Econowall Blog

What’s the Best Shop Display System for Flexible Merchandising?

slatwallThink about the range of products you sell in your shop, your changing stock levels, variable seasonal items, perishable goods and the new items that you hope to start selling in the future. They all change over time. In fact, they have to change over time in order to keep your store fresh and to ensure customers keep returning. But constantly changing the items you sell or have on display causes all sorts of issues for merchandising and your display solutions, which also need to constantly evolve.

So all stores require flexible merchandising solutions. Shop fittings, shelving and accessories all need to be refreshed and rearranged over the course of a year, so your display equipment needs to be flexible as well. But how can this be achieved with minimum expense and wastage? How can any one display solution meet all your changing needs?

Well look no further than the ever popular Slatwall panels.

Slatwall displays are the number one choice for shop fitters, designers and owners. The simple system cleverly allows you to change the size of your shelving or style of display accessories in no time at all, and without any obtrusive building work.

Slatwall panels are available in two sizes (1200x1200mm and 1200x2400mm) which can be quickly mounted onto your shop walls. Each panel is built with 12 slots, spaced at 100mm apart, into which inserts are clipped. These inserts then allow you to easily add on to the Slatwall panels any of the many available Slatwall display accessories. These include different size glass or wooden shelves, hooks, clothing rails, sloping arms, baskets and prongs, so it’s possible to exhibit just about anything with Slatwall displays.

And what if you need to add to your Slatwall panels or drastically alter the layout of your store? No problem. Slatwall displays are designed for flexibility, so you can simply add new panels to your walls to expand the surface area for display or rearrange your existing wall mounted Slatwall panels. They can be fixed in portrait or landscape, making them a perfect fit for tight corners and awkwardly shaped spaces.

So it’s easy to see why Slatwall displays are the most popular choice when it comes to flexible merchandising. You only ever need to purchase the accessories that you require for any one display and can add to your collection as and when you need it. Over time, this allows you to build up a comprehensive range of merchandising equipment, perfect for stores with rapidly changing display needs, but without the drain on your budget.

And one final thought, Slatwall displays can be purchased in many different colours and finishes, from wood grain to vibrant colours on the Slatwall panels and a comprehensive range of aluminium, glass, chrome and PVC accessories and trims, so your display system can really reflect your shop branding and aesthetics.

Slatwall Panels: The Customisable Solution

86f7804f06ab8c2e03fdab2d3c94248fLooking for a new shop display system? A customisable solution that you can fit like a pro? Need shelving that is both professional and affordable? Then look no further than the ever popular Slatwall display system.

The Slatwall system is a firm favourite amongst professional shop fitters and shop owners. This is because it’s easy to install and easy to modify, but with a highly professional finish. Very simply, Slatwall panels are attached to the walls (they conveniently come in different sizes) and a whole range of accessories, such as hooks, shelves, baskets and rails, slot into the spaces on the panels. Each panel has 12 slots, spaced evenly at 100mm apart.

Slatwall panels offer a convenient and customisable way to display just about anything. And as soon as your needs change and you wish to alter the layout of shelves, or install baskets rather than rails, for example, you simply remove the fixing and slot a new one in. Not only will this system, therefore, look after the ever changing display needs of your store for years to come, but it allows accessories to be bought in affordable instalments as and when they are needed.

The colours and finishes of the panels, trims and inserts for the Slatwall system are also fully customisable. Slatwall inserts are available in PVC or more heavy duty aluminium depending on what you are planning to store on your shelves. These simply slot into the wall mounted Slatwall panels and click easily into place. Slatwall trims are available in white, grey, cream and black PVC as well as stylish aluminium and fit over the edge of the Slatwall panels to hide the raw MDF. Then with the panels themselves, you can choose from many different plain colours or wood grain finishes to perfectly work with your products, clientele and branding.

And if your store is expanding or undergoing a rapid change, new Slatwall panels are always available to add to an existing display. You can choose from portrait and landscape orientations, making them an ideal fit for even the trickiest of floor plans or tight corners.

