Econowall Blog

Buying kitchen units? Flat pack versus Rigid

shutterstock_119843548 One of the most important things, you need to consider when looking to purchase a new kitchen, is whether you want a flat pack kitchen or a rigid kitchen?  Flat pack kitchens are delivered as components, and require assembling on site, whereas rigid kitchens are delivered fully assembled.

The methods of assembly are different for both.  Flat pack kitchens use the cam and dowel method.  Flat pack kitchen units are held together, using a combination of metal cams and wooden dowels.  Rigid kitchen units on the other hand, are factory assembled using the glue and dowel method.  This involves the components being placed inside a jig.  The jig is used to gently squeeze the components together, and hold them in place until the glue cures.

As with all proven methods of construction, there are advantages and disadvantages for both types:

Advantages of flat pack kitchens

  1. Cost of flat pack kitchen units is typically 10-15% less than rigid units
  2. You can save on assembly costs by building the kitchen yourself
  3. It can be cut down/modified on site if necessary
  4. Equally as solid as a rigid kitchen
  5. Well suited to properties with access restrictions e.g. flats with stairs
  6. You can often make arrangements to collect your kitchen in person

Disadvantages of flat pack kitchens

  1. Metal cams under the wall units are visible
  2. Often have lots of visible holes in the sides of the kitchen units
  3. Viewed by some people as being a “cheap” option
  4. Overall fit time generally increased due to the need for self-assembly

Advantages of rigid kitchens

  1. No visible metal cams on show
  2. Less visible holes in the sides of the kitchen units
  3. No need to assemble meaning quicker overall to fit

Disadvantages of rigid kitchens

  1. More expensive than flat pack kitchens
  2. Unable to cut down/modify on site
  3. Not well suited to properties that have access restrictions
  4. No better quality than flat pack kitchens

Both types of kitchen are equally fit for purpose, and it is often a case of personal preference.  Deciding which one best suits you though will depend largely on two factors – What your budget is, and how much time you have available to put into your new kitchen.

If you have the skills to fit your own kitchen, or know someone that can help, a flat pack kitchen however could be ideal.

Popular Types of Supermarket Shelving and Garden Display Units

shutterstock_108585317 If you are the owner or manager of a supermarket or other retail store, you already know that the shelving is one of the most critical aspects of your store. Naturally, this is where all your merchandize is kept. So, you just don’t need any shelving, but sturdy shelving that optimizes storage space and enhances the ability of customers to view products on display.

But shelving is not all cut and dry. Business owners or managers need specialized shelving based on the items being displayed, organization and flow of the products, and budget limitations. Finding shelving that is durable, installs easily, and offers a significant level of flexibility should not be a frustrating process. There are many different designs, styles, and makes to choose from, depending on the nature of your business.

Garden centre shelving, for instance, requires a display and merchandizing solution with an off-set tiered system that allows all plant products to be clearly visible without being shaded or obstructed by products above. The mesh shelving should also allow easy watering of products while enabling quick drainage, as well. A garden product shelving solution should also be made from durable material or with a galvanized finish to allow for exterior use and keep it from wearing when the plants are watered.

Supermarket shelving, on the other hand, offers a broader range of products, which requires the manager or store owner to take their time to assess all offerings. It would be ideal to have custom made shelving that suits your store’s requirements, but it would be more cost effective to select from the numerous types of shelves that supermarket shelving suppliers have to offer.

There are several popular types of retail shelving available today, including:

Steel Shelving 

This is the most common type of shelving for retail because of its robust durability, inexpensive material, and the ability to be purchased new or used for whatever purpose without warping or collapsing. These shelving systems are ideal for small products, because they are adjustable and very versatile for organizing merchandize in either normal floor units or high-rise shelving systems.

