Guest Post by Kirsty Shearer, Development Director, Agilité Solutions

There’s no denying retail has taken a hit over the past year, as high streets all over the world were forced to temporarily close their doors in order to minimise the spread of COVID-19, and consumers switched up their shopping habits in favour of placing online orders with their favoured brands.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Once restrictions are lifted, and shopping malls and town centres begin to reopen — and after enduring over a year of lockdowns and limited contact with the outside world — the people will return to shop!

So, as new shopping habits emerge, what must retailers consider in order to make their customers’ experience as positive and memorable as possible? Here, we discuss the top five retail interior trends we expect to see more of this year.

Sustainable solutions

With an increased focus on climate change and environmentally friendly practices, it’s no wonder that retailers are opting to transform their shop floors with sustainably sourced materials, natural products, and calming surroundings.

And the introduction of biodegradable mannequins, solar panelled roofs, and papier-mâché wall panels is only the beginning. Danish womenswear brand Ganni, opted to don a London store with rugs using fabric left over from its previous fashion lines!

Biophilic design

The term ‘biophilia’ refers to a love of nature and centres around the theory that humans are drawn towards elements of the natural world. You may have noticed the rise in popularity of indoor plants and foliage, but did you know these leafy species actually offer a number of health benefits — even boosting productivity?

We anticipate seeing the incorporation of organic elements such as plants, water features, natural light, and open, airy spaces within the retail landscape over the coming months.

Stay ahead of the curve

Although we’re sure the more angular, geometric designs won’t disappear forever, softer shapes and curves will be incorporated in 2021 in an attempt to make spaces more soothing, gently guide customers in a preferred path around the space, and even give the store a more high-end feel.

Be bold

Experts in the retail design industry have speculated that we are nearing the end of Scandinavian design era, cue the bright colour palettes and bolder choices!

Colour blocking — the use of contrasting blocks or panels of colour — is a popular method within retail stores to break the space into individual zones and encourage particular customer behaviours.

It’s all about the experience

As shoppers return to the stores, it’s important for retailers to create a memorable experience within their space — one that the customer will be all too willing to repeat again and again.

While the competition with online shops continues, retail stores will attempt to leverage the elements that can’t be replicated on a digital platform — creating a sensory experience for customers, establishing a clear personality for the brand, and even incorporating areas that present photo opportunities which are shareable on social media.

Kirsty Shearer is Development Director at Agilité Solutions