There is much more to fitting a shop or an office space than organising your furnishings or looking for ways to optimise product accessibility/visibility. Sure, these are an important part of the planning process; however, you need to look at the bigger picture.
Shop Fit Out
Whether you plan to have stores in multiple locations or just the one; from the outset you need to be clear on your brand identity and values, so you can accurately convey them through your design i.e. translate them into the bricks and mortar of your store. This will ensure that customers know who you are, what you believe in, and appreciate your goals and ethics. More importantly, this will help to make you memorable.
Working with a delivery partner who shares in your brand ethos and goals can help you to achieve this, as you’ll be collaborating with like-minded individuals who understand what you’re trying to achieve. This will give you the peace of mind you crave, as they’ll keep to your exact design and budget requirements. More importantly, by understanding you, they will also have a greater understanding of your customers.
But that is not all you need to consider:
- The usability of your store – your audience demographic should play an important role in how you fit out your store. For instance, if your business caters to parents, then there is a high probability that many will have a pram. As a result, you need to make sure that there is plenty of space along aisles for them to manoeuvre so they don’t get stuck. This should include not creating obstacles with displays and stands, and ensuring that there is enough room for prams to travel in both directions.
TIP: you need to carefully consider the placement of your fittings and fixtures, and how they will affect the flow of your store. Their positions have the power to both positively and negatively influence customer journeys.
- Customer experience – enhancing consumer journeys is at the forefront of every businesses mind – but how can you use your retail space to achieve this? The first step is considering how to effectively use your retail space to ensure ease, comfort and satisfaction. A prime example of this is offering a seating area where customers can either wait while their friends/family try on clothes or rest. Alternatively, you can create a space that has the dual purpose of showcasing products while giving customers the chance to interact and use them. Not only does this allow them to try before they buy; it will make your products more memorable.
In any case, you should consider the needs and desires of your shoppers, so that every element of your store makes their shopping experience easy, carefree and enjoyable.
TIP : you need to think about the kind of shopping experience you want to deliver. This means you need to offer them well-planned spaces that have been carefully mapped out so your customers can easily move around, locate products and are able to see as much of your stock as possible. In other words, it needs to be functional and usable.
TIP : research indicates that shoppers automatically turn right upon entering a store. Because of this, you should try to put your most tempting offers/displays to the right so they see them straight away.
- Fixtures/fittings – these shouldn’t be rushed, but should be carefully thought through so you don’t waste money having them manufactured only to find that they don’t work for you or your brand.
A guaranteed way to achieve this is to order bespoke fixtures/fittings (if you’ve got the budget for it). This will ensure that your brand identity is consistent and attainable across all stores.
TIP: to save on money, have prototype fixtures created. This will allow you to spot any design weaknesses and resolve them before you spend any further money. NOTE: don’t worry if you haven’t got the budget for prototypes. A thorough review of designs will help you to identify any issues.
TIP : make a list of essential features such as accessible/flexible shelving units, racks, display stands, islands, railing (to showcase products), and consider their usability and dimensions so they are accessible and don’t make your store look overcrowded.
- Lighting – it is amazing how much lighting can help to influence the mood, atmosphere and overall experience of your store. It is just a matter of making sure that your lighting design aligns with your brand identity so it doesn’t get lost. For instance, if you’re going for an upmarket, regency effect, then hanging lights and crystal chandeliers can enhance this theme.
TIP : spotlights, shelving and environmental lights can add colour, tone and texture to your shop. Spotlights in particular can be used to highlight specific areas of the store, and can help guide customers around, influence their pace, dwell time, spend and how appealing they find particular products.
- Consistency/inconsistency – if you own multiple stores you need to decide whether you want these stores to be visually consistent i.e. same layout, design and scheme across all stores, or if you want to tailor each store to match the demographic and needs of the location. NOTE: research is vital here, as both options have their advantages and disadvantages depending on what you’re striving for.
- Handover – if your store has been designed and installed by a professional design company such as Resolution Interiors, then should you receive a thorough handover once the fit out is complete. This will allow you to go over the finished store so you can identify any last minute alterations, as well as ensuring your team receive essential training on for their new space and systems.
Office Fit Out
Offices differ from retail environments because your customer is more specific i.e. they are a business. Unlike shoppers who have got a broad spectrum of needs when browsing; offices are traditionally utilised by companies whose requirements are more focused.
For this reason, you need to identity what tenants need in order to effectively carry out their roles. Do they require open spaces where their team can collaborate, communicate and work as one unit? Or do they want a combination of individual offices (for senior management), cubicles and private rooms (where employees can handle more sensitive projects)?
Other things to consider:
- Lighting – unlike retail spaces which use lighting to create certain moods; when outfitting an office what businesses are concerned about is boosting productivity. This may mean that they want windows that will allow lots of natural light to fill the space, or they may require adjustable lights which can be altered to support design projects. In other words, you need to determine how much control they want over their lighting i.e. does it need to be managed? And what about energy efficiency?
- Heating and air-conditioning – comfort is key. Remember – people will likely be occupying this space for at least 8 hours a day, so it is essential that you create a space where they can easily manage the heating. This will involve strategically placing radiators and air conditioning around the room – so everyone is equally catered for – while calculating how long it will take for employees to feel the effects of this heating/air conditioning.
- Additional spaces – what extra spaces will you provide aside from workspaces i.e. communal kitchens, meeting rooms, storage, breakout areas (with sofas), etc.? What else do employees need so they will work and perform at their best?
Now, if you’re reading this as a business – and not the landlord – then the reasoning behind this office fit out will be different. On the one hand, your desire to outfit may stem from a need to update your existing workplace to reflect your brand; while on the other, you may be moving into brand new premises.
In either case – whether you’re a landlord or a business owner – you need to consider the following when planning your fit out/office refurbishment:
- Your needs – what is the purpose of your fit out? Are you down-sizing, merging offices or are you simply updating your look? When considering these, you need to take into account your needs for now and in the future, so you don’t have to keep repeating this (expensive) process every other year. For instance, you need to think about your IT and office furniture needs, your budget and your timescales.
- Management – to make things simpler, it may be worth assigning a Project Manager to the fit out, so they can overview the work and act as go-to.
- Employ a fit-out partner – hiring the right experienced fit out partner will save you time and money, but more importantly will alleviate the stress on your internal team as they no doubt have a ‘day job’ to deliver as well as this new space.. At Resolution Interiors our team will take care of all aspects of your project, and can eliminate the need for multiple contractors. Instead, we can provide you with advice, planning and building control; can perform workplace audits; can take charge of project management, space planning and design, AND can supply you with detailed drawings and 3D walk-throughs for all important sign off. In addition, we can handle all of your lighting, heating, air-conditioning, IT cabling, floorings, furnishings and partitioning needs.
Making the decision to refurb your store or design a new office space doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. With careful planning and the support of professional designers, you can successfully transform your store/workspace and achieve the look you want.
For assistance with designing, planning and implementing a fit out, contact our team at Resolution Interiors today.