The fashion retail store has undergone some significant changes in the past few years. Not unlike many other retail verticals, online shopping channels have forever changed the brick-and-mortar shopping experience, as well as the physical design of the store and the established business models in the fashion world.

Shopping for clothing and accessories is one of those necessities in life that you either love or hate. The fact is, people still want to be able to touch and feel and try on their apparel before buying. For many, shopping for clothing and accessories is an event. From the moment you near the store to the time you checkout, retailers are realizing that shoppers want an amazing and even entertaining shopping experience and retailers must deliver this in order to gain loyal,  repeat business, as well as remain relevant versus the ease of shopping online. 

So, if you haven’t made it to the mall in a while, here is what you may experience.

6 trends in the fashion retail store environment designed to amaze shoppers

1. AN INTIMATE ATMOSPHERE. Redesigning the retail environment and embracing new technologies that plays on all of your senses: smell, sight and sound. Gone are the days of Muzak. Designers are changing the flow of the store traffic and adding colors to the décor that play on our psyche; creating a relaxing and memorable experience versus a loud and aggressive one.

2. PERSONAL ENGAGEMENT VIA TECHNOLOGY. The use of NFC (near field communication) and iBeacon technology that knows you’re coming into the store, harnessing data, and delivering customized messages that pop up on your mobile device that may suggest a pair of shoes to go with that dress you bought recently.

3. FITTING ROOM INNOVATIONS. According to “Why We Buy”, shoppers are twice as likely to buy if they use a dressing room. Re-designing dressing rooms as a social experience, making then larger to fit your friends so they can give you a thumbs up or down, with seating and much improved lighting (they should be called Sitting Rooms).

Many big box fashion retailers have executed digital fitting rooms with interactive technology such as augmented reality and Smart Mirrors that help shoppers visualize the same outfit in a different color or see what other options could pair best with their picks.

4. MOBILE POS CARTS. Many retailers have replaced the check-out counters and cashwraps with more convenient mobile POS carts to make checking out easy. Additionally, they have implemented a mobile payment option for shoppers.

5. MULTIPLE PHYSICAL FOOTPRINTS. Retailers are enlisting a variety of store formats from flagships to store-within-a-store to pop-ups. All of these footprints are trending now and each concept has its place and a set of values they bring to the shopper as well as the retailer.

6. CUSTOMER SERVICE. Thinking of this as a trend may seem like a no brainer, because we all know that “the customer is always right,” and the “30 second greeting” rules.  Retailers are realizing how incredibly important an actual, knowledgeable and helpful sales person is in delivering an amazing experience. This concept can go a long away in helping the smaller shops compete with the big box retailers.

Fashion retail brands consider brick-and-mortar to be alive and well.  Those that invest in innovative technology and compelling store designs that are intended to make the shopping experience amazing, personal, convenient and even amusing will continue to attract shoppers. Additionally, the in-store experience has a direct impact on driving sales for the brand in their other channels as well, like online and mobile.