But Slatwall isn’t just available in wall mounted panels. Different sizes of freestanding gondolas and towers can be used to create aisles and divide up the shop into organised and manageable areas, making the store more attractive to clients and maximising display space. And of course, these freestanding units can also be customised to match your wall Slatwall panels. You may want to go with subtle and classic wood finishes, or be bold with vibrant and contrasting colours.

The range of accessories has also been designed with the needs of modern stores firmly in mind, so you can purchase shelves in different finishes (including toughened glass) hooks of varying lengths, sloping arms for hangers, clothing rails, chrome baskets and specialist display solutions such as millinery hooks and ball displays.

So whatever it is you need to display, Slatwall is guaranteed to have the answer.

What are the specific display requirements for Supermarkets and Garden Centres?

garden centre shelving

Supermarkets and garden centres are generally large stores that sell a very varied range of products. And fitting out these large areas with the right shop displays and shelving comes with many specific challenges:

  • Large amounts of empty space. Whilst this means the store can display and sell many products, it can be costly due to the sheer volume of supermarket shelving or gondolas needed.
  • Organisation. Getting the right configuration of display units is crucial to a well organised and productive store where customers can easily find, and reach, what they are looking for.
  • A large range of products to display. Supermarket shelving, for example, will need to accommodate the display and storage requirements for many different types of goods, including frozen foods, drinks, fresh produce, dried goods, toiletries and even clothing, furniture and electrical goods. Whilst some garden centre shelving will also need to be fit for outdoor conditions.
  • Store accessories. In addition to the huge range of supermarket shelving solutions, large stores also need a full range of accessories such as baskets, trollies, specialist counters and security systems.
  • Seasonal and changing display requirements. With so many products on offer, large stores have constantly changing display needs and promotions. Garden centre shelving, for example, needs to be flexible enough to accommodate different types of produce depending on the time of year, so the shelving and display systems used need to easy to alter, add to and customise.
  • Supermarket shelving will need to be strong and robust due to the high volume of use it will receive every day, especially if the store is open 24 hours.

So what are the best solutions for supermarket and garden centre shelving and displays?

Obviously, with such a large volume of shelves, baskets and racking needed for so many products, the system used needs to be cost effective as well as versatile. Customisable modular systems that come in a range of sizes, are easy to add to, remove and change over time are a popular solution. Well established modular displays, such as the Slatwall system, come with an impressive range of accessories such as hooks, baskets and rails as well as different colour inserts, trims and finishes, making a truly customisable solution.

Gondolas and free standing units are also a must for large shops to create aisles, divide up the floor space and provide maximum amount of supermarket shelving and organised display space. Hygiene is obviously also important for food outlets, so you need wipe clean and non-corrosive surfaces for all supermarket shelving.

Garden centre shelving presents its own challenges too, needing to be weatherproof for outdoor displays as well as strong and safe for heavy items such as garden furniture and machinery. Timber based shop fittings tend to be popular because they offer this robustness as well as an aesthetic fit for a garden centre, DIY store or plant nursery.

Bearing all of this in mind when designing your garden centre or supermarket displays will help you find the most cost effective and long lasting solution.

The Benefits of Chrome Wire Shelving for Shops and Retail

shop-metal-wire-shelving-1There are many different types of shop shelving solutions for retail environments. However, none are as versatile, flexible or affordable as chrome wire shelving.

The main benefit of chrome wire shelving is that it really can be used anywhere. The freestanding units don’t need a wall for support and come in so many shapes and sizes that even the smallest or most awkwardly shaped shops can be fitted out. The sleek and minimal design is also perfect for customer facing shop displays, as well as for use in storerooms, stockrooms, offices and even domestic applications.

