How To Improve Customer Experience With Retail Store Fixtures.

Posted on April 11, 2018 by Bud Morris

How To Improve Customer Experience With Retail Store Fixtures.

Posted on April 11, 2018 by Bud Morris

The retail store fixtures you choose say a lot about what you’re offering, impact the customer experience and influence your customers’ perceptions.

Yes, traditional shelves like gondolas are cost-effective.

Yes, shelves work well for high-density merchandising, helping you get more of your products on display and making them accessible to customers.

And yes, your customers will respond to the unique and creative ways you display your merchandise.

But not all shelves, displays and fixtures are the same.

It’s okay to want your retail fixtures to work for you and to display the right products in the right places — to house the product information needed to help inform a customer’s buying decision and to allow for a neat presentation that’ll excite customers.

Before we dive into this topic, keep in mind that there will be a lot to think about when it comes to your store’s overall environment. A few questions that’ll ignite some though include: Are you changing it all or making minor additions with the addition of a fixture here or there? How do you want the fixtures to come together? What kind of a space do you envision with these fixtures?


What is visual merchandising and how can it help display products?

As you may know and exactly as it sounds, visual merchandising is a technique used by retailers to maximize sales, which considers a host of things:

  • Engaging customers with pricing, shelf talkers, offers, ambiance.
  • Effectively utilizing a store’s floorplan to become an authentic showroom.
  • How to display products properly.
  • Promoting the features of products and making them easy to find.
  • Establishing a neat, clean, and aesthetically appealing display to entice customers.
  • And making customers excited enough to go to the cash register.

Designing a new retail floor plan for a small storefront can be a rather large process. However, just by keeping in mind the five primary floor plans (straight, diagonal, angular, geometric, and mixed) you can make your life much easier.

  • Display of product is typically influenced by the product size and packaging.
  • Consider how much of the product needs to be on the shelf to result in the best ROI and cost per square footage (typically known as bin cap).
  • How customers want to shop for certain types of products.

Make your brand prominent to convert those window shoppers to actual shoppers.

You’ve taken the time and effort to create your brand – a personality complete with visual elements like colour – so you need to make sure your store reflects and supports it with the right display elements. In a word: Consistency.

Depending on the type of products you’re selling, the fixtures you choose will be of particular importance. You want to make sure they’re in line with your brand. But at the same time, as you create an experience, you don’t want to detract from what your customers are looking for and making it difficult for them to find what they want. They want to see the products you’re selling and not necessarily the shelves.

Avoid making things look drab: A recent study showed that Canadian shopper’s find in-store displays to be boring.

Inspiration is everywhere. Check out what your competition is doing and how your own customers are interacting with products in your own store for the guidance you need to help improve your visuals displays.

Show it off.

If you want your customers to visualize it, then show them what things can actually look like in a real-world setting.

IKEA is arguably one of the best at doing this. Everything is calculated to the exact detail – how customers maneuver through the store, how products look in environments outside the store (like a fully furnished kitchen complete with tableware on tables or a child’s bedroom with linens and toys), and they create easily accessible ways to get to products.

Selling housewares? Try using retail fixtures to create a kitchen setting where small appliances and other types of housewares can be displayed. Benefits of using retail shelving vs kitchen cabinet is maximized product display – once customers have committed to buy, the box product is right there for the taking.

But don’t fall for the latest fad in retail fixtures. If it doesn’t match the purpose and intent of your brand/product, then it’s not for you. And if that fixture that every other retailer seems to be using has caught your eye, ask yourself this: Will it make my products prominent and stand out with customers?


  • One size fits all is never a suitable approach.
  • Create a good flow that will not derail movement, so your customers can travel throughout the space without getting ‘stuck’ somewhere.
  • Be aware of your store’s building architecture – ceiling heights, overall size, the location of entrances and exits.
  • Decide if you’ll work with existing lighting or add and update.
  • Your store has a story to tell, so keep it clean and concise — it should inform customers about your brand and your product offerings.

If you’re selling, someone better be able to buy. So, make things easy for your customers.

We touched on this point in a previous article, but it’s always worth highlighting: Anything you use to display products (a shelf, a table, a glass case) must be able to engage customers in a very comfortable way. Don’t force your customers to reach up high or step on something to get to a product or force them to bend down to grab something that might be hiding under a table. Save those out of reach spaces for extra stock or empty product boxes used as a display.

Don’t be afraid to make some products more prominent than others.

A change in season.
A limited-time offer.
A huge sale of overstocked products.

Whatever the case may be, there will always be a reason to make some products more prominent than others.

If this happens, you need to make these products stand out with customers. The right lighting, fixtures, and colours will attract your customers’ attention.

