Shopfitting is the process of fitting out (but not limited to) a retail shop, service shop or some kind of store with the necessary equipment to allow it to function and excel in serving customers. It can also apply to fitting out or refurbishing offices, public buildings or any other type of building where shopfitting skills can be utilised. See the shopfitting sectors page for more information.
A shopfitting company is responsible for the whole process, from planning and designing the shop layout to supplying and fitting the required equipment. They provide a complete ‘floor to ceiling’ service including all the bits in between – shelving, display systems, storage areas, counters, lighting and so on.
Good shopfitting companies are experts in interior design and manufacturing one-off items. They produce bespoke furniture and signage to suit a shops needs. In addition, the shopfitting company can provide or purchase retail equipment for you from shopfittings manufacturers.
Planning the shopfitting
Shopfitting begins with the evaluation of the space available. This can be done by the shopfitting company, an independant interior designer or as is commonly the case with smaller shops, by the client themselves. Planning a shop layout early on in the shopfitting process will save you time, money and effort in the long run. A poorly thought out shop layout will prove costly to alter once the shopfitting company has commenced work or if left unchanged will prevent the shop from functioning (and selling!) to its full potential.
The theme or branding of a shop should be consumer driven. Who are the target customers and what do they expect? If you’re selling to teenagers you might think about using brighter colours. If you’re selling jewellery to women then perhaps try to create a feminine ‘feel’ to the shop by using appropriate colours and materials. If you have a DIY shop then maybe a stainless steel or timber finish might be more appropriate. Don’t ignore other senses like sound and smell – they can heavily influence the emotional mindset of consumers, and people buy with their emotions. About 70% of a buying decision is made in less than a few tenths of a second, do we have time to make a logical decision in that time? No, our emotions take over, even though we may not realise it!
Before you commence the project, you should agree with your shopfitting company exactly what work will take place. You will need to decide what type of flooring will be installed, where the serving counter will be, what type and how many display systems are required, and so on.
It’s a good idea to write a full specification of what you need. Use numbers where possible as this will help to avoid confusion during communication with your shopfitting company. The display system will be this high and have this many shelves which are this long. You should be absolutely clear as to what it is that will be manufactured and installed by the shopfitting company before they actually start making it! Clear communication is key.
Timing & shopfitting
Agree on a time schedule with the shopfitting company! When will the work commence? How long will it take? What are the main phases? This is important so that you can advertise a specific opening date to your customers. Perhaps run some sort of promotion on the first day, open with a bang! Tell the local newspaper when the shop is opening and say why people should visit. If you’re an existing shop and just refurbishing, all the time you’re shut you’re not making sales. If the shopfitting company overuns this could hit you hard. Some shopfitting companies may be able to fit out parts of your shop at a time, allowing the rest to remain open.
Budgeting a shopfitting
Managing the budget is a balancing act between what you can afford and what you need. You must decide how big your budget is and agree on it with your shoptfitter BEFORE they start fitting out your shop. This could be a topic that will turn the relationship with your shopfitting company sour if not addressed properly in the beginning. Good shopfitting companies know how much the work should cost. Of course if you want to change things midway through the shopfitting then expect to pay for it. This goes back to proper planning. It’s generally worth investing your own time and effort at the very beginning to prevent such costly amendments occurring later.
Communication during shopfitting
During the early stages you may well have several meetings with the shopfitting company for them to evaluate the premises and for you both to decide and agree on what work will be done, when it will be done and at what cost. You should have some sort of contract detailing all of this that is signed by both the shopfitting company and the shop owner. Throughout the shopfitting you should also pay frequent visits, ensuring work is being conducted as agreed. Try to build a relationship with the shopfitting company. Communication should be frequent, open and two way. This way if problems do arise they can be resolved quickly and efficiently with minimum cost and disruption.