Deciding on refitting your store is the easy, but implementing the project is by far the hardest part of the commitment.
The most important decision is choosing the right shopfitter. There is no tried and tested rule to this but initially the retailer should only consider shopftters or shop fitting companies who have a proven track record, ideally in fitting stores in the market the retailer trades in.
The recession hit the domestic house market very badly and many builders have decided that they are now shopfitters as well as house builders but it is unlikely that they will be able to provide the expertise that are required to plan a store and produce the fixtures to the standard that a busy retail environment requires.
A shopfitter should be prepared to spend time with the retailer to understand their business and the particular issues that need to be considered when planning a layout. Customer flow is vital to a successful shop fit and category management, product placement and planograms are very important to ensure as many shoppers as possible are drawn to all areas of the store. Having the Newspapers and milk just inside the front door of a convenience store will eliminate the necessity for many time strapped shoppers to ‘roam’ the store and they will be in and out of the store having spent little more than £1.00.
Shelving heights (wall and gondola bays) also play an important part in this. Too high gondola shelving in a small store can create ‘corridors’ that blinker the shopper as well as providing an unpleasant shopping environment.
Category management signage on and above the fixtures is important to lead the shopper to the product they are looking for with promotions and special offers being placed on gondola ends to encourage shoppers to buy products they didn’t come in for.
Lighting is vital. Many smaller retailers feel that adequate lighting is an unnecessary spends but this can make all the difference to being a successful retailer as the right lighting brings the store and products ‘alive’.
The chosen shopfitter should be able to produce professional layouts and design schemes. Some might charge for these but many don’t so make sure you establish the ‘ground rules’ at the beginning. You will also want to see a programme that shows what works will take place and when and how long it will take. Clearly, if it is a trading store, you will want to stay open during the refit so make sure you agree planned moves with the shopfitter to enable him to have the area he requires but also leaves you with the space required to continue to trade.
If it is a new store, make sure that you have a specific agreement of when the works will be completed to ensure that they do not drift on indefinitely.
When choosing the fixtures, it is important that the shopffiter is able to offer or produce a system that is flexible and can be easily added to. It is unlikely that the shelving mix will be right the first time so you will need to be able to access additional items fairly easily. There are many standard metal modular shelving systems available and a good shopfitter will be able to have these painted in a colour to match your scheme and manufacture specific extras to suit particular products you may sell or wish to sell.
Ensure that the shopfitters can also provide quality joinery items such as counters and cash (check out) points. Joinery shopfittings need to be able to take a significant amount of wear & tear and the process of producing them is a completely different process to that of domestic use joinery.
Additional items that should be considered and incorporated in the refit are, floor coverings, decoration, air conditioning, refrigeration, shopfronts, external signage, security shutters, security alarms, CCTV and EPOS equipment. Also, don’t forget disability access and that the shopfitter understands the laws that ensure the store is disabled compliant.
As you can see, choosing a good shop fitter isn’t easy, but, if you want a good job doing it is worth taking the time to make the choice properly.