Trends & Insights

From Technology To Art: How Retail Will Conquer The Senses In 2024

2024 marks a turning point in retail, characterised by innovation and a new focus on the customer experience. We are experiencing an era in which retail is no longer defined solely by products, but rather by unique, multi-sensory experiences. May we introduce? The top 4 trends for this year:

1. Sensory-first Retail

A multi-sensory shopping experience


The importance of multi-sensory retail is increasing as consumers look for brand experiences that appeal to all their senses. A survey shows that 70% of global consumers favour such experiences. For example, Nike’s House of Innovation in Paris offers interactive AI tables and customised soundscapes that take visitors on an emotional journey.


2. Testbed Stores
Incubators for innovation


Testbed stores open up new avenues for retail by serving as innovation hubs. These stores are more than just points of sale – they are participative spaces that offer insights into the development process and integrate customers into the brand narrative. Baisihan’s flagship store in Zhejiang is one such example, combining retail space, offices and production facilities.


3. Online To Offline Fusion
The fusion of digital and physical


Despite the growth of e-commerce, brick-and-mortar retail remains relevant, with a global increase of over $702 billion compared to $603 billion in e-commerce in 2022. The future lies in the smart integration of technology to create a seamless customer experience. Zara in Spain demonstrates how to automate the shopping process through technology while keeping it personalised.


4. Store As Gallery
Retail meets art


An interesting development is the “museumisation” of retail, where stores are transformed into art galleries. These stores offer a slower, more considered shopping experience and present products as works of art. One example of this is the fragrance company Documents in Shanghai with its tranquil library space.


The future of retail
The trends of 2024 show that retail will focus on impressive, multi-sensory and in-depth experiences in the future. Technology will be used to create real connections and offer people unforgettable moments. These developments form the basis for an exciting and dynamic future in the retail sector.






[Copyright notice: This article was inspired and informed by the report “Stores in 2024: Experiential & Innovative Formats”, but reformulated and adapted for the context of Designplus].

Sources: Image 1:

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Image 3: Zara – WGSN

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