When working with a designer to redesign or create a successful selling floor, your design professional will ask lots of questions about your business and your vision for the store. Many things that seem basic to you can make a big difference as the designer develops the plan. The details are often as important as the big picture. Here’s a checklist of the things you should be ready to share with your design team:
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- Bring a drawing, blueprint or CAD drawing of your store floor. Have measurements ready. Don’t just measure walls — be sure to include any columns, recessed areas and bump-outs.
- Let the designer know what your plans are for the floor coverings – different fixtures work better on carpet vs. tile or vice versa.
- Indicate the area that will be the entry way, and where the merchandise will be. If you sell merchandise that legally must be kept behind a counter, such as tobacco products or guns, you will need a a straight line from the front door to the cabinet housing the product.
- Describe the community to your designer. What type of interaction will you have with the customers? Is the store in a town, a strip mall or a rural area?
- Include security systems in your store floor plan – for both merchandise and the store itself.
- Tell your designer everything you’re selling, even if it seems to be a minor part of your inventory. For example, if you are a men’s clothing retailer but also sell a few ladies’ items, making your designer aware of the inventory will influence the merchandise design.
- Discuss any type of special services you’ll be offering – whether it’s a barber shop or a gift-wrapping station. The designer will want to place it strategically within the store layout. In addition, any counter space will need to comply with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).
- If you sell several types of products, inform your designer. Different products require different fixtures on the retail floor. Health and beauty items, for example, have a different footprint than groceries.
- If a designer doesn’t suggest a particular fixture that you think would work, ask about it. It’s possible that the fixture can be ordered or even custom designed. Allow enough time for customization – it can often take six to eight weeks to deliver individual displays.
Above all, consider your retail floor designer part of your team! The better the information, the better the result!