Opening A Retail Store Guide – 14 Shop Equipment Items You’ll Need

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Have you got everything you need? Are you sure you haven’t left any essentials off the list?

There are many considerations to opening your first retail store. In the beginning, the key considerations are things like location, leases, insurance, marketing, finance, hiring staff and establishing suppliers.

Once you have an idea of your retail strategy, it’s time to think about one of the key drivers of your sales: your merchandising. It’s a common misconception that merchandising is primarily something that effects fashion businesses – but it is not so.

Just recently, one of our customers from CEF told us about how his new retail shelving had increased his sales and the look of his shop. In fact, merchandising is so important that large supermarket brands put a lot of effort into meticulously planning their layout. There are many tricks that supermarkets use to encourage shoppers to spend more.

So, here are 14 shop display essentials that you will need when opening your first retail store.

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1) Signage

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Who are you and what do you do? Your shop signage needs to catch the attention of passers-by. In addition, it needs to attract the right people. For example, if you plan on selling alternative clothing, then you will want to choose an appropriate font and probably use a lot of black in your branding. Alternatively, if you are going to be a florist’s, then something light is best.

Although it’s tempting to put a lot of colour into your signage, don’t forget that your window display is going to be key and that your merchandise needs to stand out too. Often the best solution for signage is to opt for something that is high contrast as humans are pre-disposed to find high contrast displays more stimulating and interesting.

In addition, signage that adds to your curb-side appeal can be useful. For example, chalkboard A-boards are an excellent way to attract a little extra attention with a well-placed, quirky, message.

2) Window Displays

Window displays are your opportunity to capture the attention of passers-by. On average, this opportunity is just 2.5 seconds. These seconds are vital as they are your few moments to convince shoppers that your shop is worth having a look around.

Sometimes the temptation with a window display can be to fill it with as many products as possible to try and show shoppers something that they want. But as the adage goes, less is more. Drawing shopper attention to a few key items can be a much more powerful strategy than creating an overpowering and confusing display.

In addition, it is important to keep changing window displays regularly.

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Shoppers can become de-sensitised very quickly and unfortunately, if your displays are the same week on week, shoppers stop noticing them very quickly. Usually it is recommended that a window display is changed every 2 weeks, at a minimum.

To achieve this, it is a good idea to rotate your merchandise and to use window display props to add flourishes. For example, around Easter you could use some daffodils to brighten up a display, while around the winter time, a few icicles to line the borders of your windows, could attract attention. Good window display props are ones that can be easily stored and that can be used year on year. For inspiration, visit our window display prop section which is regularly updated to keep your displays fresh.

3) Shopping Baskets

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The fantastic thing about shopping baskets, is that they help to encourage your customers to buy more. With your great signage and excellent window displays you have enticed them inside, and now, it is time to encourage them to buy.

The type of shopping basket that you need will depend on the types of merchandise that you sell. For example, a fashion or cosmetic retailer would be best to use a net basket. This is because the mesh is fine and prevents small items from slipping through any holes. In addition, there are no edges to catch threads on.

Conversely, if you are going to be selling groceries, then a plastic or wire basket is the best route. This is because these baskets allow you to see the items that customers have in their baskets from a-far.

This helps to reduce the shop lifting risk. In addition, the weight tolerances of these types of baskets are higher than they are with net baskets.

By providing customers with shopping baskets, you make it easier for them to carry more items. When shoppers aren’t provided with a basket, the pattern usually is that shoppers fill their arms and then make a beeline for the till. Whereas, if a customer can comfortably carry their items with a basket, they are more relaxed and it is easier to draw their attention to other items, and so increase the up-sell opportunities.

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4) Wall Display Systems

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There are many different types of wall display systems and the best type for you will depend on your merchandise and the size of your shop. For example, slatwall is a very popular system because it is space saving and comes in many different colours. In addition, it can be cut down to size. You can learn more about slatwall in this information sheet.

Other wall systems include things like tube and clamp, which is very popular with fashion retailers and also twin slot displays. All of these wall display systems are fairly flexible as there are a number of hooks, arms and accessories that can be used to change displays around quickly and easily.