If you’re a bit fussy with your budget, then don’t worry. Using a bit of creativity can help you make your retail store fixtures look unique and actually pretty sharp. Add some colour, the right shelf lighting, and a ton of brand personality, and you’ve got yourself displays that can change based on the product being featured and the evolving seasons.

Here’s an interesting look at how to make things enticing even when the budget might be less than exciting: The 9 Best Budget-Friendly Merchandising Displays to Inspire Your Inner Artist.

If you’re taking a budget-conscious approach to outfitting your store, then why not partner with an expert who has the experience with standard fixtures and local businesses? Action Retail Outfitters (ARO), a CBSF sister company, has been helping retailers of any size with their store fixtures and helping them stay competitive.

Retailing is a science, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Using fixtures like gondolas and custom walls and nesting tables will allow you to get the most of your retail space.

  • Lozier Gondola: Accommodate different accessories, can hang almost anything, wall or freestanding models available and use slatwall as a backing option.
  • Custom Wall, Fixtures, and Counters: Great for maximizing space, many compatible accessories to display any product.
  • Nesting Tables: Multi-tiered tables offer a solution for showcasing a variety of products, cost-effective, pleasing to the eye.

Experimenting can also be about using retail fixtures and accessories in different and unexpected ways – like the pic of the hanging shirt in Italy, experimenting with adding temporary colour in the form of paper signage, etc.

Keeping your shopping experience fresh can be a challenge. But there are things to consider – dos and don’ts – that will help you along the way as you continue to experiment with your space and determine what’s best for your brand and customers.

These are some things you can do:

  • Know what makes a great first impression with your customers.
  • Utilize end caps and gondola shelves to promote impulse purchases and generate higher returns.
  • Get to know you customers during their shopping experience, so you can engage with them better.
  • Offer the right products that will establish loyalty with your customers.
  • Label things correctly and make signage prominent – always!
  • Keep in mind that product should always be at eye-level and easy to grab.

And these are a few things that you shouldn’t do:

  • Don’t be messy – an aesthetically appealing space will resonate with customers.
  • Don’t create a tight situation – aisles should be easily accessible.
  • Don’t overcrowd your space with too many fixtures – customers will find it difficult to maneuver.
  • Don’t make your space become stale – change it up once in a while.
  • Don’t use too many styles of fixtures – this will confuse customers and most likely will not be a good reflection of your brand.
  • Don’t create a retail space that’ll be a roadblock for customers – they will make an immediate decision on whether to continue on into your store or to leave quickly the moment they find it overwhelming.

Does it make sense to invest in custom store fixtures?

Your products are amazing. Your marketing is bang on. And you’ve got the right personnel at the forefront of your brand. But it doesn’t end there.

Your customers expect a great shopping experience, so your store needs to match those expectations at every corner. That’s why many retailers now choose to work with custom, turnkey solution providers – design, manufacturing, installation and merchandising.

There are significant benefits to customizing your retail space:

  • Custom manufacturers like us are equipped with the right people, like engineers, designers, and craftspeople, who know how to maximize the efficiency of a retail space and how to create cost-effective fixture solutions.
  • There are various types of materials to choose from – wood, metal, acrylic – so you’re not restricted to a certain type that might not necessarily be best for your brand.
  • Your brand can speak better to your customer – they will engage better with a brand that is consistent and unified with its message and personality.

Need more of a reason to consider the importance of creating a great in-store experience?

A 2014 Point of Purchase Association (POPAI) study revealed that nearly 70% of consumer decision making happens in-store and that the environment is crucial to a store’s success.

And an OgilvyAction study further revealed that the decisions shoppers make, the environment they shop in, what’s sold, and in what country also impacts the decision-making process. One fact claimed that 28% of customers go to a store without having decided on what brand they want to buy, although they know the category of their product.


As the old adage goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. So, don’t be discouraged to know that this will be a work in progress — constantly making changes and updates based on new learnings and insights. Consider it a work in progress that will require a few tweaks as you watch how your customers interact within the space.

“Physical Retail is Not Dead: Boring Retail Is” is another great article that’ll help you understand that retail actually isn’t dead — it’s alive and thriving.

Walk amongst your customers, watch how their shopping experience progresses as they weave through your aisles, and don’t be afraid to interact with them and ask questions.

Your store may have four walls, but there shouldn’t be a ceiling on its potential.

Avoid having your merchandise compete with the fixtures you choose, and you’ll be making sure your products speak loudly and attract shopper attention. After all, everything should work together to help you gain that attention.
Ready to improve your customer experience? Need help with deciding on how to decide which fixtures are right for you? Then we need to talk.