When fitting out your business you want to ensure that you are getting excellent value for money, and that you are setting your business up to reflect the brand you have worked so hard to create.
A business premise is so much more than just a few walls and a roof; it is the heart and soul of your operations. Within moments your customers will form a view about the kind of business you are and what to expect in future dealings with your shop or showroom.
It is essential to optimise the customer experience through careful planning in the initial stages to ensure the final product is exactly as expected.
Georgina, our in-house designer, and planner at Designer Plants guides you through the top 8 important factors to consider in your shop fit out.
How to fit out a shop or showroom?
Consider the floor size you require for your shop fit out
Too often we work with retailers such as hairdressers, restaurants and coffee shops that simply take a shop that is available, rather than waiting for the right property to come onto the market. For example, a past client had 8 staff and ended up choosing a shop that was simply too small. Their desks wouldn’t fit, and they had to start meeting clients off-site as it was too cramped. At the very initial stages ask yourself:
- How much space does each staff member need to operate?
- Do you have an area clients can wait for you (or are they sitting on someone’s desks while they wait)?
- Do you have room to move around safely with customers and staff?
- Can other activities still occur if you are at full capacity: a box being left by a courier as an example within your shop fit out?
Look at how the office will function
Now that you know the space is large enough for your needs, one must consider what will occur within the office. Some frequent questions to ask are:
- Do you need access to power points?
- Is natural light going to reflect on computer screens?
- Will customers constantly have a gale force wind blow over them if they are made to wait near the door?
I would always encourage you to draw out with chalk what you propose on the floor. And then imagine you actively using that space and ask what could be better.
Choose appropriate flooring
This may seem like a silly question for a shop fit out, but often people don’t get this right. You need to consider noise, clientele (disabled, elderly, young or fit as they all have different needs), life-span, hygiene, and colours). This is an entire topic in itself. However, as a general rule, you don’t want slippery surfaces such as tiles or oiled timbers as people will often skid. On the flip side, carpet is great for attracting bacteria and dirt. Consider whether you can partition off an area, i.e. carpet tiles for where staff make phone calls, and non-slip flooring for the customer areas.
Determine how people will access goods
The two common considerations here are how high you stack items (will they fall on people / will customers struggle to get items down?), and whether the items are attractively displayed. People will naturally look the at heights that are between their knees and chest. Areas up high are great for excess storage, but not for putting items that may fall or beyond a person’s reach.
Find a suitable payment location
We are all in the business to make money, so you don’t want to make this part of the customer journey too hard, or people might just slip out the door. Generally speaking, we would recommend that the payment counter is clearly marked differently from the rest of the shop fit out (different paint colour behind, or even some panels of artificial greenery to draw people’s attention to the payment counter. There are a few keys reasons why we say make the area around the counter different:
- People know where to go for help if they require it
- Makes payments easier for clients
- Creates a perfect area to put advertising signage, flyers or information.
Don’t forget your security
Security is a key factor that needs to be taken seriously because of the competing priorities between being welcoming and staying secure with your shop fit out.
Starting at the exterior we need to consider options to improve security that will deter intruders to begin with. Often putting CCTV with signage is highly recommended. If you would like to improve the physical security of the window consider adding a clear window security film, or using thick plated glass. Inside the shop or showroom fit out, it is integral to ensure that staff have clear sight of the entire shop from their point of operation. This will ensure that visitors think twice before pinching any valuable items. Another factor to consider amongst many others in your shop fit out the is security of your personal employees. Often shops will install a back to base alarm system, this is a panic alarm that can be triggered should an incident occur.
Attend to your external environment
Probably one of the most important considerations in the entire shop fit out is the exterior of your space; as this is what prospective clients will first see. You want something eye-catching, and clear advertising that says who you are and what you do. For example, if you are a restaurant instead of simply having a white painted wall and a sign “Suburb X Takeaway”, think about brightening the front up. You could use a boxwood hedge mat, and signage that addresses those questions, i.e. “Sam’s Healthy and Delicious Asian Takeaway”.
Add a point of difference
I ask all clients this question – ‘what makes you special?’. This is key because everyone can set up a shop or showroom fit out, but what will keep customers coming back is something unique that they love! Is it your service, value for money, passion or energy? I’ll give you a practical example; Sam loves a healthy lifestyle at a fast pace and wants to attract similar clients. So how do you do this? Consider the colours people associate with healthy (green), and other sensory stimuli such as music and smell. What we would recommend is installing artificial greenery throughout to reinforce that subliminal messaging of health, some great pump up music, lots of access to water (also something people associate with health), and remove any traditional detractors (junk signage, camouflage, unhealthy food, and bins).
Fitting out a shop can be a daunting process, however, with the right planning, the task is easier than one may think. We have worked with hundreds of shopfitters across the globe in their projects and would be happy to assist you too.