The future of retail & what to expect


by Lucia Realmuto

With a new generation of shoppers entering our stores is it time to refresh your point-of-sale to appeal to their new shopping habits?

Both millennials and generation Z value brands that prioritise sustainability and ethics. Younger generations are happy to spend more money on products if they support small, local businesses that align with their ethics and values both in-store and online. [1] So, with this new shift towards environmentally safe practices, how can you implement this in your retail displays?

New shopping behaviours

Millennials and generation Z are a broad array of people, both generations are at different stages in their life, but there are trends that group them together as the new demographic of shoppers. Some of the oldest millennials are over the age of 40 and the youngest are 26, as they climb the career ladder their spending power will be increasing, similarly to generation Z as they are just now entering the workforce. Their earning power hasn’t reached its full potential, however it’s important to include practices now within your businesses to appeal to future generations.

The future generations generally prioritize health, wellbeing, convenience and ethics, as “63% of millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable products” [2] this behaviour has also been reflected in generation Z, they’re “willing to pay more for brands that try to have a positive impact on society ( 56%) or run their business in a sustainable way ( 53%), according to new research from global consumer insight agency InSites Consulting” [3]

Since the pandemic shopping online increased, with a significant number of UK consumers reporting changes in their online shopping. “Specifically, in March 2020, about 40% of UK shoppers said they had been shopping more online, compared to before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. By February 2021, however, this percentage had grown to approximately 75%.” [4] But, with the economy opening back up post-pandemic, “surprisingly, Generation Z is shifting more toward brick-and-mortar stores, for clothing specifically, than the millennial generation.” [5]

It’s important to ensure your retail displays and promotions entice the younger generation to visit your brick-and-mortar store!

How to boost future sales in-store

The new wave of shoppers entering the retail world are looking for unique experiences and reasons to shop your brand in comparison to competitors. Ensure your maximising potential sales within your brick-and-mortar stores by using interactive, innovative display solutions, that are likely to be captured and shared online by younger generations. Guarantee a talking point amongst their peers, to increase ‘word-of-mouth’ marketing, via family and friend recommendations to shop your brand in-store.

The new generations are all about ethics and having a positive impact on the environment, so use displays that promote a sustainable way to shop your store.

At EML we have an array of stock that offers sustainable solutions for in-store retail displays. Our Loose Food Dispenser trays are multi-purpose units that can hold a variety of products that add an element of interactivity when shopping.

The gravity food dispenser unit is a freestanding shelving unit with zero waste food dispensers. This will allow your store to offer loose products in a safe, hygienic, self-service container that is manufactured in the UK from sustainably sourced timber. By implementing zero waste today in-store it’ll help conserve resources and minimise pollution, all important policies, and practices that millennials and gen Z value when shopping in-store.

Our double-sided chalkboard is a great solution to reduce signage waste, by using reusable signs you can change your graphics and signage weekly depending on stock levels and current promotions. Chalkboards offer a modish, eco-friendly solution for product labelling and can be used throughout the store to grab shoppers’ attention.

Wooden point-of-sale materials have become increasingly popular due to their rustic, vintage, homely appearance, evoking a sense of familiarity with customers. Wooden products like our apple crates are long-lasting and reusable, made from recycled wooden slates, these strong and sturdy apple crates come in three different sizes.

In-store Digital Display

The use of digital displays is perfect for garnering the attention of the new ‘digital generations’. Example technology to use in-store would include interactive screens, tablets, gaming consoles, LED posters and VR consoles.

Using including digital interactive displays, you’re not only presenting your products in a stimulating way, but your enabling customers to try before they buy. Including technology like gaming or virtual reality consoles in-store it provides customers with the chance to test the products capabilities and if it’s suited to their needs.

Promotional stands provide another form of an interactive display, enabling customers to view and learn about how they work, this type of in-store display is useful for products that are complicated to understand with an initial glance. Digital display stands are visually stimulating, ensuring your customers are engaged when shopping in-store, as “digital displays enhance the amount of the sales receipts, time spent in the store, and the number of products purchased”. [6]

At EML we provide a variety of digital promotion stands for you interactive display needs, please contact our sales team for bespoke quotation.

To Conclude

Millennials and Gen Z are the new target demographic for our high-street shops. Ensuring your implementing retail displays that appeal to their needs and wants now is vital, with their spending power increasing as Gen Z enter the workforce, and as millennials climb the career ladder.

Setting up store displays that not only meets their needs but also aligns with their ethics will make your brand stand out from competitors, younger generations are inclined to spend more on products if they have a positive impact on the environment, i.e., aiding the reduction in waste and pollution. However, you must keep in-mind you must practice what you preach. Meaning alongside using zero-waste dispensers and eco-friendly signage and materials, you also need to ensure that your energy, utilities, and packaging providers, align with your message of being ‘sustainable’ and ‘environmentally friendly’.

What are your thoughts about the next big thing in retail? Will you be making any changes to step towards sustainable choices, to meet the new wave of shoppers needs? What in-store promotions will you be implementing, share your thoughts and let us know below!

Lucia Realmuto

Having traded for over 25 years, EML has quickly become one of the UK’s leading retail display providers. We take pride in the supply and manufacturing of high quality point of sale products, all at great value for money. Our investment in new technology and machinery has enabled us to produce leading edge bespoke point of sale solutions.

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