Store Planning Is Easy With Indoff Store Fixtures and Equipment

Opening a store is all in the details -  lots of details. With Indoff Store Fixtures and Equipment on your team, opening and operating a retail store has never been easier!

Indoff SF&E can assist you with store design, planning, fixturing, merchanding hardware, and back room equipment.  We have thousands of products available to give your store that unique look that will draw your customers into your store.

Indoff SF&E features quality equipment from :

  • Anthro Workstations
  • BAW Acrylic Displays
  • Madix Store Fixtures
  • Mecalux Material Handling
  • Handy Store Fixtures
  • FFR
  • Versa-Cart MFG
  • Lakewood Mfg.
  • Tri-Boro Mfg.
  • Nashville Wire Display
  • The Big Basket Company
  • Howard-McCray Refrigeration Equipment
  • McCue Bumpers
  • Vintage View Wine Racks
  • And much, much, more...

Buying from Indoff SF&E is easy too!  Register today at http://storefixturesandequipment.indoff.com for new product information, store planning tips, and trends in todays world of retail.  Our online catalog is available with new products added everyday. Each registrant will also receive a free 435 page material handling equipment catalog by mail.

Need a quote now? Contact Joe Solinsky @ 410.494.4598 or at Joseph.solinsky@indoff.com.  Indoff offers net 15 day credit terms with approved credit. $1,000.00 instant credit on initial orders.  Visa, Mastercard, and American Express is also accepted. Long term leasing arrangements through Indoff Capital is also available.

Joseph Solinsky, with over 25 year experience in store planning & fixturing is also available coast to coast for design consulting & site visits.  Please contact Joe at the above number to schedule an appointment.



When The Going Gets Tough - The Tough Starts Selling

In the popular media we are reading almost daily of warnings of a downturn in the retail sector.  A downturn pushed by the home mortgage crisis as well as the soaring price of fuel, food, and just about everything else.  If this pessimissim has translated into slower sales at your store there are a few practical things that you can do to turn the tide and get your sales plan on track.   Author Charlotte- Dennis Jones of the British trade jounal Retail Week wrote recently that; " The only way to keep ahead of the pack is to help your store staff persuade cutomers to part with their cash. Focusing on customer service has never been more important.".  Many retailers, especially the larger chain stores staff operate on a payroll formula that empties  the sales floor of sales clerks  when business slows a bit.  This leaves the remaining clerks harried  and short tempered  as well as the customers frustrated having to wait for assistance .    Try to keep staffing levels flexible to meet the demand at your peak traffic times of the day.

Is your store as clean and stocked as it could be?  Nothing is more of a customer turn-off than a dirty store with empty shelves.  Remember to keep your endcaps fresh and well stock. Take advantage of vendor promotions and point of purchase selling programs when offered.  It also might be the perfect  time to cut lines of merchandise that are not selling and replace them with new in lines that will sell.


Some Basics Of A Sucessful Retail Store

Every budding enterpreneur has aspirations of being the Next Big Thing or at the very least making a living and putting a little away for retirement.  The following are some points to consider as you are putting together your business plan.

