What is Shop Fitting?

When it comes to running a successful bricks-and-mortar business, there are many factors at play. One important element that cannot be understated is quality shop fitting. Shop fitting is the end-to-end process of fitting out retail and commercial spaces with business-specific equipment, fixtures, and fittings. 
From the planning of the business space right through to the design of the store layout, the shop fitting process is complex and considered. This blog will take an in-depth look at shop fitting, from the general concept to some shop fitting ideas. 

What does a shopfitter do?

The role of a shop fitter requires a diverse skillset across both creative and technical aspects. Their service includes coordinating your shop fit-out from start to finish, beginning with the initial design and ending with your brand-new retail space. Shop fitters are responsible for:

  • An initial plan including design, working, and construction drawings
  • Specifying, ordering, and preparing materials for construction, including business-specific equipment, fixtures, and fittings
  • Constructing custom furniture and fittings that are part of the project
  • Installing it all!
  • Engaging other tradespeople to assist with the completion of the project where necessary, for example, plumbers and electricians

Tips on how to fit out a shop

There are six key points that shopfitters consider when undertaking a fit-out of a space, whether for general retail or commercial retail. Each point will differ depending on the nature of the business

The number-one thing to consider with a shop fit-out is the people who will be engaging with your product – your customers! Get inside the mind of your target demographic and think about what might attract them to spend more time and money in your store: a logical layout for optimal foot traffic, cleverly-placed product specials, and attractive displays that show off your stock can all make a difference. 

Consider not only your personal style but also the style of what you are selling. Do you want something rustic made from repurposed materials or something all-white for a crisp and dynamic look? There are many directions you can take, so if you have stylistic preferences, be sure to relay these to your shop fitter before they engage in the planning process.

Much like style, if there are particular design elements that you wish you incorporate into your fit-out, it’s best to be upfront with your shopfitter early in the process. While smaller things like moveable shelving and baskets can easily be added later down the track, foundational elements of your fit-out design need to be sorted early. Consider wall textures (plastering, exposed brick etc) and anything that might need to be professionally installed, such as permanent shelves, island benches, and anything hanging from the ceiling.

Make sure to leave room for clear branding in your space – you want shoppers to remember where they are! Whether you go subtle or bold, branding cues should be woven throughout your design. This can be done in countless ways, from utilising a colour scheme that matches your branding through to bespoke signage. 

Effective lighting can make or break your shop fit-out. Your products and services should be clearly visible to the customer. You can utilise overhead lights, uplighting, or downlighting, or even explore ambient lighting for targeted products or displays depending on what works with your fit-out. 

Signage plays a big role in both retail and commercial spaces. Making sure customers can see prices, product names, and other key information is very important. This is also an opportunity to further imbue your branding into the space. There are plenty of options to suit your fit-out, from trendy neon to handy acrylic stands.

When should I hire a professional shop fitter?

While you might have an eye for detail and consider yourself pretty savvy on the tools, entrusting your shop fitting to a trained professional is a very smart move. Qualified and experienced shop fitters are able to plan and execute a fit-out from start to finish while taking into account every element that makes a successful retail space. Making sure you tick all of the boxes listed above is no small feat. A professional can easily combine logistics, aesthetics, safety, and innovation to conceptualise and implement a shop fit-out that will help your business thrive.

How to know if your fit-out is successful

There are several signs that your shop fitting has been a success. Key things to look out for include:

  • Your business has a visual and logistical impact
  • Customers can find items and services they want in a self-directed manner
  • Product placement and visual merchandising that lends itself to increased impulse shopping
  • Increased satisfaction across the board – sales, performance, and customers included
  • Making your competitors sweat to keep up with you

There is no one-size-fits-all fit-out

Remember that your business and the space that it occupies are both unique. Shop fitting is an exciting but complex task that is best left to the pros. They are trained to work with you to maximise the potential of your retail space, using creative and practical methods to craft an end product you can be proud of. Engaging the services of a shopfitter will save you time and money overall, so that you can focus on what you do best – running your business!

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