

Specialist Glass Products experts have shared their predictions on the biggest retail design trends for 2021, from more welcoming designs to reflect real living spaces to focusing on experiences over sales.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers have had to adapt to ongoing guidelines, which have potentially changed how they will function in the future.

In the mobility retail sector, dealers introduced a range of measures to ensure their stores were COVID-secure, such as Lifestyle & Mobility installing hand gel sanitisers in-store and introducing a one-way system to keep customers sade.

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People First Mobility, a Skegness-based mobility retailer, got creative with ways to ensure its smaller store was still safe for customers to visit during the pandemic. The mobility firm created a customer service station to the front of the store near its doors where staff can serve customers. In addition, it used coverings on any of its scooters outdoors and introduced a plastic screen, giving consumers additional peace of mind.

However, Specialist Glass Products says retailers will also need to adapt to a change in buying habits with an increase in online spending.

With this in mind, experts from the company have shared their predictions on what key design trends will be popular amongst retail businesses in 2021, which could prove insightful for mobility retailers.

1. Welcoming spaces

The structural glass manufacturer says creating spaces that feel more like real living spaces will become increasingly popular in retail properties.

“Incorporating more seating for customers to get comfortable and indulge in the shopping experience more than a cold hard exterior of racks of clothing will be preferred,” it predicts.

More vibrant colours and interactive aspects such as advertising screens incorporated into the room structure also likely to become more popular, experts add.

2. Experiences over sales

Shopping habits have likely changed for many Brits with the stay-at-home messaging in 2020, which means the physical shops may no longer be the final destination in the purchase journey, the manufacturer suggests.

Instead, the physical space is somewhere customers will come to test out products and then make their purchase decision online. The manufacturer states that some brands have taken this a step further already and created demonstration environments for customers to try before they buy.

3. Virtual assistants

“If you shop online, you’ll have seen that many businesses have introduced chatbots and virtual assistants to help with queries,” Specialist Glass Products continues. “As we head back to the high street in 2021, we might begin to see these virtual assistants present in physical stores. “

Recent products, such as Pepper the retail assistant, could be something customers become familiar with, as the technology will allow them to receive special offers instantly in store and log direct feedback on their in-store experience.

Andrew Taylor, Joint Managing Director at Specialist Glass Products, said: “With a new year comes new trends and inspirations for businesses. 2020 was particularly difficult for the retail sector and many of the changes to these businesses will definitely carry on well into 2021.

“Customers require new processes and safety precautions due to the ongoing pandemic and government restrictions, so it’s important for business owners to pay attention to these and adapt their spaces accordingly.

“We’re really excited about some of the upcoming trends in retail design for 2021 and beyond and think they will encourage businesses to focus more on their customers’ experience, making them feel comfortable and safe whilst bringing in new ways of shopping to reflect online purchasing habits which many will have become accustomed to.”

Founded in 2003, Specialist Glass Products is a structural glass manufacturer specialising in annealed, laminated and toughened bends, as well as manufacturing and supplying all types of flat glass.

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