One of the most important decisions you can make as a retailer is choosing the right fixtures for your merchandise. The owner of a gift shop will have very different fixture needs than someone who runs a clothing boutique, but both retailers can create a more engaging shopping experience if they use the right mix of hardware.
When selecting the best fixtures for your store, consider two things: your floor plan and your merchandise. Paco Underhill, author of Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, discovered that shoppers who are bumped from behind by other shoppers while browsing fixtures often abandon the rack they are browsing, passing up on a potential purchase. So choosing racks that work with your floor plan is essential. Pair that with this information on the different types of freestanding fixtures to create the right displays for your store.
Clothing and apparel stores should use two-way and four-way racks. These racks display the merchandise facing out, allowing customers to get a good look at the product before removing it from the display. These freestanding fixtures are both easy to interact with and durable to withstand frequent hands-on browsing.
One thing to keep in mind: The biggest mistake made with two- and four-way racks is overcrowding. These fixtures rely on their display factor and ease of interaction to sell product — don’t rely on them to hold large amounts of inventory.
Another freestanding fixture made for apparel stores is the round rack, or rounder. These racks hold clothing sideways, which reduces visibility but allows for more product storage. Rounders require more space around them so shoppers can remove individual items to see them.
Retail stores that sell small items in bulk — pet stores, craft stores, toy stores, vitamin shops, etc. — should invest in freestanding shelving fixtures, like gondolas, for showcasing their grab-and-go items that customers shop for on their own. According to a retail case study conducted by Underhill’s Envirosell, a consumer behavior research and consulting firm, a high frequency of grab-and-go purchasing is associated with products that are routinely purchased and easy to shop for. That means your gondolas will perform best for you if they are well stocked and neatly organized so they meet high demands and are easy to interact with.
Display cases are wonderful for highlighting products, but they don’t enable customer interaction. Because of this, it’s extremely important to showcase display case products to their fullest potential to gain customers’ attention. To do this, prop up products to allow 360 degrees of visibility — try using a jewelry bust to hang a necklace and matching earrings and then place clear risers adjacent to layer bangles on. You could also surround your products with mirrors and add accent lights to help spotlight merchandise.
Tabletop displays are like the open-air version of display cases, encouraging touch-and-feel shopping. They’re great freestanding fixtures for introducing your customers to new products, since they naturally invite interaction. If you’ve got new inventory to display or products that look best when held up or tried on, use tabletop displays to showcase them.
Modulars are customizable fixture systems best suited for specialty retail stores with a small footprint and lower inventory levels. The benefit of modulars is that you can mix and match individual units for a completely new display without investing in additional hardware. The drawback is that individual units are usually small and can’t afford a lot of space for stock inventory. If you’ve got a diverse product line that requires considerable display space, don’t invest in a modular system.
Choosing the right mix of fixtures can be the key to your retail success. Invest in options that complement your product mix and fit your floor plan. When you use the right type of retail display fixtures, your products have the ability to sell themselves.