  • Location, Location: A good location will bring visibility and traffic to you door despite being weak in some of the other fundamental of running a brick and mortar store.   A lease on a store is a major commitment of time and money.  A bad location will sink you despite having all the other basics in place. No customers! No Sales! No Business! Make sure you understand your target customer demographics and compare them with the demographics of the community that you want to open in. For example you would not want to open a surf & skateboard shop adjacent to a large active retirement community where a golf & tennis shop would attract more customers.  Look at many locations in a particular location and look at the adjacent businesses .  Are they thriving? Or is there a lot of vacancies in the shopping center. Ask the broker about traffic flow studies, parking, demographics. Parking is important in our mobile society because if there are not enough parking spaces at your center, customers will get discouraged and go elsewhere. Talk to the other merchants and listen to what they have to say about their relationship with the landlord.  Some may be frank and candid. What they tell you could avoid making a costly mistake.
  • Lease Terms: Rent is a major monthly cost against sales.  Because a lease is a binding contract hire a qualified attorney to help you understand the terms of contract and negotiate on your behalf. Everything is on the table during negotiation: rent, tenant improvements, utilities, maintanence of common areas, signage, ect.. Play hardball but be willing to compromise if the location is truly a gem.
  • Advertising and Marketing: Develop a budget to build an aggressive advertising/marketing campaign to get the word out that you are open for business. Work with local radio and print media to promote a grand opening campaign. Don't forget about web marketing. Who uses the local yellow pages any more?  Many people just use a web search engine such as Google.  Understand how a search engine like Google works, develop a web site and blog as an other public facet of your brick and mortar location.   A successful e - commerce site can bring cash into the business while foot traffic builds.
  • Sales Clerks: As a retailer, you are only as good as the least of your employees.  Often the weakest employee is the last person to have contact with your customer and who often will leave a lasting impression of your store.  Customer will talk of their shopping experiences to their friends and neighbors. Don't underestimate the power of word of mouth goodwill by leaving a negative impression of your store. Choose your hires carefully and train them in the products you sell and the art salesmanship.
  • Pricing and Merchandising: Know your competition and how are they are merchandised and priced. If you are too low, you won't generate enough gross profit to cover expenses. Too high and you will drive your customer to the competition.  As you study the competition, understand what they are selling. Is there a competative brand or niche product that could draw customers away from the competition?  Knowing customer and their need, the product, the pricing, and the competition is the essence to being a successful merchant.  This is a knowledge base that you will have to build yourself. Your distributors and vendors ( who are selling to your competition too ) will tell you what you want to hear to make the sale.  However, don't entirely discount your vendors and do take advantage of any discounts or promotions they offer if they make sense for your business. But take what they say with a grain of salt.
  • Store Design: A well thought out, designed, and fixtured store creates a comfortable environment that will attact customers.   It will be much more successfull that stores that are thrown together in a hodge-podge fashion.  Even the most plain vanilla of floor-plans and white,grey, beige gondola fixtures will come to life with colorful and eye-catching point of purchase displays, shelf talkers, and banners. A good visual merchandising make-over is like a trip to the beauty salon. the end result is wow!  Often for much less money that a store re-model.

For fresh store design ideas, attractive fixtures, and retail equipment to wake up your customers and give your store some POP! Please contact Joseph Solinsky by telephone at 410.494.4598 or at joseph.solinsky@indoff.com.  I am always delighted to assist you.  


Community Identity Drives Store Design

The following is an excerpt from the current Retail World magazine concerning a speech given the The Retail World Congress going on now in Barcelona, Spain. This excerpt is concerning the concept of community and it's affect on store design.

"In a debate on store design trends, Fitch chief creative director Tim Greenhalgh said shoppers are looking for places where "you can go and feel comfortable, rather than just somewhere you go to shop."

Paul Lechleiter, chief executive of US based FRCH Design Worldwide, concurred. "People want to belong to something bigger," he said. "A sense of community can guide people and create an identity."

Lechleiter highlighted how US retailers are focusing on connecting their brand with their customers. He identified social consciousness, the provision of style for less and adventure and thrill as three of the key themes in the market.

Greenhalgh explained how a new generation of consumers are looking towards what he called generous brands that give something back to shoppers and to the wider community.

He believes that grocery retailing of the future would be defined by "rituals", most notably what he called "the ritual of bringing food alive" through how it is merchandised in store."

The design insights I gleaned from these statements are that shoppers want to shop in a store enviroment that is comfortable and where fellow consumers of like tastes and attitudes will do the same. The astute merchant wants to brand his/hers store with the community that is serve. This includes Knowing your customer, listening to what they want and looking for the underlying need - goods or services that is in demand for that community. No matter if it is organic products, "green" products, or whatever. All in a store environment that the shopper can identify with or call their own.

