In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about store fixtures, from how to build the perfect solution and optimize it for your merchandise, to store concept development and managing the roll-out of new retail fixtures.
What’s in this guide
- Gondola Shelving
- Display Stands
- Display Racks
- Retail Counters
- Retail Shelving
- Display Cases
- Retail Clothing Racks
- Display Units
- Merchandise Displays
The Basics of Store Fixtures
Compelling product displays drive traffic inside and convert browsers into buyers. Retail store fixtures play a crucial role in this, allowing you to present your merchandise in the most attractive way possible.
What are retail store fixtures?
Retail store fixtures are used to display products. They come in many shapes and sizes, so no matter what you’re selling, there’s bound to be a perfect fit.
Popular examples of retail store fixtures include:
- Retail shelves for showcasing a range of products in a neat and organized way
- Gondola displays for multiple-sized SKUs you want to cross-sell
- Display cases for protecting valuable items while driving exclusivity and curiosity
- Display stands for special promotions, seasonal campaigns or mid-floor POP stands
- Retail counters for upselling last-minute items at checkout
- Mannequins for showing customers how your merchandise is meant to look
- Product towers for guiding customers through a personalized store journey
What is the purpose of store fixtures in retail?
Effective retail display fixtures make your products irresistible to customers. They should highlight your merchandise’s best features, optimize your store layout and drive conversions.
There is a science to visual merchandising – and store fittings are the backbone. They create a visually appealing and well-designed store layout that not only attracts customers inside but also invites them to move through the store and engage with displays.
The essential elements of retail display fixtures
There are four essential elements to retail display fixtures. They must be visually appealing, versatile, durable and strategically placed. This combination as good as guarantees success.
- Visuals: When store fixtures look good, they enhance the customer’s perception of the product’s quality. Consider the color, shape and even the feel of your displays.
- Versatility: Versatile retail display fixtures boost cross-selling and keep your store looking fresh. Consider modular wall systems or display towers with lockable wheels.
- Durability: If you want your fixtures to last longer than a few seasons, opt for ones that have been built with a sturdy substrate, like steel or heavy wood.
- Placement: Even beautiful displays won’t convert if they’re placed badly. Use your shop’s traffic pattern to inform where your displays will be most effective.
The Principles of Retail Store Design
Retail store design is more than just making a space look good – it’s a selling tactic. In fact, visual merchandising strategies can increase sales from 80% to 478%.
There are three key things you can do to optimize your store design and increase sales:
- Make the right first impression by creating visually stunning window displays and a decompression zone at the entrance so that customers can acclimatize to your store.
- Know your customers’ flow so that you can place products strategically and drive conversions. This will also make your store feel more pleasant to walk through.
- Use store display fixtures that show off your merchandise, encourage interaction and keep your store feeling airy, modern and on-brand.
It’s equally important to make sure you’re using the most effective store layout and combining this with a carefully crafted interior design. Our comprehensive guide to retail store design explains how to do this in detail.
For a quick overview, there are three basic types of store layouts:
- The grid, commonly used in supermarkets because of its intuitive layout
- The loop, which creates a singular, predictable path optimized for browsing
- The free flow, where the shopping experience is more relaxed and casual
Less common store layouts include the set path, as seen in Ikea. There’s also the boutique, where the space is segmented according to different assortment areas. Whichever layout you choose, it must reflect your products, brand identity and customer needs.
For example, if you run a large retail shop with lots of merchandise, a free-flow layout may make it hard for customers to find what they’re looking for. This can lead to a frustrating shopping experience. Instead, you would need a layout that’s more predictable and intuitive.
Interior Design Strategy
You should also have a clear interior design strategy:
- Color theory: Use color effectively to enhance the shopping experience. For example, yellow is energetic, while blue makes customers feel calmer.
- POS displays: POS displays can increase sales by 445%, so use them wisely. Identify high-traffic areas that drive sales, next to a checkout counter.
- Compelling store display fixtures: Product displays are your chance to tell a story and communicate value, so get creative and choose fixtures that reinforce your brand.
