How can you create a retail store that is attractive, appealing to your target market, and within your budget?
On the list of things thing I’ve never heard a retailer say: ‘We will spend as much as we need to on our fitout’ and ‘we don’t have a budget’. The reality is, what you spend on your fitout, you need to make back in sales. Provided your budget is realistic, there are many tricks that can be employed to ensure you achieve maximum impact for minimum cost.
Over many years working with retailers I have learnt a few tricks to create a store that has impact and will help you be seen and get noticed. Here are my tips for creating a bold presence without spending the earth.
Graphics are a good starting point. If you already have a great resource of graphics for your brand or business, these can be utilised within your fitout. Think about increasing the scale of your images and applying the graphics to walls or shopfronts.
If you don’t already have a catalogue of graphics, think about sourcing a graphic designer who can create some graphics or imagery specifically for your store fitout. Try and go beyond your logo with photography, illustrations, taglines, artists—any imagery or illustration that fits within your brand identity.
The most cost-effective finish you can use for your walls and ceilings is probably a bit of a no-brainer: paint. It will virtually always be the cheapest solution. Think outside the box to use colour in clever and impactful ways, whether it’s creating shapes on walls or using different wall and ceiling colours… the list is endless, so be innovative.
The cheapest solution here is generally vinyl, but this doesn’t need to limit your design. There are some convincing and realistic vinyls around these days that have the appearance of timber or concrete. Other alternatives would be polishing your existing concrete slab, or installing engineered floorboards, but both options will be more costly than vinyl.
Don’t underestimate the impact of employing a retail lighting designer. They know and understand how to create impactful lighting that will best showcase your product and create the right environment.
Although this will probably be more costly than buying off the shelf fixtures and having an electrician install them, a lighting designer will plan the lighting to suit your fixtures and product display. They will create high and low light levels within your space to showcase your product in the best light. Investing in a lighting designer is a worthwhile expense that shouldn’t be scrimped on.
Where you can, purchase your joinery off the shelf. This will always be the cheapest solution. If you can’t find exactly what you need or want, consider purchasing something that is close to what you want and modifying it to suit—so effectively it becomes a semi-custom solution. Think retreating, repainting and reconfiguring.
Alternatively, if you need to get a joiner or shopfitter to produce custom solutions for you, there are always clever ways things can be designed. Your designer and/or shopfitter should have a good knowledge of what materials and details will be more expensive, and smart ways things can be designed to produce a great looking result to ensure best result for minimum cost.
For example, in specifying finishes, if you want to produce a counter/shelving/racking or any joinery in timber, consider a timber veneer or timber look laminate instead of the real deal. These options will be cheaper than solid timber.
If the process of fitting out your store is beyond your capacity, or your time is better spent focussing on other areas of the business, engage professionals who are specialists within the field. They will be able to share their insider knowledge, advice, concepts and design direction specifically for your brand.
Refresh rather than rebuild
If you have an existing store that you want to ‘refresh’, look at your existing fitout. Are there ways your existing joinery can be re-treated rather than re-built? Can your sales counter be repainted or re-laminated? Can you install new tops for your counters or display tables? Basically, anywhere you can retreat your existing joinery, rather than rebuilding, will save you cost.
Selecting a shopfitter and trades
Ensure you gather multiple quotes (three is a good amount) for any trades you want to engage for your fitout. This will ensure you don’t get an over-inflated price. Generally allow two weeks from start to finish for shopfitter quotes. Once the quotes are in, review them item by item and line by line to ensure the quotes are comparable and nothing is missed.
I hope these tips will help you come up with smart ways to produce an outcome that is effective and efficient, on brand, and, most importantly, brings the sales rolling in.
Amy Gray has been a retail store designer for over 10 years. She now runs Studio Grayscale, producing innovative and creative design solutions for commercial interior spaces.
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