Another advantage that chrome wire shelving has over other shop shelving solutions is that it has excellent ventilation through the shelves and to the sides. This makes it particularly suitable for displaying working electrical equipment that might otherwise overheat, as well as offering a hygienic solution for food, consumables, kitchenware, pet stores or laundry, shoes and clothing. The high quality steel has an attractive mirror like chrome finish that many stores and retail outlets prefer for a contemporary, simple and clean design. The steel surface is also incredibly easy to keep clean and maintain, meaning it will look great for many years to come.

You can choose to build your own chrome wire shelving units from scratch, choosing the size of the base unit (up to an impressive 2083mm) and then choosing which dividers, rails, hooks, sloping shelves or baskets are most suitable. However, as soon as your display or storage needs change, it is easy to purchase different accessories and add to the existing units with an easy to use clip assembly method. Because the units are light and very easy to assemble (they come with everything you need), delivery costs are low and purchases can also be delivered very quickly, so you won’t have to wait to make important display alterations.

Another benefit of chrome wire shelving is how strong and durable the units are. Made from high quality steel, the shelves have a very high load capacity and the strong leg posts make the units safe, secure and well balanced. This makes them the perfect option for free standing shop shelving that customers will come into frequent contact with, as well as for busy stockrooms, where large amounts of items need to be stored and accessed quickly.

The low price point of chrome wire shelving is also an undeniable feature. Smaller units start from just a few pound and because they are a modular system, units and accessories can be purchased gradually and be easily budgeted for. This saves on any large initial outlay and allows you to build your storage, display and shop shelving solutions as your business grows.

So for any type of shop, store or retail outlet, no matter what is being sold, chrome wire shelving is a sensible and attractive option for display and storage, both now and for many years to come.

What are the advantages of Slatwall Displays?

slThe Slatwall system is one of the most popular and well recognised display systems in the world and has been used for many years by a whole range of shops and retail spaces. Well loved by large and small businesses alike, Slatwall displays are the market leader because of their versatility, affordability and ability to be moved and changed with ease.

Designed with the psychology of shopping in mind and to maximise selling potential, Slatwall displays are highly recommended for just about any retail outlet, no matter what products are being sold.

If you are considering changing to the Slatwall system, here are just some of the advantages:

  • Slatwall panels can be used to display just about anything, from shoes and clothes, to food, books or toiletries. This is because once the panels are installed, you can purchase a vast range of shelves, hooks, baskets and other accessories that easily clip into place.
  • The Slatwall fixtures are quick and easy to move, so you can change displays as often as you need and get creative with the best way to showcase products.
  • Slatwall displays come in a range of finishes, from bold colours to subtle wood grains and everything in between, so they are fully customisable to suit the look of your store and appeal to your target market. There are also many different inserts and trims to choose from, so updating the look of your panels is easy and affordable.
  • One of the many reasons why Slatwall displays are so popular is how good they are at utilising space, even in the smallest or most awkwardly shaped shops. The panels can be fitted just about anywhere and allow products to be displayed from floor to ceiling or in tight corners. Freestanding Slatwall Gondolas can also be used in the middle of larger stores, creating more wall space to display items from.
  • Slatwall displays allow maximum stock to be on display, yet still keeping the shop neat and tidy. This can really help with maintaining stock inventories, prevent items getting forgotten in stock rooms and helping customers to see the full range of products clearly when they enter the store.
  • The Slatwall panels themselves come in different shapes, sizes and orientations, so there is always a perfect coverage solution. Smaller panels are also a good option for tight budgets as the panels can be easily installed if doing the work yourself and are cheap to deliver.
  • Made from high quality MDF, Slatwall displays are also durable, easy to maintain and clean, so will look good for many years after installation. And with all of the different accessories, you can keep your displays fresh and up to date at all times.

So it’s easy to see just why Slatwall is the number one choice for shop fitters and designers. It’s easy to design and install, so speak to a specialist provider today and start seeing the benefits in your store.

