I come from a family of retailers. When my Dad left the police force for the sake of his mental wellbeing, he saw a shop for sale and bought it on a whim. It was a general store. My Dad actually got another job soon after buying it leaving my Mum to run the business. She had two young sons at the time so she roped in her own father to help her keep the shop afloat. They loved being a vital part of the community and adapted their offerings to what the customers wanted. My eldest brother worked for Monsoon for many years with his partner as a merchandiser. I worked for Oxfam’s Trading Divison for a period. So I probably know a bit more about shop fittings than the average person.
Super shop fittings
It amazes me how retailers do not always put enough thought into their shop fittings. Shop fittings can really make the difference when it comes to the customer experience. I remember having two children under two years of age. I had a double buggy that was like a tank. I would go in shops where they had circular rails right in the middle of a small shop. I would try to navigate them but it proved impossible to reach the shop counter. When my children were a little older, they would use such displays as places to play hide and seek. It just did not work for us so we stopped going to those particular stores. Retailers really need to think about who their customer is before deciding on the shop fittings they use.
The customer needs to be able to navigate the store easily. They need to be able to find what they are looking for quickly. These days we are all juggling far too much in our lives so our time to shop tends to be short. We know we can always go online which is why we are losing our High Street stores. Good shop fittings and lasting impressions are perhaps more vital now than ever before in retail history. That’s why many retailers are turning to a design philosophy called user experience, also known as customer experience – this article by Qualtrics explains in more detail. In short, retailers need to make it easy for us by having attractive window displays, great signage to guide us through the store, space to move, and easy access to customer service and payment zones.
I need light in my life a lot and particularly when shopping. It lifts my mood which persuades me to spend. It also means I can see what I am looking at properly. The best charity shops have even caught on to the importance of great lighting.
The owner and staff
The owner needs flexible shop fittings to allow for different seasons, products and promotions. Shelves and racks that can move easily are key. A sensible and caring shop owner will ensure the health and safety of her staff. There is a duty of care when it comes to such matters so consideration should be given to ensure staff can do their jobs safely and reach things easily.
What shop fittings do you think work best?