Consumers also want to shop in a store that in visually exciting to be in ( this mean circus as well a just bread ). Shoppers want to be entertained as well as educated as to what to buy.

Store brand identification does not have to involve product. Supporting and promoting a popular local charity or civic cause goes a long way in building good will in your store.


Looking for assistance in building your store brand and image? Contact Joseph Solinsky @ joseph.solinsky@indoff.com or at 410.494.4598. I will help you identify your strengths and develop them into a store format that will build traffic for your store




Keep Your Endcaps Looking Fresh & Profit Margins Up!

End Caps are those short sections of gondola shelving,  bulk racking, or even a bulk flat that finish off the end of the aisles of merchandise.  Often time they are filled with seasonal merchandise or merchandise that is hard to fit on the shelves in other parts of the store. The back end caps are the most neglected shelves in the store half empty with odds and ends and often bare of goods to sell.  If this describes the condition of your store, valuable profit dollars are evaporating in thin air and not going through your register.  Endcaps are prime real-estate and are the 1st items your customer see's as he or she is going down the aisle or entering a department.   In many stores endcaps are often used for the weekly promotional items on sale.  However for the savy merchant the endcap should  be used to promote  and  feature items or categories of merchandise that are at a higher margin.  Seasonal or holiday merchandise make great endcaps as well as items that tie in or cross sell with merchandise categories in that department. And tie -in or cross sale merchandise are perfect items to stimulate impluse sales.

The savy merchant puts high demand categories of goods in the rear and corners of the store and creatively merchandise each end cap so the customers will be enticed to buy as they walk through the store.

Visual Merchandising is Key

Boxes on a shelf, or bulk stack and cards on peghooks does not instantly make a creative endcap. To create interest, each endcap should be decorated with sharp P-O-P artwork , shelf talkers, and signage that catches your eye and imagination.  This is especially true for holiday or seasonal merchandise with a short shelf life.

Rotation, Rotation, Rotation

If your customers visit your store at least once a week that is at minimum 52 trips to your store a year. That is 52 opportunites to introduce your customer to more of the goods you have to sell and they need!  Byy changing and rotating your endcaps your store will look fresh and up -to- day each and every time your customers enter the store.  One of the  fundaments of store planning is that customer spend more in stores that are an comfortable and attractive environment to shop in. Rotating your endcap will help keep your store fresh and interesting.

Planning a new store or remodel -  or just looking for fresh merchandising ideas? Contact Joseph Solinsky at 410.494.4598 or at joseph.solinsky@ indoff.com.  I will be delighted to assist you.

Visual Merchandising To Maximize Sales

In the end we are all visual beings.  I hear time and again from friends, family, and associates " Don't tell me how do it -  just show me!".  I guess this is just human nature or a statement of our time-pressed society.  People today do not have the time or patience to read, research and do their due diligence.  Shoppers are drawn  to displays and merchandise presentations that are attractive as well as informative.   Proper visual merchandising and space allocation makes it easy for your customers to buy  - and make impulse purchases. Always good for the bottom line.

Space Allocation to Maximize Profits

Customers buy more when the products they are looking for are easy to find. Two techniques in making your store more shoppable are allocation of space and location with the store.  Merchandise with the best exposure and the most allocated space on the proper store fixture will sell more.  In allocating space  - prime selling floor square footage or shelf linear footage should be given to those merchandise departments and categories that generate the most profit.   Receiving, backroom or pre-sales areas of the store need to be efficiently designed to give more square footage of the total store footprint to selling yet enough pre-sale storage space to prevent stock-outs.   Choosing the right store fixtures to merchandise and display your products will maximize space utilization with in your store. 