Slatwall Shelving 

Slatwall panels offer exceptional visual merchandizing because they allow you to come up with creative displays that can be noticed immediately. Whether your products are designer gowns or garden hoses, slatwalls offer great organization and orderly presentation, to increase your sales. These panels come in a wide range of colours and finishes, like mirrored and wood grains finishes.

Rack Shelving 

These are durable, boltless, light-duty shelving systems that fit well in small spaces. They are easy to assemble and disassemble, and even go mobile for models equipped with casters. Racking systems are popular for garden centre displays due to their flexibility, which allows the modular components to be re-arranged in a variety of configurations, including curves and circles. Some units have fixtures that are fitted with variable glides that make them applicable on sloping or uneven surfaces.

Wire Shelving Systems 

These are ideal where greater visibility and optimum air circulation are the key requirements. Their popularity can also be attributed to the fact that they do not collect a lot of dust like other units, and are very easy to assemble. While they are not as strong or durable as steel shelving, wire shelving can withstand a lot without becoming unusable fast.

Besides knowing the types of shelving systems, it is important to find a reliable supplier, since they can help you to determine the type of shelves you require, the number of units, and how much weight they can stand.

Shop Fittings for customer satisfaction and Retailing Success

shutterstock_167964623 In the 21st century retail world, keeping your store looking good and as up to date as possible is critical in running a successful business. Without a store that focuses solely on encouraging purchases, it will be difficult for your sales performance to meet your aspirations. Fortunately, you can seek the help of expert convenience store shop fitters to optimize your store.

One of the most essential ingredients for proper product placement and maximizing a store’s profitability is effective and intelligent retail shop fitting. Shop fitters typically keep up with the latest trends in consumer trends and trends so that they are well places to offer their customers with rational, industry specific upgrades or additions that would be advantageous to the store. Professionally done shop fittings allow businesses to make the best use of the space available in the store, immediately resulting in a sales uplift. Even a simple refit of the fixtures and shelving can transform your store and impress your customers.

Shop fitters seek to provide the environment for a definitive retail space. They can work on new stores, changes to layout, refurbishments, complete overhauls with new shelving, signage, refrigeration, display systems, promo ends, and gondolas, or even new product labels and shelf ticket strips. Some of their specialties include:

Space economy

Convenience store shop fitters understand that making the most of the space in your shop is critical for maximizing profitability. Being economical with your store space gives you the opportunity to offer a greater and broader range of products, which ultimately boosts profits.

Proper signage 

It is very important that retailers streamline their store process to create an ideal consumer experience. Signage is one of the critical components of shop fitting that eliminates any obstacles or delays that may prevent a customer, who is looking for a specific product or just browsing the items, from making the purchase. Signage entails proper placement of shelves, fridges, freezers, and aisles to make it easier, faster, and more convenient for customers to locate what they want.

Consumer trends 

Shop fitting and retail merchandizing go hand-in-hand, which is one of the reasons why shop fitters go the extra mile to ensure that they know about all recent patterns in consumer spending. If you have substantial knowledge on your customers, you will be better placed to prudently merchandize your store, serve your customers better, and ultimately boost spending per customer ratios.

Customer satisfaction 

Although shop fitting is only one of the many aspects of successful retaining, your store fittings form the foundation of the in-store experience, and hiring the right shop fitter can allow you attract and retain loyal and contented customers. One of the ways to create a pleasant customer experience is to have an optimized customer route, whereby the consumer is guided swiftly and seamlessly from the store entry to the counters.

When installing shop fittings, their layout is just as important as the type of shelving and display units used. Shop display units are incredibly important since they make your products look visually appealing. Shelved gondolas and glass cabinets and counters look elegant and are always effective as they tend to make products look desirable. This, coupled with great organization, can maximize your everyday, luxury and impulse sales.

A Brief Guide to Slatwall

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Slatwall

Slatwall is a building material used in shop-fitting for wall coverage or display fixtures.  It consists of panels that have been made with horizontal grooves, configured to accept a variety of merchandising accessories.  The panels are made from MDF (medium-density fibreboard), with a finish such as melamine paper, pressed or laminated onto one or both sides.  The grooves are machined into the board, and can be painted or fitted, with either plastic or aluminium inserts.

