The Future of Brick-and-Mortar: Trends Shaping the Store Experience

Experts predict the key trends that will drive innovation in brick-and-mortar stores, as consumer expectations continue to evolve.

After a period of lockdowns and digital dominance, consumers are emphasizing the importance of the in-store experience. A recent study revealed that 47% of executives believe that store design and experience have become more critical to their brand strategy over the past year. However, the definition of a superior brick-and-mortar experience has evolved, with consumers seeking engagement, inspiration, and a sense of community. To meet these changing demands, brands and retailers are turning to innovative store formats, technology integration, and collaborative approaches. In this article, we explore the trends that experts predict will drive brick-and-mortar innovation in the coming years.

Engagement- and Inspiration-Driven Spaces Come into Focus:

Retailers are recognizing the significance of human-to-human interaction and design-driven brand storytelling. Engagement-driven concepts, such as community stores, foster a sense of belonging and connection, leading to brand loyalty. Examples like H&M Move and Tiffany Landmark showcase the power of creating spaces where customers feel inspired and can spend hours exploring. As consumers seek brands that stand for something, retailers are also embracing community-building and empowering consumers to make a positive impact.

Technology will Elevate Omnichannel Performance and Key Value Props:

Integrating technology into the in-store experience is a top priority for retailers. As omnichannel capabilities become essential, brands are leveraging technology to enhance operational efficiency and create immersive product interactions. Mobile devices and access to a wealth of information enable store associates to provide personalized assistance, particularly for high-consideration items. Augmented reality and fitting room innovations are examples of how technology can elevate the experiential layer and boost customer confidence.

Store Design Teams Become ‘Experience Teams’:

To create impactful change, store design teams must collaborate closely with marketing, IT, and business strategy departments. The shift from “store design” to “experience design” reflects the need for a holistic approach. Executive sponsors play a crucial role in aligning goals and metrics across departments. By considering the art, science, and business aspects of store design, teams can create comprehensive and scalable experiences. Involving technology experts from the beginning ensures that tech requirements are integrated seamlessly into store design.

Store KPIs Will Evolve to Reflect the Unique Role of Stores:

Traditional key performance indicators (KPIs) used to measure store performance often fail to capture the store’s contribution to the overall customer experience. Retailers need to shift their focus towards metrics that reflect stores’ distinct roles in the omnichannel journey. “Sales per engagement minute” is an important metric that measures how much spend is driven by each minute a customer engages with a retailer. This metric allows retailers to assess performance across channels and touchpoints, providing valuable insights for future improvements.

Smaller Formats Inspire Big Innovation:

Retailers are embracing small and short-term formats to address specific goals and resonate with defined audiences. Localization and technology integration, such as endless aisle tools, allow brands to fully utilize smaller footprints and cater to specific customer needs. Pop-up stores are becoming brand ignition moments, creating immersive experiences and generating content. By strategically showing up at significant times of the year, brands can make a lasting impact on the consumer journey.

Loss Prevention Enters the Design Conversation:

Organized retail crime (ORC) has become a major concern for retailers, impacting the consumer experience and store operations. As theft and shrinkage continue to challenge retailers, store design teams are actively implementing new technologies and procedures to combat these issues. From locked plexiglass for everyday items to AI-enhanced video surveillance, retailers are utilizing technology to enhance loss prevention efforts and ensure a secure shopping environment.


As consumer expectations continue to evolve, brick-and-mortar retailers must adapt and innovate to provide superior store experiences. The trends outlined by industry experts highlight the importance of engagement, inspiration, and community-building. Technology integration and collaboration across departments are crucial for creating holistic experiences that align with the brand’s vision. By reevaluating store metrics and embracing smaller formats, retailers can optimize performance and cater to specific customer needs. Furthermore, addressing loss prevention concerns through technology and design considerations ensures a safe and secure shopping environment. The future of brick-and-mortar lies in the ability to create unique and immersive experiences that go beyond convenience and embrace the power of human connection.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *