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Shop Fittings

Shop Fittings – The Ultimate Guide from Displaysense

We're often asked for shop fittings advice by customers, both experienced retailers and those taking their first steps in the industry. They are looking for advice and guidance on how best to approach their floor and window shop fittings to achieve the best results.

As leading shop fitting suppliers in the industry for over 30 years, we're always keen to help out merchants with the knowledge we've gained and we thought we'd take some time to share some of the most important aspects of a successful display

Shop Fittings Basics

Make no mistake; a well thought out and executed shop display can make the difference between success and failure. Always keep in mind the end goals you want to achieve with all work you do to your shop fittings. Whilst each business will need to tailor their store to suit their customer base there are a few essential rules to start with.

The Law

Be aware of the legal obligations that a retail store owner is responsible for. Understanding the laws in regard to disabled access, health and safety, town planning laws and other regulations should always be carefully considered when fitting out your store. Ensure that you and your staff are aware of the relevant laws in respect to the shop floor and you should avoid any potentially costly issues.

Avoiding Clutter

Make sure you don't overstock your premises and make it difficult for your customers to navigate the store. Blocked aisles, cramped queuing areas and dead-ends are all things to be avoided where possible. Whilst some stores can benefit from 'squaint', less ordered layouts this should always be approach carefully. There is a thin line between a shop with character and one that is simply off-putting to customers.

Eye Level

Making certain that your products are easily seen and within reaching distance is another basic rule that some retailers overlook. Your customers will instantly be put off if they have to ask for assistance to reach an item. Make it as easy as possible for the shopper to add items to their basket.

Types of Shop Fittings

Here's a small description of some of the most commonly used shop fittings and how they can be used to create an effective retail space.

Shop Fittings

Clothes Rails

Clothing and garment rails are a must-have shop fitting for any serious fashion retailer. Available in a very large range of styles and designs, the humble rail is the most common form of clothing display on the high street and is increasingly used in the home.


A staple of the fashion retail industry, the mannequin is a shop fitting that continues to captivate and intrigue. High streets across the globe are now peppered with mannequins of all shapes, sizes, styles, colours and poses. For displaying garments and clothing there are very few shop fittings as effective.

Did you know? In 1923 Howard Carter opened King Tut’s tomb and found a wooden torso made exactly to the pharaoh’s measurements. Dating all the way back to 1350 B.C. it is thought to be one of the earliest examples of a mannequin dress form.

Shop Fittings and Retail Displays

Display Cabinets

Another commonly seen style of shop fittings are display cabinets. A huge amount of retailers use them thanks to their blend of security and overall effectiveness. A number of display cases boast features such as rotating shelves, lighting and lockable storage areas that make them even more versatile. As well as floor standing models there are also wall mounted and table top varieties of cabinet shop fittings.

Literature & Leaflet Holders

Keeping customers aware of your full products range, current sales offers, upcoming events, key product information and more, literature holders are a key shop fitting range. A well positioned leaflet holder can pay dividends when used to hold attractive, informative and well presented promotional materials.

The Art of 'Visual Merchandising'

More than ever, the high street is a fiercely competitive area for all retailers. What makes a customer choose one store over another? The first impression a potential customer gets is usually from your shop window; its contents, messages, themes and focal points are absolutely vital for getting people through the door.

Did you know? The seminal book "A Guide to Window Dressing" is one of the first books to ever be published on visual merchandising and shop window displays. Dating back to 1883, the anonymous work outlines a number of key guidelines for the use of shop fittings and gives an intriguing glance at how retailers operated in late 19th century London.

Shop Fitting Window Displays

Get Creative

Try using unusual props and pieces of furniture alongside mannequins and more accepted display fittings. Bounce ideas of other members of staff. Use current seasons and fashions to influence your displays. After you’ve updated your shop windows try and continue the themes throughout the shop floor areas to create an immersive experience for each customer.

Research suggests that the average customer will see a correlation between the amount of stock on display in a shop window and the value of the items in the store. Essentially this means that the more products on display, the 'cheaper' the store appears to be. Think carefully about how much you want to put on display to avoid putting off potential buyers - too little on show can make you appear pricey and put off those on a budget. Too much and you’ll cheapen the image of your store.

Let There Be Light

The use of lighting throughout your store and window shop fitting displays is also a key factor that many retailers don't fully exploit. A well lit window display will instantly draw attention and by keeping the interior well lit with a mixture of artificial and natural light, your retail space will become more appealing and encourage longer, more profitable forays into your store.

Did you know? LED lighting is 80% more energy efficient than standard halogen bulbs that are often used in shop fitting areas. LEDs also produce almost no heat or potentially harmful UV rays, making them a more versatile, safer option that can save you a sizeable amount of money over the course of a working year.

Finger on the Pulse

Fashions, seasons, tastes, trends and expectations all change over time. Keep ahead of the competition and plan out how your displays and shop fittings can be used to highlight your new ranges and mirror these shifts.

Plan out a calendar of events that reflects all the possible changes that could potentially be mirrored in your shop fittings. You don't have to completely rethink your store’s layout and window design for every small event but it pays to keep up to date with the broader picture and look for opportunities to capitalise on them.

Retail Shop Fittings

Maximising Sales & Profits with Your Displays

The layout of your store and the shop fitting units you use to fit it out with will have a direct impact on the average basket value of your customers. Highlighting best sellers or items on special offer is still is very effective way to shift stock.

Try placing items in a dump basket but be careful how long you keep these items on offer. Anything over a month is generally not advised. Keep your store offers fresh and up to date and you’ll see noticeable boosts in sales for the ranges you choose to promote.

Another effective method of promotion is the use of ‘impulse’ purchase areas. These are often seen near payment and queuing areas and feature low-cost items of stock that can be quickly added to a customer’s basket before proceeding to the till.

All in-store messages should be clearly written, easily viewable and displayed as professionally as possible. These messages might include sales information, pricing, special offers and other deals.

A lot of high street stores use ‘pyramid’ style displays to promote their merchandise. This essentially involves building a neat, pyramid shaped tower of products. Regularly topping up this style of display is important to maintain the shape and consistency. It’s also key to ensure that these shop fittings don’t impede customers, make it more difficult for them to pick up the items or create a safety hazard by being stacked too high.

The Finishing Touches

Even the most immaculately designed, uncluttered, clean and optimised shop fitting display can come unstuck if members of staff come across as uninterested, rude or lacking in knowledge. A smiling face can make a big difference.

Regularly looking at what your competitors are doing and reviewing the success of various layouts in your own store is also important. Learn how your customers move through your store. Watch how they interact with your displays; what they are drawn to, what they avoid. The body language of buyers in your retail space can provide a great insight into what’s going right and what could be improved.

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Shop Fittings – The Ultimate Guide from Displaysense

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