The History of Slatwall

Slatwall is one of the more “traditional” newer type shop fittings.  Commonly used to build custom shelves, and shelving units, not only is it easy to use, it has a lovely, unique look.  As the Slatwall Panels are made from MDF, they are not only sturdy, but incredibly cost effective.

Where Slatwall is used

Slatwall can be used in a number of different environments, from upscale shop fit outs, to displays within the home.  Whilst this product is often used to make shelves, it can also be used to create solid structures, including ones which are freestanding.

Available Sizes

Slatwall Panels are available in two main sizes.  The most popular size panel is 1200mm x 1200mm (4 feet by 4 feet).  This size panel has 12 slots, each spaced 100mm (4 inches) apart.  Each panel weighs 18kg, and requires half a pack of Slatwall inserts.  This size is not only cheaper to deliver, it is easier to install, especially if you are doing the work yourself.

The other size that is available is 2400mm x 1200mm (8 feet by 4 feet). These panels are great if you are looking to cover a large area, as you get the most coverage, using the least number of panels.

This size panel is obviously heavier, however they do have the added benefit of being able to be used in two different orientations.  If you use them 2400mm high by 1200mm wide (Portrait), you will have 23 slots, each spaced 100mm apart.  If however, you use them 1200mm high x 2400mm wide (Landscape), you will have 1200 slots along the width, with each one being 2400mm long.  Regardless of which orientation you use, each panel will require 1 pack of Slatwall inserts.

Using Display Mannequins to increase retail sales

shutterstock_188504684 Visual merchandising plays a vital role in increasing the sales of any retail store.  It is used to attract, engage, and motivate the customer towards making a purchase, by highlighting the goods features and benefits.

There are many different elements, which are used by visual merchandisers to create appealing displays.  Colour, lighting, space and product information are some of the most common, however digital displays and interactive installations are now also being used.  Another popular merchandising tool are Retail Mannequins.

What are Mannequins?

Retail Mannequins are artificial dolls.  Used to display merchandise, they are available in a range of different shapes and sizes.  They can also be further accessorised with wigs.  They are manufactured using a variety of materials, although the majority are made from fibreglass and plastic.

Fibreglass mannequins are not as durable as plastic ones, but tend to look a lot more realistic.  They are however a more expensive option.  Plastic mannequins haven’t been around as long, however they are proving popular, as not only are they cheaper, they can withstand a lot more customer traffic.

Purpose of Mannequins

Display Mannequins are used to display the latest fashion that the store has to offer. They are used both in the window, and inside the store itself.  Their intention is to influence the customer, to buy the particular merchandise that is on display.  They are also responsible for up selling.

What Is Up Selling?

Display Mannequins not only highlight the current trend, they suggest to the customer other items that can be purchased, in order to achieve the complete look.  This might be done by adding some jewellery to the mannequin, or by placing shoes or a bag at the mannequin’s feet.

Choosing the Right Mannequin

When it comes to selecting a mannequin there are a number of points that need to be considered.  Not only should the shape and size match the target audience, it should be free from dirt and stains.  Clothes should be fitted properly, and using unnecessary pins should be avoided.  Clothes should be changed according to the season, and at regular intervals to avoid monotony.  Placement of mannequins is also very important.  They should never be kept at the entrance or the exit door, as it blocks the way of any potential buyers.  They also must not act as an object of obstacle inside the store itself.

The Importance of Choosing The Right Shop Shelving

slatwall-shop-glass-shelves

Whether you own a shop, or are involved in the running of one, it is important to understand, not only the goods that are stocked, but the manner in which they are displayed.

Goods should be presented in a way that maximises the available space, without over-crowding or damaging them.  Layout should also provide the customer, with an easy journey and experience.