The Importance of Display Mannequins for Retail Outlets

adult-male-mannequin-1219For any shop or retail outlet that sells clothing, shoes and accessories, one of the most important things to get right is the display. Without a good display, both in the window and throughout the store, clothing can be hard to sell. When laid out flat, folded on shelves, or hidden away on hangers, customers find it hard to get an appreciation of fit, styling and details and won’t be drawn into the shop by exciting window displays either.

But when worn on display mannequins, customers can instantly understand not only how a garment fits, but how it can be accessorised and how it will work with their daily life. Retail mannequins are aspirational as they show off clothes in the best possible way and designers can fit the clothing perfectly to show off detailing and cut.

Therefore, having good quality retail mannequins that show off the clothes all around the store will go a long way to boost sales, make customers aware of everything that’s on sale and tempt impulse purchases. The same is also true for retailers who sell online. Photographing clothing on display mannequins rather than just on a hanger or laid out on the floor really helps to bring life to the garments and will certainly help to generate sales.

But getting the right retail mannequins is also important. It goes without saying that you need good quality display mannequins with an accurate shape. Fibreglass is generally the best option because it is durable, can be purchased in a range of colours and finishes and is also light to make handling easier. You will also need to decide on the style of mannequin, from full body models to just legs or torsos depending on the display you are designing and the type of clothes you sell. Retail mannequins also come in child models as well as the traditional adult male and female display mannequins and you can select from a range of poses, such as sitting, standing or even shaped as if mannequin is playing a sport.

The golden rule to remember when searching for display mannequins is to always remember what it is you are trying to sell and your target audience. The purpose of retail mannequins is to make the clothing look as good as it possibly can, so choose complimentary colours and be sensible with the finish; super shiny mannequins will work brilliantly to show off some types of clothes or jewellery, but a matt finish might be a more sensible option for more natural or business related styles of clothing, for example. And once you have chosen your style of mannequin, you can further customise with wigs and other accessories.

Retail mannequins really can help transform a boring clothing and accessories display and allow your designers to get creative with your stock and tempt buyers to spend more money. They are a truly essential part of any clothing outlet.

Are all Slatwall Panels the same?

plain-mdf-slatwall-panelsAs all experienced shop fitters, shop owners and retail designers know, Slatwall panels are the very best solution for versatile and attractive shop walls and displays. Quick and easy to install, the Slatwall system can cover even the biggest of walls and offers adaptability through an extensive range of easy to add shelves, hooks, brackets, baskets, arms and hangers that can be regularly changed to meet display needs.

The Slatwall panels also come in a vast range of finishes, from natural wood grains to bright colours and even mirrored panels, along with different coloured trims and inserts, so you can fully customise the design and branding of your shop. And it’s even possible to fit Slatwall panels yourself if you prefer, without needing an installer.

So Slatwall displays really are the industry recognised go-to shop fitting solution that offers value for money, the best wall coverage and a superior range of display solutions. But when purchasing Slatwall panels, it’s important to remember that they are unfortunately not all the same.

Many Slatwall panels sold in the UK are manufactured cheaply outside of the EU. These panels do not have to meet the stringent standards and testing that UK made panels face, so quality and durability can’t be guaranteed. To avoid this problem, it is always advisable to use a Slatwall supplier who deals solely in UK manufactured products, using the best European grade MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard). By doing so, you can rest assured that the products you are purchasing for your business will have a long life expectancy and be able to stand up to the rigours of shop display and heavy items.

When shopping around for Slatwall panels, you should always be able to visit the supplier and look at their products if you wish as well as read reviews and testimonials. This will give you peace of mind that you are buying good quality products from a reputable source. And a reputable shop fitter and Slatwall supplier will always be willing to talk to you about the origins of the wood they use and confirm that they meet the high UK manufacturing criteria.

Don’t be tempted by cut price panels that don’t meet UK standards, such as those made by lower quality Chinese MDF. These panels and shelves may start to deteriorate quickly, look shabby and break easily, which could endanger stock, employees or customers and mean you having to fork out for an entirely new Slatwall system.

