Experts reveal the biggest retail design trends for 2021 and beyond


New expert insight reveals the retail design trends for 2021 from more welcoming designs to reflect real living spaces to focusing on experiences over sales. 

Alongside hospitality properties, retail spaces have had to adapt to ongoing guidelines, which have potentially changed how they will function in the future. But retail businesses will also need to adapt to a change in buying habits with an increase in online spending. 

With this in mind, experts from Specialist Glass Products share their predictions on what key design trends will be popular amongst retail businesses in 2021: 

1. Welcoming spaces 

We’ve already begun to see this trend come through in cafes, hotels and restaurants but creating spaces which 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. More vibrant colours and interactive aspects such as advertising screens incorporated into the room structure showcasing models in clothing are also likely to become more popular. 

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. Instead, the physical space is somewhere customers will come to test out products and then make their purchase decision online. Some brands such as Canada Goose have taken this a step further already and created demo environments for customers to really try before they buy. 

3. Changing rooms

Whilst many shops haven’t been able to offer customers the opportunity to try on clothing before they make a purchase in 2020, once restrictions do eventually ease, experts expect the existing changing room space to have adapted. Existing cubicles will need to be made much larger with walking space between each pod widened and one way systems to be imposed. 

Regular cleaning will also be common with new technology installed to allow direct lines of communication to members of staff for further assistance without having to leave your designated area. 

4. Virtual assistants

If you shop online, you’ll have seen that many businesses have introduced chatbots and virtual assistants to help with queries. 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.”