How Custom Shelving Almost Pays For Itself

Posted on November 20, 2019 by Michael Benarroch

How Custom Shelving Almost Pays For Itself

Posted on November 20, 2019 by Michael Benarroch

Smart retailers understand that their retail space, their footprint, is a fixed capital expense and they need to eke out every advantage to make the most of it.

For every retail business, the physical space is something that will either work for or against them.  Too much space and they’re burdened with carrying long term capital assets and expenses, too little space and it affects customer experience and hampers growth. Custom shelving can help retailers customize their shelving according to their needs.

Most retailers find themselves limited for space or having to design their retail environment around strange architectural quirks; the odd support post here, the strange jog there, or overall widths and depths that keep them from fitting in that extra row of shelving.

So while we all face these challenges, understanding that your space is fixed, it’s finite, and it’s a considerable cost, you have to utilize it wisely and make the most of it.  And when considering your displays and retail fixtures, the right shelves will help to maximize shelf-space, set the overall tone and vibe of your store, and they will act as the backdrop to help you stage your space.

The Right Retail Shelving Makes All the Difference.

Whether your space is 14,000 or 2,000 square feet, you have to make the most of it.  And the shelves you use to design your retail floor plan are the foundation for how your space will flow and the backdrop for how you display your goods. Buyers will judge your store the second they walk in (within 7 seconds according to Forbes). And while the power of first impressions is undeniable, let’s not overlook second impressions, or third impressions, or the sense you get browsing the aisles.  

Like all retail displays and fixtures, the shelving itself is a contributing factor for how customers perceive the quality of the store and goods – high quality, clean, well organized, the list goes on. Shelves sell products, plain and simple. Buyers are more likely to purchase something that they can easily find, that is displayed nicely, and that is presented in a shelving unit that aligns with the brand.

The other day I was speaking about this with Bud Morris, CBSF’s President, and he mentioned something in passing that really illustrated the point, “Ten years ago we saw a shift in retail from focusing on revenue per square foot to going all-in on the shopping experience. Of course, the problem is that that experience doesn’t keep the lights on.”  And so despite the shift we’ve seen over the past 10 years, and for good reason, we can’t lose sight of the fact that the main purpose of your retail space, your retail design, fixtures, staff, and yes, shopper experience, is to sell products. We need to stock, display, and sell goods. And so shelving, finding the right fit in terms of specs and materials can have a massive effect on the volume of goods you stock, display, and sell.

Does Retail Shelving Really Impact Sales?

If you don’t believe the right shelving can help sales, certainly there’s a case to be made that the wrong shelving will negatively impact your business, making it difficult for customers to find products, affecting the overall look of your store, and making it harder to stock and display goods. 

When choosing the right shelving for your space, you have to take the constraints of the space (for flow), the products that you are selling (for volume of stock), and the customers that you hope to attract (consider those with mobility issues or those Cadillac strollers). And while standard shelving (that is, shelving that is made in predetermined sizes, materials, and colours) may work for those who have additional space to spare, average goods to display, or a middle-of-the-road brand, custom shelving gives you the freedom to create a retail environment tailored to your space, brand, and goods.

The relationship between shelving and sales has long been studied for years. In 1972 the Journal of Marketing Research conducted a study of the relationship between shelf space and unit sales in supermarkets and a recent study conducted by ACOSTA states that many customers make their purchase decisions at the shelf. 

The shelving itself does have an impact on the overall sales of products. You want shelves that are well made, that are well organized, and that are also going to lend themselves to changing up displays and showcasing those items that sell well and that sell fast.

Do You Need Custom Shelving?

The best way to answer this is purely to look at your needs. If you have a space with design challenges, a high cost per square foot for rent, or tight space, you may want to consider it for those reasons alone.

The cost difference between custom and standard, especially when you consider that you’ll be in your space and using your shelves for 5-10+ years, can be negligible.

Of course, custom shelves give you the ability to custom tailor your merchandising and display 100% for your space, floorplan, sizes, shapes, brand, goods, lighting, graphics, materials, stains, colours, and more.

Custom shelving stands the test of time because it lasts and it is going to give you exactly what you need and want to make the space work, without sacrificing – so you can work in as much shelf space as possible, allow your products to be displayed as needed, and create a brand retail experience that makes you proud to call your own.


At CBSF, the custom shelves and accessories we design and produce come in a wide range of styles and materials. So whether you are looking for custom wood, metal, or acrylic shelving, the possibilities are almost endless. And while it can become overwhelming, we will guide you through the design and build process to get you exactly what you need and want, on budget.  For more information, give us a ring or drop us an email to discuss the details of your vision for your new store.