So for peace of mind, choose wisely and always buy UK manufactured MDF Slatwall panels, display units, shelving and accessories. The difference will be instantly clear.

If you are unsure of the sizes you need or how exactly the Slatwall system will work or look in your store, talk to your chosen supplier. They will be able to offer expert advice as well as a full design and installation service if you would prefer every stage to be handled by a skilled professional.

The Origins of Slatwall

white-slatwall-panelsSlatwall is essentially shaped and coated MDF board with grooves that have been routed in a parallel horizontal direction.  These grooves are then inserted with either aluminium or coloured plastic sleeves to give the MDF board added strength.  This solid panel design makes it ideal as a wall system to hold hooks, racks, rails and storage bins.  Its variety of colours means that it can be used almost anywhere, as a complimenting or contrasting shelf system, and yet it is sturdy enough to hold glass shelves.  Slatwall is also historically used as the underlying structure of chests of drawers, bookcases or any furniture that requires regimented shelving.  But where did Slatwall come from?  Who gave the world this unparalleled flexibility, this design icon?

Well, we can thank a certain Mr. Graham of Claremont in California since it was he who invented and patented Slatwall for the retail industry in 1966, although he called it Article Display Board.  His patent described his invention as “relating to display boards or panels and more particularly to an article display board for hanging saleable merchandise, household articles or other items for display or utilitarian purposes”.  It is thought that his inspiration came from old-fashioned peg board displays. However, Mr. Graham very quickly gave up on the idea of enforcing his patent, since any cabinet shop or retail fixture manufacturer could fabricate Slatwall (albeit initially only by an arduous and time consuming process) and, in the late 1970s, a company called Custom Wood Interiors started a division to manufacture and market panels they called Spacewall out of a factory in Tampa, Florida.

Slatwall, as it became known, became very popular for retail display and, by the early 80s, more companies began specialising in its manufacture.  Demand for Slatwall spurred on the development of high speed production machines and diamond tooling and, today, a standard Slatwall panel can be manufactured in less than a minute.  The product has been marketed under a number of trade names over the years, such as Shutterwall, Slotwall, Displaywall and Slatboard but Slatwall has become the most recognised brand, and this is surely borne out by the fact that Google doesn’t attempt to correct Slatwall with a “Do you mean…?”.

Slatwall is one of the most versatile retail fixture components.  Incorporating Slatwall into perimeter walls and fixtures gives incredible flexibility of display options for almost any type of merchandise. It can accommodate shelves, hooks, hanging rails, sloping arms, baskets and more.  And with a wide range of finish options, it can work in almost any retail environment: everything from kiosks and corner shops to large department stores.  Slatwall panels are also available in different sizes, with different slot spacing options and with different slot widths.

In recent years, Slatwall has even found its way into the garage shelving and wardrobe organisation markets and can be made of resin or plastic.  But that is the beauty of Slatwall, it is infinitely customisable and sturdy, yet gives a professional enough finish that it can be used anywhere.

The Psychology of Shop Shelving

slatwall-shop-shelves-allThe shelf is a pretty fundamental component of the retail experience.  It allows retailers to display their products and encourage sales.  And that’s it.  A shelf is a flat surface that shop owners put things on.  Specifically, things they want to sell.  A shelf is just a shelf, right?  Wrong.  Retail experts realised long ago that psychology plays a role in customer behaviour and this has led to the formulation of effective floor plans and shop shelving layouts.  Shops nationwide use the same basic layout principles to create a “flow” to their stores that keep customers moving efficiently through the aisles and spending money.

