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Retail Design Expo 2015: Future Laboratory reveals global design trends

New technology and a consumer desire to understand a brand’s story will be key to emerging global design trends, according to a report shared at the inaugural Retail Design Expo.

The Future Laboratory  Global Retail Futures presentation at Retail Design Expo has set out top trends that will have an impact on design over the year ahead and beyond.

“Ten years ago, retail was transactional, then it was about relationships and now it’s about conversation,” says Martin Raymond, co-founder and editor-in-chief at the trends consultancy.

This conversation will increasingly be driven by a brand’s ability to tell its story, he adds. “A big trend we are seeing is that [brand’s are] finding a moment in heritage – a story. If you can buy everything online, the thing that is increasingly difficult to buy is story and experience and a sense of place. A lot of brands are reinvesting value in this area.”

Technology is also playing a fundamental part in retail design, adds Jo Tulej, art director at The Future Laboratory, with mobile purchases set to overtake online in 2015, and predicted by analysts to be worth £78bn by 2018. “Increasingly we are seeing smartphone retail – more people are swiping and tapping to buy. Buying on mobile is predicted to overtake online in 2015,” she says.

Raymond adds this will mean that retailers need to rethink the design of their stores as cash registers become redundant and “guilt aisles” in supermarkets, where sugary snacks have traditionally been displayed, disappear. Instead, the changes will free up staff to build closer relationships with customers in-store as they no longer have to stand behind till points, he predicts.