4 Tips to Planning the Perfect Retail Fit Out

So you’ve been allocated the build budget and now to the task of creating a design brief for your fit out.  No matter how small or large your space is, getting started can be a daunting task.  Try taking a blue sky approach and ask your (inner shopaholic) self – With no limitations, what would improve my shopping experience?  Start big, then tame back as required. If you’re having trouble sticking to your fit out budget, try reading our tips on how to reduce shop fitting costs.

It’s essential to optimise the customer experience through careful planning across all elements of the build.  Put on your persona hats, taking note of shopper habits and mannerisms to recognise how to maintain attention and convert browsers into buyers.  Understanding customer behaviour is vital to business success, which all leads from laying the right foundations.

Bricks and mortar stores are where 93% of retail spending occurs in Australia (NAB Survey, Jan 2015) and shop fit outs are the foundation of your physical store.  Make time to research everything regarding your fit out.

To help you get started, we’ve provided a list of fundamentals.

Combination: The code to unlocking a successful Lighting Design

Lighting is critical to retailers to attract shopper attention and draw them in.  If an area of your store is not well lit, consumers will walk straight past and it may as well be empty.  Instead incorporate a combination of lighting options to create a well-balanced space.  The right mix of backlighting, downlights, pendants and track lighting and will generate a perfect fusion of illumination and shadow.

LED backlighting illuminates flat wall panels adding depth and dimension to any retail shop. They also have the bonus of being energy efficient, therefore lowering operating costs and saving you money.

Quality lighting is imperative above the counter of any retailer to add warmth and lure consumers, but must also be adequate and glare-free for shop assistants.  For fashion retailers, it’s also important to think carefully about lighting in your fitting rooms.  According to research undertaken by Shoppercentric, 60% of purchasing decisions are made within a store’s fitting room.  Artificial or poor lighting can be a real deal breaker for some shoppers.

Interior Design: Influence customer buying behaviour

A successful commercial fit out requires a strategic approach with the store layout and interior design.  This is then complimented with astutely placed signage, visual merchandising and product placement.

When planning the layout, remember not to lose sight of the customer experience.  For them, the persuasion in entering is the ambience rather than products themselves.  According to retail strategists at Kizer & Bender “patrons typically don’t notice merchandising displays within 15 feet of the entrance”.  Upon entering consumers are too busy making judgement decisions.  Will the products be suitable for me?  Are they expensive?  Is there enough room for me to easily walk around?

Installing floor to ceiling wall fixtures allows for optimal product placement, whilst maximising floor space and encouraging consumers to linger longer.  Low line shelving within the trading area permits customers to see more products and increase their spending.  The bonus for retailers is this also increases customer visibility, therefore reducing shoplifting.

Choosing the right layout option for the internal fixtures can provide space for promotional signage, assisting in traffic flow and helping to build your brand.  When selecting the design layout, have your target markets, products and brand in mind.  Through analysing and understanding customer behaviour, you will have the knowledge to design your space to guide consumers through your store like they are puppets on a string.


Flooring: Doing the ground work

Kevin Tierney, Director of Consumer Environments, Tarkett North America and host of Webinar: Flooring as a Revenue Generator, says “Many facets of flooring can affect the shopping experience – from color to comfort, cleanliness to customization – it can play a large part in the sales generation of the space.  And because flooring can have a major impact on the overall mood of the consumer, we want to address how retailers’ can use flooring to further create brand awareness.”

Noise regulation is another flooring concern in the retail environment.  Without the right acoustics, consumers are likely to retreat and move on to a competitor.  In addition to being durable and sustainable, sound control is pivotal in the selection process.  Thankfully there are many materials, underlays and aesthetically appealing products, suitable for the retail market.

Flooring can also be used to create zones to segment merchandise, or to create a pathway through the store to lure consumers to a particular area or product.  Promotional advertising is also becoming increasingly popular on retail floors to influence shopper purchasing decisions.  It is no longer just about colour and comfort.  There are a range of variables to consider when fitting out the floor of a store.

Shopfitting: The nuts and the bolts of it

Shop fitters collaborate with commercial interior designers and a diverse range of business owners and RDMs (Retail Development Managers) on an ongoing basis.  Therefore, a key resource in obtaining information and advise on fit out solutions, and knowledge on relevant products that are available, and on trend.

Looking for one of Melbourne’s best shop fitting companies to quote on your upcoming retail fit out? Contact AAFS Shopfitting on 03 5943 0581.