The future of brick-and-mortar stores are on the line as online shopping gains more and more market share. Therefore, retailers making use of physical points of sale continually need to up their branding game to keep customers coming. This is exciting in a sense, as it forces stores to offer ever more satisfying experiences to walk-in shoppers.

Here are a few branding trends that will increasingly arrive on the in-store scene in 2018:

Artificial Intelligence: Fake is the new real

Modern-day humans are strange – even when we enter a genuine experience, we are wired to be intrigued and impressed by the artificial, especially if it entails technology that makes life easier. Stores of the future are relying more on interactive technologies to help and engage with their clients. Popular examples include devices that can answer customer’s questions or make suggestions of products to purchase. The latter is a benefit from online shopping that is now also starting to integrate into physical stores.

And the best thing about these artificial aids? They cannot have a bad day at work and do not take lunch breaks!

VR and AR: Another really unreal fad

Again, digitally-influenced shoppers are enthralled by out-of-this-world experiences and consequently, a dreamlike development in retail settings is the use of virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR). These futuristic technologies provide shoppers virtual experiences to help them better envision what products will look like or how they will function – almost like having a buyer’s trial run. Furthermore, virtual reality tours can make shoppers connect with the brand – like say a quick “visit” to the company’s expo in Milan. These VR and AR gimmicks come in various forms, like headsets, booths or apps that could be used in store.

Fixtures and furnishings of the future

Actual shops are fitted with actual stuff, which sets them apart from online shops. This unique branding ability calls for smart hardware to create appealing appearances in shops.

A trend in this area is the Full Stretch Display (FSD) system. These nifty wall mounts can brand an entire retail space with curved corners. It is covered with large format prints which can be replaced with new printed material whenever you change your campaign, while the system stays fixed on the wall! In other words: this superior branding solution not only looks stunning, it also stays fresh without giving the budget a “full stretch” every time an update is needed!

Need a quote for an FSD system solution?

Real is still the new real

Ultimately, one of the only things that physical stores have to offer clients that online stores do not is physical contact – both between people and with products. People’s physical presence also means that more of their senses can be stimulated. Savvy retailers are capitalising on this advantage. They follow the trend to ensure that shopping in their stores is a personal and positive encounter. Customers should not merely enter and purchase, but need to have an emotional experience.

This is achieved by extraordinary in-store customer care and assistance. One of the best branding strategies is probably effective staff training and well-cared-for employees. Moreover, clever businesses are going to great lengths to develop stellar and holistic shopper marketing strategies to entice store visitors’ emotions. Experience is everything!

From unreal to real; from smart hardware to intelligent software: these are the branding trends to follow to keep the attraction of shopping in store in line with online.

At GAWK, we are geared with the solutions to ensure that your customers experience your products in a personal way.