Your Guide to Retail Fixture Installations

Learn the five essentials for every successful shop fit out

It’s important you get your retail fixtures installations right. Customers are fickle. Investors are itchy. The market is up and down. Retail is not going anywhere, but you need to know how to play and win the retail game.  

Dynamic specializes in retail fixture installations. This is what we do. 

We design, build, install, and maintain retail stores. We do it for the biggest brands in the world. 

This is your guide to retail fixture installations. Read it, share it, and remember it whether you’re renovating an individual store or planning a global brick-and-mortar roll-out.

What is Retail Fit Out?

Retail fixture installations, also known as retail fit out or shop fit out is the planning, design, construction, and installation of fixtures, millwork, graphics, and signage to ensure easy customer flow and clear product awareness and brand image. 

The goal with every fit out is to create a space that helps your customers and employees feel-at-ease, relaxed, and supported as they browse, shop, and learn about your products and brand. 

A positive customer experience depends on your retail shop fit out.

5 Keys to an Engaging Retail Shop Fit Out or Installation

Whether you’re launching a new brick-and-mortar store or planning a redesign of your global brand, you need to nail these five keys to an engaging retail shop fixture:

  1. Retail Store Layout
    Your customers rely on you for direction and guidance. You need to make it easy for them to find and buy products. Your store layout is critical to making this happen.

    Standard layout options include grid or straight, loop or racetrack, free-flow, and fixed path.

    A grid layout for makes it easy for shoppers to choose aisles and to shop for specific products, such as groceries.

    The loop store design is ideal for giving shoppers a guided and supported shopping experience. For example, housewares, clothing, and toy stores often use the loop store design.

    The free-flow layout is popular with clothing and specialty brands, encouraging browsing, discovery, and serendipity.

    And the fixed path is popular with big box stores using showrooms and relying on impulse purchasing.

  2. Decompression Zone and Space
    There is nothing worse than a crowded store that overwhelms shoppers with decisions. Remember, people are coming to your store to fulfill a need, so make it easy for this to happen.

    The decompression zone is essential for welcoming people to your store and easing them into browsing and shopping. Remember that most people will turn right when they enter a store, so use retail fixtures and millwork to highlight your products and guide them through the store.

    No one wants to feel crowded when shopping. Make sure there is plenty of space around your product displays and in your store layout to help people slow down and relax. Remember, space isn’t limited to the floor and your aisles, do not overcrowd your walls with signage – white space is important.

  3. Checkout Displays
    There is nothing worse than wanting to buy a product and not being able to find the checkout. Your store layout should guide people to your checkout – giving them multiple paths to reach it.

    Your checkout display is likely the final interaction people have with your store and brand, so make it memorable and helpful. Consider the size and design of your checkout, the additional products you display near it, and how easy it is for customers to interact with your sales team.

  4. Convenient and Engaging Product Placement
    We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again – your fixtures and millwork matter. This is how you showcase and highlight your products. Along with making it easy for people to see, interact with, and buy your products, your retail fixtures need to be tied to your brand and overall ethos.

    Think strategically about how you use retail fixture options such as shelving, display cases or boards, gondolas, interactive touch screens and mirrors, focal wall units, nesting tables to show, tell, guide, sell, connect, and engage customers. 

  5. Think Like Your Customers
    You need to make your customers happy. You need to make it easy for them to solve their challenges and fulfill their wants and needs.

    A successful retail shop fit out puts the customer front-and-center. Ask how you can give your customers the best possible store experience. Do they need places to sit down and relax? Do they want to be entertained or are they just coming in to shop and leave? 

On the surface, your retail fit out is about your brand and products – but deep down, it’s all about your customers. Give them what they want. Satisfy their needs. Make them feel supported, seen, and heard. 

The Retail Fixture Installation Process

Every situation is different, but in general, the installation process should be based on these five steps:

  1. Site Surveys and Space Planning: you need to know your space before you can make any design decisions. At this first phase of the retail fit out process, your shop fit out partner should provide you with sketches, architectural drawings, reflected ceiling plans, current fixture layouts, adjacencies, and photos documenting your retail site.

    Expect the retail architects and designers to create Plano-O-grams, layouts, and full 3D renderings so you can make the best decisions about how to maximize your space.

  2. Planning and Production: once you have an approved design, the next step is narrowing and finalizing your design. This includes discussions and decisions around fixtures, millwork, lighting, graphics, signage, window display design, and more.

  3. Retail Construction Management: this is when your retail fit out plans come to life with construction and installation of all the elements that make your space. From installing and building custom millwork and furniture to providing full turn-key procurement services for any items you need for to complete your shop fit out or refurbishment – it happens during the construction stage.

  4. Finishing Touches: once construction is complete your brand and store come alive with your fixtures, millwork, signage, and graphics.

  5. Maintenance: you just never know what will happen in your store. A customer leans on a glass display, case cracking it, or a rowdy toddler manages to pull down your custom signs – make sure you have a maintenance team you can rely on 24/7/365. Discuss preventative and reactive maintenance plans with your fit out partner to ensure your store meet your quality standards. 

The secret sauce behind the retail fit out process is logistics. You should not worry about the warehousing, delivery, and logistics of your retail fixtures, seasonal displays, and product inventory. Choose a retail installation and design partner who knows that core to a successful fit out is managing the behind-the-scenes logistics and moving parts. 

Modern Retail Fit Out Strategies

This is an exciting time to be in retail – people want to visit your stores and build brand allegiances. The challenge for you is in delivering a store that meets your customers where they are and how they see themselves.

And this is why we’re not going to hype augmented reality, sustainability, or experiential retail. Yes, these are important design and fit out strategies – but only if they’re right for your customers and brand.

We want to flip the thinking and push you to really get to know your customers, your brand, and your real-world brand image.

  • What do you know about your store branding and customer perception of your brand? Make sure your store design and fit out aligns with how your customers see you or want to see you. Remember, for most people, brands symbolize something they aspire to be – more athletic, rugged, wealthy, Zen, natural, outdoorsy, etc. How can you communicate this?
  • Why do people visit your stores? Are they showrooming products and buying online? Are your in-store demonstrations and workshops consistently sold out or are you seeing zero interest? You need to know what happens when a customer visits your store. What products are they drawn to, do they use the VR fitting rooms, are they here to pick up an online purchase?
  • Who are your customers? How old are they, what are they interested in, what is their income range, why do they shop in brick-and-mortar stores? This information is essential to your fit out strategy. Miss the mark and create a store for someone other than your demographic, and well, you know what happens next.
  • Get to know your competitors. Find out what they’re doing, what’s working (and not), and who is visiting their stores. Are their customers spending time at the product demo stations, lining up for limited product release specials, are they in-and-out in five minutes with their purchase?

There is no magic answer to the winning retail shop fit out strategy. Get to know your customers. Get to know your brand and vision. Ask the hard questions that inform what you really want to achieve and why. And then focus on delivering the right retail experience. 

At Dynamic, our unique combination of IN-HOUSE offerings makes us your single source provider for all your retail fit out, planning, installation, and construction needs. No one understands retail fixture installation better than we do. 

Contact us to learn how we handle any aspect of your business – from an individual fit out to a global roll-out.