Planning a new store or remodel?  Contact Joe Solinsky for expert store planning/ design and store fixtures.  I can be reached at 410.494.4598 or at joseph.solinsky@indoff.com


Global Shop 2008 Re-Cap

Global Shop 2008 is history and my feet are still killing me.  For those who did not attend, the event was held at McCormick Place West, March 18th  -  20th in Chicago.  The scope of the show was huge  -  encompassing store fixtures, P-O-P visual merchandising, flooring, lighting, technology, marketing, construction & and in-store services .  It truely ( following my tips ) took a good two days to review 85% of the show. I know that I did not see everything. The following are my top 10 highlights that caught my eye as I walked the floor.

  1. Madix Store Fixtures -  Always on the forefront of design & style Madix Store Fixtures has developed a gondola back panel that is translucent & illuminated.  They also have low votage LED under shelf lighting that brightens the shelf with out obstructing view of the merchandise and it does not fade fabrics.
  2. Uniweb -  a unique all metal system which is similar to slatwall but in which merchandise can be more tightly displayed  along a vertical/horizontal  surface than pegboard, gridwall, or slatwall.
  3. Samaritan Display Group -  Gondola displays that can be changed in the field into a variety of possibilities.  Perfect for seasonal merchandising to change the look with out changing the base fixtures.
  4. FFR - More display merchandising accessories under one roof than there are stars in the universe!  If FFR does not make it  -  they have not invented it yet.
  5. Gorrilla Rack - Wide-span back room storage racks that can be fixed or put on their mobile aisle system to maximize backroom storage.  I am amazed that you can build a mezzanine system with Gorrilla Rack's  slotted angle shelf system.
  6. Easy Shopper Lite -  A greener alternative to the disposible plastic shopping sack.   These saleable & foldable totes can clip to the inside of a shopping basket for all your groceries. They come in six colors and can be screened with your store's logo.  Master packs of 60 comes in a cardboard P.O.P merchandiser.
  7. Easy Cooler& Easy Freezer - Same as the Easy Shopper Lite but insulated for cold / frozen foods
  8. Versa-Cart-  Metal/plastic totes and baskets for customers and stock handling. Customer totes and baskets can be powder coated in a variety of colors and screened with your company logo.
  9. Galt Display manufactures specialty merchandisers those hard to merchandise categories like rugs, tiles, posters. The racks come in a variety of configurations and finishes to complement your store interior.
  10. Anthro manufactures POS carts, inventory carts, and cashwrap carts that are easy to manuver as a shopping cart.  Available in a variety of configurations and finishes.

Keep this page bookmarked to this blog for updates and more information on these and other display and design ideas exclusively for the retailer.  For a quote or to schedule a consulation, please contact me at joseph.solinsky@indoff.com or at 410.494.4598.


Global Shop 2008 - Tips For Walking The Show

Global Shop 2008 is just around the corner.  This years event is back at Chicago's massive McCormick Place on the lakefront. It is being held on  Tuesday March 18th - Thursday March 20th. As in years past the floor will be packed with exhibitors & attendees.  There are conferences, seminars, and an awards dinner. through out the show.  Topics are  on issues facing different segments of the industry for the coming year.  Most of these special events require pre-registration prior to the show.  I think most people who are in the market for or professional buyers of store fixtures are here for the vendor exhibits.  The following are some tips from experience  to do the show with out wearing yourself out.

The floor is divided into different sections: store fixtures, visual merchandising, P-O-P displays, ect.  so you can focus on your specialty with-out walking the entire floor looking for a vendor that interests you.