Supermarkets layouts certainly aren’t random.  They’re a carefully designed territory with psychological triggers that prompt specific responses in customers.  Whilst the stores are designed to give customers a pleasant shopping experience there are, in the background, subtle design features that are calculated attempts to get the customer to spend more money.  The placement of products on supermarket shelving hasn’t been left to chance either.  Generally, the most expensive items with the highest profit margins are placed on the shelves at customers’ eye level, although supermarkets sometimes put their special offers there to entice shoppers into buying.  Items that complement each other, such as pasta and pasta sauce, are often placed side by side on shelving, to encourage a customer to buy more.  You will often find that own brand cheaper range goods are placed on the bottom of supermarket shelving, and in bland packaging, so it’s harder to spot. And, long ago, supermarkets hit on the idea of placing essentials such as bread and milk at the back of the shop, to make people walk past many other items and heightening the possibility of impulse buys.

Garden centres work on very similar principles, although case studies have shown that correcting the poor retail layout of a garden centre can have much more of an impact on sales figures than for that of a supermarket.  Shelving and displays also have to cope with an incredibly diverse range of goods, in terms of shape, size and weight.  Everything from gardening gloves and packets of seeds to bags of compost and huge terracotta containers, all have to be accommodated on garden centre shelving. Garden centres do have one big layout advantage over supermarkets and that is of far more flexibility in their methods of display and layout.  In supermarkets, all displays are pretty much a variation on the theme of supermarket shelving and racking, everything arranged along neat aisles.  In garden centres, there is shelving, of course, but there are also benches, tables, and the option of hanging items such as baskets from the ceiling.  Whilst there will be pathways “controlling” customer flow, it is more about creating a “feel good” ambience to encourage sales and the layout will feel slightly less prescribed.

Whatever the retail environment, psychology is crucial to customer manipulation and none of us is completely immune.  The only way to survive a trip to the shops is to keep your wits about you.  Or stay home and shop online.

Shop Fitters to Redesign your Convenience Store

Barwell 5Have you ever considered running your own Convenience Store? A recent study by the Association of Convenience Stores found that “having the day to day essentials available within a ten minute walk of home was the most important driver of satisfaction” by a staggering 76 per cent of the people surveyed. Whilst, the larger supermarket chains may be useful for the weekly shop, convenience stores play an important role in the stocking up of day to day essentials. If you are considering setting up your own Arkwright Empire the survey found that around 10 million Britons visit convenience stores daily to stock up!

Contacting your local council or local estate agent might be the best place to start. You need to consider carefully location. What estates or area is your shop going to serve? Who are your clientele? What are their needs as a community? What are they likely to buy?

Once you have leased the property, the crucial part is considering the purchase of shop fittings. You need to consider the layout which will include display shop fittings and counter from which you will sell your wares. What atmosphere do you want to create in your shop: Small and friendly, or big and well stocked with a range of everyday essentials?

Once these initial decisions are made regarding your vision for the Convenience Empire you are creating, you need to ensure you hire experienced and knowledgeable Convenience store shop fitters. A good company should be able to assist you in choosing eye-catching and carefully thought out shop fittings that will draw in your customers.

The experienced Convenience store shop fitters will manage your project from design to completion. Look for shop fitters who are able to also carry out any building work should it be required and can deal in retail electrics. The company may also provide a commercial plumbing service. Knowledgeable companies should also be able to recommend or deal with the sourcing of retail equipment and display shop fittings, ensuring they are tailored to your requirements.

Next on the agenda is stock. The modern convenience store can trace its humble origins back to the grocers of the pre-supermarket era. Key to success is stocking a wide range of food and household items on a smaller scale than the supermarket. Think mini-market. Popular items with convenience store users are inevitably cigarettes, alcohol and newspapers. With the decline of the local Post Office, sometimes convenience stores can be the lifeline of the community, providing bill paying services like Pay Point, acting as a parcel or mail distribution agent, offering a faxing and copying service, or if creating a sufficient turn over can even provide a cash machine or cash back service. When you consider what service you will aim to provide your customers with you should consider how the layout and shop fittings will lend themselves to such endeavours.

With 10 million of us visiting Convenience stores in the UK daily: running one could be an exciting and lucrative challenge!