Retail Interior Design: Adapting in a Post-Pandemic World

The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 hit many business sectors hard but few suffered the damages that the retail industry witnessed.

Singapore’s retail sector suffered notable reductions in sales volumes. On an annual basis, department stores, fashion brands and other retailers registered a decrease in sales ranging from 22.3 to 27.5 per cent, Business Times reported.

Some sectors like tech goods, as well as supermarkets, maintained a strong performance over the course of the year. Still, the overall condition of the retail field isn’t enviable.

Now that Circuit Breaker measures are being eased, shop owners have to consider strategies to get back on their feet. Is an investment in retail interior design justified right now? The answer to that question depends on many things. Generally speaking, however, shop owners will have to adapt to new realities and design changes provide an opportunity to do just so.

What Has Happened in the World of Retail Since the Circuit Breaker Period?

The retail sector is still attempting to recover from the restrictive measures aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19 in 2020.

Channel News Asia published an extensive report on what happened within the sector over the course of the year. As stores had to shut down, many consumers turned to online buying. In November 2020, online purchases represented 14.3 per cent of retail sales, up from 10.5 per cent on an annual basis.

During the two most restrictive months of the Circuit Breaker period, retail sales hit a catastrophic decline of 52.1 per cent in Singapore. And while some recovery has been noted ever since, stores are not back to regular volumes.

It’s still common for consumers to prioritise online shopping over an actual visit to a store. This is true even for high value items that previously required a personal visit to an actual brick-and-mortar venue. Since most companies have now focused on extensive digital marketing campaigns, more customers than ever before are feeling confident about buying online, even when it comes to items they wouldn’t have acquired via a website before.

Why a Focus on Retail Interior Design Is Still Important

These numbers paint an interesting picture. If you’re a retail business owner, you’re probably wondering about the need to invest in a venue.

Many retail businesses have downgraded massively, prioritising online sales over the in-store experience.

Still, retail interior design is an important focal point as the world is beginning to emerge on a path to normalcy.

The brick-and-mortar experience will never disappear. People want the social element that they get from a visit to a store and that is simply unachievable online. This means that retail spaces will still play a role in sales, they will simply need to be modified and upgraded to address contemporary realities.

This transitional period provides perfect opportunities for store remodelling and experimentation with new design concepts. The primary focus of such changes would be to prioritise safety and to also give clients a 360-degree experience that builds upon online information and offers something extra.

Things Shop Owners Can Do to Create a Great/Safe Environment

High quality, modern retail interior design can bridge the gap between online and offline experiences. In fact, the two can be integrated seamlessly to extend the online information gathering and to also give store visitors the personalisation they can expect from a website.

Such integration can be accomplished in more than one way.

Digital screens, augmented reality and virtual assistants can all help store visitors access the information that they’ve stored online (about favourite products, wish lists, sizing information, product personalisation, etc.).

While all these may seem like exceptionally high-tech and very expensive solutions, this isn’t really the case. Something as simple as the introduction of a digital kiosk or a few tablets can bring the digital element to the in-store experience.

In addition, contemporary retail interior design will have to account for the ways in which Covid-19 has changed social transactions.

More spacious layouts will be required to give store visitors a sense of safety. To achieve the goal, there’s no need to move to a larger space. A store will simply be used to highlight the best and most popular products. The brick-and-mortar venue could also give the visitor an opportunity to benefit from a retail consultation that will end with the placement of an order. Eventually, the items ordered in-person will be delivered to the customer’s address.

Challenges Give Birth to New Opportunities

If you own a retail business, you’re potentially struggling right now. The previous year was filled with uncertainty and the return to normal has been slow.

While it can be difficult to see the opportunities that hide behind the challenges, try to adopt a long-term and strategic view of your business. Thinking about the remodelling of a retail space right now can pay off in the very near future.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money or go through extensive, hi-tech renovation to give your clients what they’re looking for. What matters is knowing your customer and modifying the store interior enough to give that client peace of mind, comfort while also ensuring safety and adhering to the laws.

If you need some assistance to get there, you can count on the SORDC office interior design company to conceptualise and execute a retail interior design project on your behalf.

Contact us today to book a no-obligations first consultation. We’d be honoured to get to know you and your business. Based on that information, we’ll recommend the upgrades and store tweaks bound to deliver the best results in a post-pandemic world.