  • Plan attending the show for two days, minimum.  Depending on what your needs are you may want to spend all three days. If the list is long, break up the shopping list among your associates. 
  • Develop a shopping list of the items that you are interested in and prioritize it.
  • Print out the list of exhibitors & show floorplan that shows the booth locations.  Mark on the floorplan the booths of the exhibitors that are a must see.  Also mark on the floor plan your entrance location as a point of reference.  The hall is huge and it is easy to get disoriented among the booths and crowds.
  • Prior to the show , call your must see vendors and let them know you are coming. Make an appointment to see them at the show. 
  •  If your top vendors value your business relationship with them, they might invite you to their hospitality suite or take you out for drinks or dinner after the show.  Hey - a free meal is a free meal when you are on a budget unless your company policy forbids meals from vendors.
  • Unless you have seminars scheduled, day #1 of the show should be spent walking and getting an overview of the exhibitors  - and especially of items that interest you. You will spend a lot of time walking.  Do not spend a lot of time on chit-chat.
  •  If something really catches your eye, have the booth attendant scan your badge to have literature sent to your office. 
  • If it is a potential key vendor that you may want to do business with , make an appointment to see them on day #2.
  • Day #2  -  #3 should be spent on follow up visits with vendors that catch your eye and seeing the rest of the show that you missed on day #1. And remember that vendors will follow up with you after the show if you scanned your card at their booth.

Have a good show!


Fixture Layout & The Effect on Traffic Flow

How "shoppable" is your store? Does your customers spend time browsing in the aisles or are are they in and out in a flash with their purchase?  Or perhaps no purchase at all?   The goal of a good floor plan is to direct traffic flow through the farthest reaches of your store.  The more time the customer spends in your store, the more exposure the customer has to the merchandise for sale.  The more exposure to the merchandise, the greater propensity to buy. 

Traffic flow patterns and sharp merchandising are elements that you can control by careful placement of your store fixtures and merchandise categories.  Utilizing all the linear footage of selling space available and placing high demand categories of merchandise in the far corners of the store will drive. customer penetration in your store.  Creating power departments with visually interesting fixtures, endcaps, displays, and merchandise mix will expose the customer to new buying opportunites for a longer period of time.

But good fixturing and merchandising is not about throwing up fixtures and slapping merchandise on shelves to fill up space.  There is a reason for every fixture and display element in the store.  Two popular traffic flow patterns used in hardlines store fixturing is the Race Track and Power Aisle approach.

The race track utilizes an wide square or oval " race track " aisle around the store with departments and aisles branching off the race track  to the perimeter.  The race track aisle is designed for two way traffic flow and exposes your customer to more end-caps , 4-way displays, and Pp-o-p promotions than they would be if they walked staight to the merchandise from the front door.   Inside of the race track should be prominent higher margin departments or categories of merchandise.

The power aisle approach, utilizes a main aisle approach utilizes a wide main aisle front to back of the store with departments branching off.  This layout works well with a "X" pattern of two intsecting power aisle with  the branch aisle coming off the power aisle at a diagonal.    The endcaps feature prominent promotions or displays of high margin goods.

Department branch aisles should not be longer than 12ft to 24 ft with end caps at each end and should lead to the perimeter aisle or another power aisle or race track. 

Planning for a new store or remodel?  I can assist your with the process from space planning, fixturing, and installation. Call Joseph Solinsky @ 410.494.4598 to schedule an an appointment. My e-mail address is joseph.solinsky@indoff.com.

Three Factors That Determine A Successful Store Layout

There are three major points that dermine a sucessful store layout. They are atmosphere, traffic flow, and merchandise prominence.

Atmosphere is the initial impression the  customer gets of the store when they walk through the door. The goal is to present a store environment that your target customer is comfortable in and will shop longer.  The longer the customer stays, the more they buy. There are many factors help define the atmospere of a store. They include the overall theme of the store, color schemes and store decor items that supports the store theme. Other important factore include floor and ceiling treatments, store  signage, visual merchandise presentation,lighting, music, and overall store cleanliness.  

The type of store fixtures used to display merchandise and how they are positioned within the store affects the store atmosphere.  The type, size, and quantity of store fixtures chosen to display your merchandise depends on the size of the sales area and the traffic pattern you wish to establish.

If you would like to request a store planning consultation, have   questions concerning planning for an upcoming new store/ remodel project or just need an equipment quotation, please contact Joseph Solinsky @ 410.494.4598 or at joseph.solinsky@indoff.com.  I will delighted to assist you.

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