Examples of Retail Store Fixtures
Gondola shelving displays are freestanding retail fixtures that are highly customizable and support a range of merchandising options. Their benefits include:
- Maximized floor space
- Adaptability for different products
Gondola shelving displays can be modified with various fitting accessories to showcase a range of complementary products that can be sold together.
There are many different types of gondola displays, from large islands to small POS displays, and they can be easily branded with different signage.
Gondola Tool Display
In this tool display stand, you can see how the versatility of gondola shelving units accommodates a range of products. Benefits include:
- Multifunctional shelves
- Gridwall backing, which serves two purposes:
- The unit can be customized with a range of display fixtures
- The shelves can be easily adjusted to suit different-sized SKUs
- Mild steel material for maximum durability
- Replaceable graphics panels to strengthen branding
Island gondolas with lockable wheels
Gondolas can be designed as island units with lockable wheels so that they can be moved around easily. This is ideal for upselling a range of complementary merchandise.
For example, KSF Global created this gondola island for Xpert’s workwear line. Its varied display fixtures include shelves, rails and hooks, which allow Xpert to cross-sell garments and accessories.
End cap gondolas for promotions
Gondola end displays are also the perfect place for promotions. To draw customers’ attention to the unit, use eye-catching signage and keep your stock well organized.
End cap gondolas:
- Afford you more merchandising opportunities
- Maximize floor space and optimize your store layout
- Make your store look attractive from angle
Retail display stands are usually freestanding points of sale that:
- Highlight a particular product
- Communicate your brand message
- Act as a physical point of contact
FSDUs come in many forms:
- Floating shelf display stands
- Metal rack display stands
- Countertop displays for upselling
- Clothing retail displays
POP display stands draw attention to new products or promotions. In fact, they’re proven to increase sales by 20%. With customized graphics, they also elevate brand perception.
Maximize the effectiveness of your POP display by placing it strategically, like near the checkout or between aisles.
- Highlighting hero products
- Promoting new campaigns
- Encouraging upsells
- Drawing attention to special deals
This FSDU example by KSF Global for KitchenCraft features lockable wheels, adjustable shelves and clear signage for maximum movability, versatility and brand visibility.
Digital display stands
Interactive retail display stands invite customers to interact with your brand and products. They can be used in a number of ways, including:
- Product demos that customers can participate in
- Ways for customers to find more information about a product
- Digital signage to attract attention and enable adaptable promotions
Rack display stands
Freestanding display stands offer a range of customization options. This floor-standing display unit offers maximum flexibility so that it can be reused in multiple ways:
- Metal racks support large quantities of merchandise
- Racks can be easily substituted for other display fixtures
- Slim design won’t interfere with customer flow
- Graphics panels can be switched out to suit new campaigns
When choosing display racks, consider your space and merchandising needs.
For example, if you have limited floor space, wall display racks allow you to showcase a lot of merchandise without making your store feel cluttered.
Meanwhile, freestanding display racks are ideal for cross-selling varied products. These retail fixtures can feature metal racks, hooks and even literature holders to accommodate a range of merchandise.
Shoe display racks
Shoe display racks allow you to present a range of shoes in a clear, organized and attractive way. In this example by KSF for Regatta:
- Wire shelves can be adjusted to different heights
- Lockable wheels make the rack easy to reposition
- Switchable graphics panels make it easy to reuse
Freestanding display racks for clothes
There’s a huge variety of clothing display racks, including garment gondolas, mannequins and wall features with rails.
Freestanding display fixtures are perfect for smaller items of clothing, like socks, belts or accessories, as shown in this example by KSF Global for Farberware. Easily moveable around your store, these racks allow you to boost upsells in high-traffic areas.
Display racks for large products
Large, heavy items can be difficult to display. They need a durable display fixture and ample room to avoid looking cramped.
This is what KSF Global built for Hozelock. The multifunctional backboard is strong and versatile, allowing the shelves to be repositioned, and the open shelving means products can be viewed in their entirety without being overcrowded.
Your retail counter is the centrepiece of your store, so it should be eye-catching and on-brand. It’s also a great place to boost last-minute purchases and encourage interaction between staff and customers.
