If you’re a small retail business, opening your first physical shop is a hugely exciting experience, albeit stressful. Some retail managers may think getting the doors open as soon as possible is the way to maximise buzz and make money. Others choose to take as much time as possible to perfect each detail but lose out on customers’ initial excitement to start shopping.
Either way, it is important to remember that the fit-out and design of your retail location play a huge role in how your customers shop. You could have a prime location on the high street with plenty of foot traffic, but if your interior layout is poor, you won’t see sales convert.
Whether you’re planning to open your first location or are looking for a way to increase customers at your current shop, we can help. With retail finance, you can seek the cash injection you need to create your dream fit-out, but why do you need to?
Keep reading to learn the top eight benefits of fitting out your shop and why you should take the plunge.
8 Reasons You Should Fit Out Your Shop
Specialist shopfitting may seem like a luxury only for booming businesses, but you can invest in your store to boost revenue with retail finance. If you’re still unconvinced, discover why a shop refit makes complete sense with eight reasons to invest.
1. Emphasise Space & Map Out Customer Journey
A huge part of a shop fit-out is emphasizing the space and layout. No customer wants to browse disorderly racks and stands that leave them feeling bombarded with different products and items. They will likely turn around and leave the shop without really considering the quality products you offer.
Instead, you want to use your shop fit-out to your advantage to make the most of the space and create a layout that brings in more foot traffic and converts browsers into shoppers.
Investing in new fixtures and equipment is a great way to do this. Easy-to-browse stands ensure customers can see products clearly and avoids product overloads that reduce the likelihood of a sale.
The floorplan of your shop should also be considered, with the entrance being clear and open. By having this space, you are subliminally welcoming them further inside, creating a light atmosphere that invites them to look further. You want to avoid bombarding your customers as soon as they walk inside. Less is more!
You should arrange your products and stands in the store in a way that guides customers around the space. You want them to be able to find exactly what they’re looking for and even naturally upsell if possible. For example, in a clothing shop, you may show customers the clothing and then entice them with shoes and accessories to complete the outfit. The natural endpoint should find the customers at the tills ready to pay for their items.
2. Create an Experience
If you want to go one step further than an easy-to-navigate layout, you will want to use your shop fit-out to create an experience for shopping in-store. After all, this is why people still come to physical shops rather than just browsing online. They want to have the experience. For many, shopping is a social activity, so you don’t want people to consider browsing in your shop a chore. Do this in several ways.
Firstly, you need to invest in your staff. Having employees trained on your products is no longer good enough. Now they need to go beyond the sales persona into an expert, consultant or even friend to your customers. Adopting this approach and investing more in staff benefits and pay will ensure you create a team of individuals ready to give their all to every day for the customers they meet.
Next, consider incorporating social media into your shop. This can be done during a fit-out by investing in ‘Instagram-ready’ decor. Think functional props, selfie walls and more fun and unique additions your customers won’t find elsewhere on the high street. Encouraging your customers to snap pictures of themselves in-store to post on socials will create a buzz around your location and entice new customers to check out the shop. If you’ve already done this and need a boost, try adding incentives, such as rewards for customers who post pictures using certain hashtags.
Finally, consider ways your customers can have ‘hands-on’ fun. Have you ever visited a Lego store? The concept features plenty of stations where children and adults alike can build and explore the products, almost like a practical demonstration encouraging them to buy.
3. Make Customers Feel Safe
Consumer habits changed dramatically during and in the wake of the global pandemic. Lockdowns found more people than ever before relying on online shopping and, once restrictions were lifted, a new concern about public spaces. Today, customers no longer feel free to browse or pick up baskets handled by hundreds of other shoppers.
A shop fit-out is a prime time to make customers feel safe and encourage them to shop without reservation. You can do this by investing in hygiene stations and equipment to ensure customers feel looked after and cared for. Hand sanitiser stations by the doors, changing rooms and till points ensure your customers can clean their hands at points they may feel necessary throughout the in-store journey. PPE and cleaning supplies should also be made readily available by baskets and trolleys, whether staff give each a clean before putting them back out for use or encourage customers to do it themselves if that makes them feel safer.