Of course, for many, shop shelving will be an absolute must. Which brings me onto the next retail store essential shop display…

5) Retail Shelving

On the face of it, shop shelving can look a little complicated. But with all of our modular systems, it can be made very versatile and easy to tailor to the shop size that you have.

We even have dedicated shelving experts who can draw up the layout of your shop for you.

If you are going to need shop shelving, it is recommended that you read this information sheet which tells you all of the need-to-know shelving basics.

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6) Clothes Rails

If you are going to be selling clothes, then clothes rails are going to help you with your merchandising. There are different types of clothes rails. From feature rails to standard garment rails – there are plenty to choose from. For many, clothes rails are combined with one of the earlier mentioned wall display systems. This is because wall systems will allow you to take advantage of the height of your shop, as well as the floor space.

When choosing your clothing rails, consider the colour, the length of clothes and the weight that your rail will need to support. Here is a clothing rail section for you to browse. If you need any help, don’t forget you can give us a call on 01329 842 000 or use the contact us page form.

7) Clothes Hangers

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Having a clothes rail is no good without clothes hangers! There are many considerations when it comes to choosing the right hangers for your store opening. Many are personal preference but there are branding and practical considerations too.

The practical considerations are mainly to do with hanger width, breadth and grip. For example, if you plan to sell suit jackets as well as shirts, you will need at least two different hanger styles. You will need more broad hangers to fill your jackets. (If this is the case – don’t worry – most of our hangers don’t have any minimum order quantities so you can mix and match!).

In addition, you will also need to consider how grippy your hangers need to be. For many types of clothing it is advisable to purchase either hangers with grips built-in, or hanger grips that can be stuck onto your hangers.

Branded hangers are a great way to make sure that you make an impression on browsers – particularly when there are so many people who take a photo of something they like in-store – with the view to purchase it later. By making sure your branding is in there, you can encourage them to come back to you to make the sale.

8) Tagging & Labelling Supplies

You will need both tags and labels to mark-up many items. Tagging guns are the most commonly used way to attach tags. These tagging guns are usually referred to as kimble tagging guns.

9) Mannequins

Putting clothes on a form is the best way to show customers what the clothing will look like on them. It takes them one step closer to being able to imagine the clothes on them.

There are many different sizes and styles to choose from. We have over 130 different styles in our range. Browse the range or take a look at our mannequin fact sheet.

Articulated Mannequins Are Ideal For Shop Displays

10) Pricing Systems

The pricing system you need will depend on the types of item that you are selling. For example, a grocery shop will need ticket edge to go with their shelving, and probably a price gun kit too. Whereas a jeweller, will need a rather different price display system. They will need something like price cubes.

11) Carrier Bags

Carrier bags make a bit of a statement about your shop brand. For example, paper bags with handles can create a more environmentally friendly impression, whereas clear carrier bags can give a high-end luxury feel. The thickness of the bags, which is often called microns, is another important decision factor.

Branding carrier bags is a good thing to do if you have the budget. By branding your bags it’s easier to make your shop memorable. Particularly as the vast majority of shoppers re-use plastic carrier bags. This also means you get some free brand awareness advertising!

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12) Trade Counter

We supply the trade counters for big brands such as CEF. In our experience, a modular option is good for many businesses as it affords you extra flexibility if you decide to move things around your store after your initial few months. Alternatively, cabinets are popular for many retailers who are selling jewellery or luxury items.

13) Till & Card Machine

You will of course need to have the means to take payment. There are many flexible options out there now and it can be tricky to navigate. Here is an article which gives 5 key considerations when choosing a cash register.

14) Security Systems

In addition to a burglar alarm and standard security items, which may be included in your lease, there are other low cost items which can help you protect your shop from shop lifters. Things like fake CCTV cameras are quite convincing now-days. This is because they have sensors that detect movement and allow them to pan when someone is nearby. In addition, something very simple, like a convex mirror, can be really effective.


Our mission is to help retailers sell more with great displays. We can help you make your new shop a success, call us on 01329 842 000 or contact us today.

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