Shelving can be added to your retail counter to showcase new products, encourage upsells, or even highlight a rebrand, as shown in this example by KSF for Kenneth Cole.
Retail counters can also be customized with:
- Drop compartments that boost upsells
- Mirrors to make your space feel brighter
- Countertop POP displays
- A memorable statement piece
Statement counter display
You want to attract customers to your checkout counter, so make a statement that is on-brand and memorable.
For Maryling’s retail counter, KSF Global included a mannequin in the design. This not only stands out, but it’s also another opportunity to showcase merchandise at point-of-sale.
Countertops with drop compartments
Drop compartments are a great way to optimize your countertop displays. In this example by KSF Global for TK Maxx, the drop compartments:
- Promote last-minute purchases
- Feature shelving to display more products
- Separate each checkout so every customer can see them
- Don’t take up any counter space
Your checkout desk is the perfect place for a countertop display. It increases upsells, promotes hero products, and draws attention to special promotions.
KSF Global designed this countertop watch display for Barbour, complete with adjustable components and a photo frame structure for maximum versatility.
- Floating shelves, ideal for lighter or hero products
- Open shelving, for driving attention to core products
- Wall display systems, showcasing a big range of products
- Modular shelving, which can be easily reconfigured
- Gondola shelving units, for displaying products clearly
Think of how you can elevate your chosen retail shelving to make it visually appealing and on-brand, such as by:
- Adding lights or mirrors
- Choosing a material that reflects your brand, like wood or glass
- Choosing a color scheme consistent with the rest of your store
When fitting out Maryling’s new store, KSF Global knew floating shelves had to make an appearance. These display fixtures are:
- Chic and subtle, minimizing visual clutter
- Ideal for displaying hero products by highlighting their details
- Dynamic and visually interesting
Open retail shelving
Open shelving is ideal when you have a selection of core products that you want to display separately. They also make items feel more exclusive, driving customer interest.
As shown in this example by KSF Global for Mulberry, the spacious wall shelving allows every item to breathe so that customers can appreciate their details.
On-brand wall shelving
When working on the shop fit-out of multiple Superdry stores, KSF Global had to ensure brand consistency.
When choosing wall shelving systems, consider your brand’s story and the atmosphere you want to create. In the example for Superdry, the wall shelves were:
- Constructed from dark wood to align with the brand’s natural, moody aesthetic
- Spotlit to highlight products and support the coziness Superdry stores are known for
- Built from floor to ceiling to maximize space and improve customer flow
Retail display cases
Display cases are a popular retail fixture for high-value items that need protection from light and dust. They also elevate the customer’s perception of a product’s value.
The common use for display cases is jewellery displays. Freestanding pedestal cases are perfect for these because they elevate the product and give customers a 360° view.
Display cases come in many shapes and materials, from wooden cases to wall-mounted cabinets. It all depends on your brand image and product needs. Glass vitrines, for example, are ideally suited for luxury items, like purses or jewellery.
Display cases with shelves
For Mulberry’s showroom, KSF Global designed a tall display case with illuminated shelves to showcase their line of handbags.
Display cases with shelves do several things. They:
- Elevate the perceived value of a product
- Make merchandise feel more exclusive
- Allow you to present complementary items together
- Drive more focus to the details of a product
Acrylic display cases
Display cases can also take the form of acrylic boxes used to hold large volumes of product, as shown in this golf ball display stand created by KSF Global. This display:
- Drives urgency by showing customers how much of a product is left
- Invites customers to interact with the display by helping themselves
Acrylic display boxes can also be used as floating displays or stacked units for hero products like handbags or shoes.
Optical display case
Adding drawers and cabinets to your optical display stands is a great way to increase storage space and organize stock.
As shown in this example by KSF Global, optical display cases make it easy to replace sold-out frames, ensuring your display is always fully stocked.
If your priority is affordability and versatility, gridwall displays are for you. These are real space-savers because of how slimline they are, and they can be used in a number of ways:
- Add L-legs to turn gridwall panels into freestanding units
- Customize with accessories to support a range of merchandise
- Integrate with shelving bays to create different display options
The number of gridwall accessories is what makes these retail fixtures so versatile. From shelves and hooks to arms, legs and bins, you can reconfigure your gridwall display however you like to create a fresh look quickly and easily.