4. Attract with Signage and Branding
When enticing customers in-store, aesthetics and branding play a huge role in bringing in footfall. A shop fit-out is a perfect time to revamp your branding, capitalise on signage, and make the most of free in-store advertising. If you have deals and promotions available, don’t be afraid to shout about them in pleasing-to-the-eye signage your customers will actually pay attention to. Don’t just rely on staff members bombarding your customers with deals as soon as they walk through the door, as this can be off-putting.
Just remember, perfecting your branding and signage is not about being the flashiest among the other shops on the street. If this were the case, every high street would be neon signs and blinking lights. A headache for the leisurely shopper!
Rely on telling your brand story through a colour palette that reflects your shop, products and customer experience. Once you have chosen the colour scheme for your shop, you can create complementary signage and professionally print it, to add to the layout and vibe in-store.
5. Invest in Security
Investing in security in your shop fit-out can protect all the hard work and money you have poured into your business. Plus, it will make your customers feel safer and deter would-be opportunists! With retail finance, you can use the cash injection to install security systems in-store, like CCTV cameras and alarms, to keep track of your stock and insure your investment.
Having a reliable security system in place will also mean that police have sufficient evidence if your shop is broken into or stolen from. Not to mention, footfall will increase in areas deemed ‘safe’ by the public, meaning young families and older generations will feel more comfortable browsing and shopping in areas with a security presence.
6. Improve Accessibility
Building a loyal customer base and enticing new customers into a shop must be inclusive for all. This means ensuring anyone who wishes to, can comfortably access your shop and easily navigate in-store. Not considering accessibility needs can be detrimental and create a poor reputation for your brand. Other businesses have even been victims of social media blasting that warns others to stay away due to poor experiences.
While costly, improving accessibility for your shop will benefit you in the long run, bringing in more customers and encouraging more sales. It will also help improve brand loyalty if your customers feel valued and appreciated.
Ways in which you can improve accessibility for your store are ensuring doorways and fitting rooms are wheelchair accessible, offering quiet hour shopping times for those who may be overstimulated and ensuring all staff members are trained in the needs of all your potential customers. These are just a few examples of how improving accessibility for your shop can positively impact your business.
7. Light Up Your Shop
Investing in new lighting can transform a shop. Finding the right balance between not too dim and not too bright can be difficult, but a quality electrician can advise on options for your particular space. The outcome should light up your products without giving your customers a headache. Fitting rooms should also be lit to ensure your customers can have a good look at themselves in the products you offer, allowing them to imagine themselves walking down the street, looking and feeling fantastic in your quality garments. Look out for energy efficient modern light fittings too, which will keep a rein on those energy bills.
A shop that is too dark can feel oppressive and miserable, especially for staff members inside all day. These negative feelings and connotations can manifest in how your staff treat customers, so don’t gloss over the quality or quantity of lighting fixtures you have in store.
8. Make Staff Lives Easier
Finally, the design of your store should also improve the experience for your team, not just your customers. This means investing in equipment, technologies and training that make the lives of your staff easier and your shop a more enjoyable place to work. Automation systems can simplify the in-store process for staff and customers alike, diffusing tense environments typical in busy periods, such as the Christmas holiday period.
A clear and comfortable workspace is also a fantastic investment to consider in the layout of your shop, not just at the front of the house but in stock rooms, break rooms and office spaces too. Improving the comfort of your staff will also improve their well-being, creating a comfortable working environment. The difference will be apparent to your customers, too, as friendly and compassionate team members can have a huge impact on the sales they make.
How Does a Shop Refit Make You Money?
Sales increases are driven by happy shoppers who feel comfortable browsing in your shop, by making it easier for them to find and buy from you, by happy staff who are proud of their environment. Its also possible to increase range, capacity and stockholding, allowing you to buy in bulk to save costs and your customers to buy a greater range from you. Plus, with that amazing new interior, your customers will spread the word for you.
Many different aspects play an important role in creating an optimal shopping environment. With the help of retail finance, you can invest more in your shop at once and break the cycle of needing more sales to be able to pay for improvements.
Get Help with Retail Finance
If you’re ready to transform your brick-and-mortar shop and scale your business, find out more about retail finance today.
At Portman Asset Finance, we can help you secure the funding you need to invest in your retail business. From asset finance to business loans, there are plenty of options available to boost sales and company growth that suit your unique requirements.
For more advice or information, contact our team for a no-obligation quote!