With research highlighting that 86% of consumers claim they’re willing to part with more money for a great customer experience, there’s no denying that focusing on the design of retail premises is worthwhile. Question is, how do you make sure you get it right? A great place to start is by being clear on what to avoid. So here the Blok Projects team share some of the most common problems encountered during a shop fit-out, and crucially, how to make sure you don’t fall into the same trap.  

1.      Not thinking long term

The danger with a shop fit-out is focusing solely on the here and now – which can be a costly error! A shop design needs to be agile and responsive. There should be an element of adaptability built into the design. Why? Because this will help to ensure your business stays one step ahead, responding intuitively to the needs of customers and, crucially, giving you the flexibility to keep things interesting.  

2.      Failing to prepare

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. It might be a dated adage, but the message is as relevant as it’s always been and never more so than with planning a commercial fit-out. Whether it’s a move to new premises, a revamp of your current place, or a fresh start-up, you need to be ready for everything involved and plan for the disruption. Thinking about everything from keeping customers informed to where you’re going to store stock, will help to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible.  

3.      Poor design

Put simply, the design of your retail fit-out is everything. Get this wrong and the whole project will fail to deliver. A shop fit-out design needs to offer a great experience from start to finish. Customers should be drawn into and around the store, creating an effective flow that allows for maximum product promotion and exposure. Sounds simple enough, yet all this needs to be done in a way that still allows for a comfortable, enjoyable experience, that remains sensitive to accessibility and security needs.  

4.      Inadequate lighting

Clothes shop, beautician, bank – it doesn’t matter – it’s still important to ensure the lighting is right and where possible to maximise available natural light. On a basic level lighting is essential to illuminate space but it does so much more than this, helping not only to open up space but to set the tone and create an inviting atmosphere.  

5.      Being too generic

A retail fit-out might make your premises look the part, but it’s not going to do you any favours if you simply blend in with everyone else. A design that is unique, eye-catching and showcases personality is what’s needed to attract – and hold – attention. Signage and branding should be cleverly integrated to mark you out from the competition.  

6. Not utilising space

Again, this comes back to the fundamental design of the fit-out. Your design needs to do more than just look good, your fit-out needs to be practical too – and take full advantage of the floorspace available. Storage, furniture, seating, changing rooms, and cash desks are all essentials that need to be fully considered and built into the concept from day one.  

7.      Not setting (and sticking!) to a budget

This can be a real issue for retailers. With revenue on hold, and potentially lost, during a refurb, setting and working within a budget is crucial. Regardless of the scale of your budget, it’s important to be clear about it from the get-go, and realistic with what can be achieved within it, to ensure you don’t run into costs you’re not financially prepared for.  

8.      Being unrealistic about timescales

Be under no illusion – a shop fit-out takes time. Obviously, the scale of your project will dedicate exact time scales but at the very least you can expect work to take several weeks, and you must have contingency plans in place for how you will operate during this time.  

9.      Neglecting the exterior

A great design is one thing, but it’s useless if you fail to entice people over the threshold in the first place. Important then, that you don’t become so focused on the internal design that you forget about outside appearances – this is your first impression, so make it count!  

10.   Not seeking professional help

If points 1-9 tell us anything it’s how much there is to consider and how easy it is to get things wrong. And whilst it’s a great idea to do your research and learn from the mistakes of others, it’s an even better one to seek expert advice. Backed by the experience of a trusted retail fit-out specialist you can be confident of avoiding the usual pitfalls, and of achieving an effective and functional design.  

Talk to the experts

Why risk getting things wrong? Avoid unnecessary stress and costly mistakes by talking to the team here at Blok Projects. As experienced commercial fit-out specialists, whether you’re local and looking for a retail fit-out in Manchester, or from further afield, we can help your business to reach its true potential. Get in touch to find out more.
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