Gridwall shelving bays
Optimize your shelving bays by adding gridwall backing, such as this retail wall display by KSF Global for Toolstation. Gridwall backing can be customized with a variety of display fixtures. For example:
- Hooks showcase hanging items
- Shelves support heavier or larger items
- Accessories can be replaced and rearranged for new displays
- Hanging signage can be switched to promote different campaigns
Adding gridwall accessories to mid-floor display stands
Display stands optimize your mid-floor space by upselling smaller items, so it’s important to keep these displays high-converting. One way to do this is to ensure they’re always well-stocked and organized, and gridwall accessories help with this.
In this example by KSF Global for Houdini, the gridwall backing makes it easy to move the hooks around, replace them with new accessories and easily create new displays.
Gridwall display racks
Promotional display racks, like this one created by KSF Global for Games Workshop, can display merchandise more flexibly when paired with gridwall panels.
As you see here, the gridwall backing accommodates hooks, literature holders and shelves, making it easy to create a display that highlights multiple products and boosts cross-sells.
Retail clothing racks
Retail clothing racks must be well organized and accessible to make it easy for customers to browse. The following clothing display examples are perfect for this:
- Garment racks
- Gondolas with end bays
- Wall units with rails
Clothing racks should also make it easy for customers to visualize themselves wearing the garment, which is why mannequins and body forms make great retail fixtures for clothing.
Display units allow you to showcase a range of merchandise within a single, cohesive system. They can be as simple as promotional displays or as complex as bespoke wall cabinets, like these created by KSF Global for Mulberry’s showroom.
Other examples of eye-catching display units include:
- Nested display tables for encouraging interaction
- Gondola units for up- and cross-selling merchandise
- Pop-up shops for creating experiential areas for customers
Revamping your store with creative displays is made easy with slatwall retail fixtures. These feature horizontal grooves that support a huge variety of accessories and customization.
Slatwall retail fixtures can be:
- Pinwheels, which customers can rotate to view additional products
- Four-sided towers, which increase product visibility
- Freestanding units, which are slim and easy to move around
- End-of-aisle displays, which provide more upselling opportunities
Slatwall shelving is particularly popular in retail stores because of its versatility. Being able to reconfigure your displays ensures your store always feels fresh and in-step with new seasons and latest trends.
Merchandise displays attract and entice consumers. In general, there are three types of merchandise displays you should be using:
- Storefront window displays, for luring customers in from the high street
- Showcase displays, for high-value or niche items
- Found-space displays, for optimizing small, empty spaces
Merchandise displays can also be experiential. Incorporating seasonal trends into your displays is a popular way to do this as it makes your store feel more current.
You can also use store fittings to enhance your product displays and make your store immersive. If you own a small boutique, for example, soft lighting, breathable shelving units and seating areas will relax your customers and put them in the mood to buy.
Window displays are the first taste people get of your store, so use this opportunity to show off your best stock, communicate your brand message and drive shoppers inside.
For Maryling’s new store, KSF Global created a window merchandise display that was aligned with the brand’s modern, minimalist aesthetic. Mannequins also presented complete outfits and encouraged customers to envision themselves wearing the garments.
Freestanding merchandise display stands are crucial when you’re running a promotion. Like this one created by KSF Global for Dickies, FSDUs:
- Highlight promotional products
- Reinforce your branding
- Work best in high-traffic areas
- Encourage upsells
Retail furniture can be used strategically to strengthen your brand message, encourage customer interaction and boost sales.
Footwear stools are a great example. These can be branded pieces that invite customers to sit down and try shoes on. When a customer tries something on they’re more likely to buy it, so having furniture that facilitates the try-on tradition is key.
Other types of retail furniture to spruce up your space include:
- Space fillers, like plants, for keeping your store looking full
- Body forms, for presenting clothes, hosiery or accessories
- Mirrors, for making your space feel airier
- Unique decorations that deepen your brand message
- Seating areas, for making your store feel more welcoming
Store Fixture Design and Planning
Store fixture design is an integral element of developing a store concept. In this section, we cover planning a new development, choosing the right fixtures and managing the roll-out program successfully.
