Check Out These Store Trends

John Krautzel
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From simplifying customer choices to creating luxury shopping experiences for every member of the family — including pets — retail trends in 2016 run the gamut. As brands adapt to the increased competition brought on by the digital age, many are adopting new ways to pull in shoppers and create customer loyalty. Here are a few of the top retail trends to keep an eye on moving into the future.

Championing Social Issues

Contemporary consumers are looking for more than just great products and reasonable prices. They also want to do business with responsible companies that have similar values to their own. In response, many retailers are choosing to align themselves with social justice or environmental issues. For example, Ben and Jerry's is encouraging people to vote with its "Democracy is in your hands" campaign. The campaign pairs information about voting with specially marked ice cream containers designed to give people information about the issues facing the United States in the 2016 election.

New Delivery Options

Providing quicker, more responsive delivery options is a top retail trend, and some retailers, such as 7-Eleven, are looking to offer fully automated delivery direct to customers' homes via drone. Recent tests in Reno, Nevada involved the use of drones to deliver hot and cold food items to homes using GPS data. Although this type of delivery is still in the testing phase, expect to see more retailers incorporating quicker delivery options through 2020.

Getting Back to Basics

Information overload is a real problem in the digital age, and this problem extends into the retail environment. Not every consumer wants hundreds of items and options from which to choose, prompting some retailers to scale back their selections. Chipotle uses this tactic in its new restaurant chain Tasty Made. The Tasty Made menu offers burgers, french fries and milkshakes, and nothing else. Chipotle hopes to attract customers with high-quality food made from natural ingredients, including responsibly raised beef, while filling a specific niche.

Enhancing Customer Experiences

On the flip side, some retailers are hoping to draw in crowds by offering a higher quality in-store experience. For example, PetSmart is creating pet spas with luxury level services for pets and pet owners. McDonald's is experimenting with stores with futuristic kiosk ordering systems that let you customize every part of your order. Other retailers are adding shoppertainment events that tie in with their products, such as cooking classes at grocery stores or poetry readings at book stores. Fun customer experiences draw in new shoppers and create happy memories that encourage customers to come again.

Moving through the 2010s into the 2020s, stores are looking to adopt retail trends that build brand loyalty and ensure business growth well into the future. Look for retail trends that bolster sales in brick and mortar stores, such as shoppertainment events and luxury-level environments, as well as retail trends that attract busy, overwhelmed consumers, such as better delivery options and simplified menus.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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