Shop Shelving comes in a number of different guises. Whether it is free standing shelving, or wall mounted shelving that you are after, both are available in a variety of materials.

If you are looking for shop shelving that can withstand heavy items, Slatwall wooden shelves are ideal. Made from 18mm thick material, they are thick and strong.  They also come edged in thick 2mm matching-colour PVC edging.  Unlike the cheap iron-on type edging found on some other wooden shelves, Slatwall PVC edging is applied using an industrial-edge-banding machine.  Once applied, it will last and look good for a long time to come.

If however, you are looking to display lighter items, for example, giftware and ornaments, why not consider Glass Slatwall Shelves.  Made from only the highest quality commercial grade toughened glass, they come complete with polished edges.  With three different sizes available to choose from, these 5mm thick glass shelves give a premium look to any shop.

Whilst however, it is fair to say that shelves remain a popular option when it comes to displaying merchandise, there has been a shift towards other types of shop display equipment being used. This is particularly apparent in supermarkets.  Traditionally, supermarkets have chosen wooden shelving to display their goods, however a number of them, are now introducing chrome look stacking basket display units.

The use of steel basket displays in supermarkets is not a totally new concept, however it has always tended to be free-standing, steel dump baskets that have been used.  Now though, you will often find metal basket style display units, sandwiched between the more traditional wooden style supermarket shelving.  These steel baskets are commonly used to display items that either have a permanent low price point, or are on special offer.

By breaking up the wooden supermarket shelving with these metal baskets, the customer’s eye is immediately drawn to them as they stick out.  In a shiny finish, made from high quality steel, they are easily assembled, and can be used to display almost anything, making them an incredibly versatile option.

Econowall: UK’s 1st choice for slatwall

walnut-slatwall-panel-econo2(1)

Econowall are the UK’s 1st choice for Slatwall Displays.  Based in Essex, Econowall promise to deliver outstanding quality and service, at prices that you can afford.  In addition, they guarantee to price match standard Slatwall panels, Slatwall insert profiles and Slatwall pro trims in the unlikely event, that you find these products cheaper elsewhere.

All of the Slatwall panels sold by Econowall are manufactured in the UK from European grade 18mm MDF.  Econowall never use lower quality imported MDF, so you can rest assured that you will be receiving a quality product.

Slatwall is a fantastic flexible merchandising system offering an instant change to previous decoration.  Versatile, economical and easy to install, Slatwall Displays can be erected in no time at all.

Slatwall panels are available in two main sizes.  They can either be screwed directly to the wall or onto wooden battens.

The most popular size panel is 1200 x 1200 (4 feet by 4 feet).  These panels are manufactured with 12 slots, each spaced 100mm (4 inches) apart.  With each panel weighing just 18kg, not only is this size cheaper to deliver, it is easier to work with.  If you opt for this size panel you will need half a pack of Slatwall inserts.

Alternatively, panels are also available in 2400 x 1200mm (8 feet by 4 feet).  These panels are great if you are looking to cover a large area, as you get the most coverage using the smallest amount of panels.

These panels are obviously heavier, weighing in at 38kg each, however these larger panels, have the added benefit of being able to be used in 2 different orientations.  If you choose to use them 2400 high by 1200 wide (Portrait) you will have 23 slots, each based 100mm apart.  If however, you decide to place them 1200 wide by 2400 high (Landscape) you will have 12 slots along the width, with each being 2400mm long.  Regardless of which orientation you choose, you will require 1 pack of Slatwall inserts.

All Slatwall panels are delivered on pallets.  2400 x 1200 panels are obviously more expensive to deliver, as they require a larger pallet.  When ordering your panels you may however, wish to consider ordering your accessories at the same time.  These items can be placed onto the same pallet when packing, in order to help keep your delivery costs to a minimum.

Alternatively, you can make arrangements to collect your goods from their factory.

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.