How to choose the right store fixtures
When planning a new store marketing project, pay close attention to the store fixtures you choose as these could make or break your retail success.
To find the right store fixture and drive success, you should consider five key areas:
- Floor plan: How does the floor plan of your store inform product placement? The store fixtures you choose should complement your store layout.
- Customer journey: Use your customer journey to inform store fixture placement. If your customers turn right on entrance, optimize this space with a promotional fixture.
- Project exposure: Think about where your products will be most effective and where customers will expect them to be, before selecting store fixtures.
- Window displays: Your window display is your chance to make a strong first impression on customers. Choose store fixtures that communicate your brand, showcase your products attractively, and stand out on the high street.
New store concept development
When developing a new store concept, you need to coordinate and balance your branding needs with your commerce needs. This can get complex when you have several cooks in the kitchen vying for their own creative vision.
To keep your plan laser-focused and well-balanced between creative energy and successful retailing, follow these four steps:
- A basic sketch: Sketch a basic floor plan that addresses the most important aspects, e.g. customer journeys, store objectives and assortment strategies. This ensures all the fundamentals are in place from the get-go.
- Visualize the customer’s journey: Use your sketch to identify the customer journey and decide where to place products, experiential areas, service areas and so on. You want to ensure your store concept is optimized for customer flow.
- Collect insights: Identify the needs of your customers and work these into your development plan. Study other brands to examine how certain strategies work and create a shortlist of best practices for your store.
- Write a retail design brief: Flesh everything out by writing a retail design brief. This should clearly state your goals, previous marketing strategies and design specifications. This will be crucial to staying on budget and fulfilling your vision.
If you’re starting a new retail design project and would like guidance on all the stages and considerations you will have to make, download our free retail design brief template.
How to manage the roll-out program of new store fixtures
While roll-out programs can be complicated, they don’t have to be stressful. Follow these tips to ensure the success of your store fixture roll-out program and keep everything consistent, on-schedule and running smoothly.
- Outline a detailed plan, defining everything from goals to routing schedules. Ensure this is adaptable to accommodate any unexpected changes.
- Ensure there is clear, proactive communication across the entire supply chain. This keeps everyone on the same page and means success for every store location.
- Choose an experienced installation team with proven processes, a portfolio of successful roll-out projects and an ability to anticipate and resolve challenges.
- Make sure you get documentation of all important information to ensure project completion and store compliance.
How to control the costs of logistics and installation for new store fixtures
- Do your research beforehand. Crunch the numbers and set a realistic budget. Then get quotes from different suppliers for an understanding of competitive prices.
- Stick to what you need. Only pay for store fixtures you need. It’s easy to get carried away with flashy fittings. Sticking to your original plan avoids unnecessary costs
- Keep measuring your logistics costs. Do this monthly to ensure you’re on budget. Categorize your costs so you can easily see how much you’re spending in each area.
- Be flexible and communicate. It’s impossible to anticipate everything. Costs may change and you will have to adapt. Establish clear communication channels with the supplier to navigate these changes successfully and help you stay close to the original budget.
How to manage store consistency of franchising networks
Maintaining brand consistency across franchises is crucial to building a connection with your customers. Your local stores should breathe the same atmosphere as your larger stores, and even your online shop should evoke familiarity with your customers.
Ensure your franchisees are well briefed on your brand’s aesthetic and message. Providing training and ongoing guidance will help them feel supported and more connected with your story. You can also use software solutions to centralize all brand collateral.
How to find the right partners and maintain win-win relationships
When looking for a retail design partner who can bring your store concept to life, make sure to do your research so that you find the right partner for you. Here’s what to look for:
- An impressive portfolio that matches your vision
- Specialists in your industry to ensure your needs are met
- The ability to offer the majority, if not all of the services you require
- Competitive, transparent pricing
- A guarantee of the quality of their installations
KSF Global is a trusted retail design company and store fixtures manufacturer that provides a comprehensive range of adaptable and reliable retail solutions. To hear more about what we can do for you, contact us today.