The location and design of a retail store significantly impact both customer traffic and customer retention. This makes the construction process highly important and choosing the right general contractor a necessity. Look for a contractor that has the experience and an excellent local reputation. If possible, look beyond commercial construction and see if they have retail background too. A full-picture of a professional’s expertise is invaluable. To ensure that the process complies with building codes and property laws, you’ll want to find an Arizona contractor well-versed in both state and local ordinances.
Custom Design Plans for Retail Stores
Your business is unique and the space it occupies should reflect that. It would be best if you worked directly with your contractor to create the perfect blend of your vision and their expertise.
Most brands want to create a consistent look and feel across all aspects of their organization.
As you plan the design for your retail store, keep this in mind and consider if your company or company culture could be improved or enhanced.
1. Window Displays
It doesn’t matter if you plan on operating a single store or a series of pop-ups. It is always wise to think about a window display. A well-planned window display is an eye-catching tool that gets customers inside your store instead of just walking by.
A good display provides a chance to highlight your brand and what’s going on within the store.
If you’re looking for a way to boost business and set yourself apart from the competition, a window display might be the move for you.
2. Product Staging
An essential aspect of the design of your store is deciding where products will be on display. Additionally, the design should reflect how you want to direct customers. Product staging areas should be attention-grabbing and focus on specific items. Your power wall (the first wall customers see when they enter the building) is your first impression on the consumer and needs to be designed with that in mind. Where you decide to stage inventory, sales, and signage dictates where and how customers move through the store, so don’t forget to consider who your clientele is when drafting designs.
3. Break rooms
Though an important aspect of any business, customers are not the only people to consider when designing a store. Employees need a place to go during breaks. A break room is a retreat from the rest of the store, a place where employees can relax for a moment before returning to their shift. A spacious area with a refrigerator, tables, chairs, and maybe even a TV provides a spot for workers to unwind, which improves overall productivity.
4. Extra storage space
The entirety of your inventory will not be out on the sales floor, so you need a place to store it. Storage areas should be easily accessible to the staff to retrieve products faster but hidden from customers’ view. Make sure to allocate an appropriate amount of storage space to keep the store clean and the storeroom safe.
5. Security and safety features
Unfortunately, theft is something every business owner has to consider when designing their store. Think about where products will be staged and potential blind spots when installing security cameras. This helps to reduce shrinkage as much as possible. In addition to keeping inventory safe, you need to keep your employees and customers safe. Ensure there is enough space in the walkways for people to exit in an emergency and that all exits are easily accessible.
Retail Store Construction Risk Analysis
Though similar to other commercial construction endeavors, retail store construction has some different aspects to consider. It is a good idea to develop a risk management plan to cover any contractual, financial, or other legal issues that might arise. Taking the time to address and develop solutions for possible problems reduces the impact of occurrences such as construction delays, delivery delays, inventory issues, or labor shortages.
Major Planning Principles for Retail Store Construction
In any business venture, you need to have a solid idea of what you’re getting into. With more and more consumers shopping online, a big part of operating a retail store is getting customers into a physical building. Building designs, advertisements, and sales are all great ways to enhance the consumer experience. When working on the plan for your store, keep the following in mind:
1. Know your clients
If you do not know or understand your clientele, you will have a hard time selling them anything or creating a functional space they want to shop in. Part of this knowledge comes from the products you sell, such as demographics and building layouts that most fit your retail store type. The rest comes from paying attention to both current consumer trends and long-standing customer preferences.
2. Get a specialist to develop your business plan
Though you likely have at least some idea of the design you want for your retail store, it is recommended to seek the help of an expert. An experienced contractor will have a history of designing and building various retail stores, likely similar to the one you are planning. This doesn’t mean you have to hand over all design control to a specialist, just that they can help bring your ideas to life while ensuring the customer’s needs are met.
3. Study the area’s needs and potentials
Different types of retail stores are going to have varying requirements. Any location you choose to build will have positive aspects, negative aspects, and unique possibilities. As a rule, don’t set up shop in an area that is difficult for customers to find or has multiple similar businesses nearby. Research potential locations to see if your store brings something needed or new to the area and how your business is likely to fair.
4. Get the legal documents ready
Before any construction begins, you must obtain all necessary documents and permits. An experienced contractor knows the building codes and laws for the area and can offer advice on any permits you may need. Remember that local building codes vary, so you should not assume you know what you need based on other cities or counties.
5. Secure your finances
A retail store is a significant investment and it is vital to make sure that you have the appropriate finances for the task. Financial problems lead to construction delays or even complete breaks in the project, which means a delay in the store opening and further loss of funds. Meet with your accountant or bank to ensure you have the money needed to complete construction with as few issues as possible.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Retail Store Contractor
The contractor makes or breaks the project, whether it is a remodel or a brand new build. To find the best retail store contractor for your business, you need to look for:
Without a doubt, the most crucial aspect of any contractor you consider is their level of experience. You want someone specializing in retail construction and, preferably, has worked on projects similar to yours. Check for industry memberships, such as the Retail Contractors Association. Take a look at their previous projects (a reputable contractor will have a list of references and previous clients) and read any reviews you can find of their work.
2. Timely deliveryAny retail construction project needs to be finished on time and on budget. Furthermore, the job needs to be completed without compromising on the design or quality of the build. Contractors with a history of timely completions and a standing client base within the industry are more likely to finish your store when and how you need it. They should also prove that they have the financial flexibility to keep the project going as planned.
3. Business and ethical commitmentAs you can likely tell by now, you aren’t just looking for a contractor that has certain traits, you’re looking for one that has a history of consistently showing those traits. As with any construction project, you want a contractor that shows time and time again that they are committed to ethical business practices. Your contractor should understand the constraints of retail store construction, such as dealing with other stores or even ongoing business, and consider that when planning and completing the build. A quality contractor gets problems solved amicably, makes sure you receive regular updates on the project, and you can quickly contact them whenever necessary. If a contractor you consider has a history of lousy communication or disputes with clients, keep looking.
4. Bonded and Insured
Regardless of how many of the other criteria a contractor meets, they should not be hired if they are not bonded and insured. Reputable contractors have coverage to protect themselves, their workers, and the store owner, such as workers compensation insurance and liability coverage. Working with a retail construction contractor with no coverage opens you up to a litany of potential legal issues.
Though retail construction can seem daunting, with the right approach, it yields a host of benefits. To get the most you can out of the project, remember to consult professionals with experience in your specific area. Ensure any contractor you pick works with you and shows you why they’re the best for the job. Choosing the right people keeps construction on time, on budget, and within your needs.
Retail Construction FAQs
1. How soon after agreeing to an estimate should a retail contractor start my project?
Every retail construction process is different, but the general answer is as soon as possible. An experienced contractor knows that the business owner wants the project completed as quickly as possible, so they should want to start right away. Once the necessary permits have been obtained and all preparations complete, the contractor should be ready.
2. How long will the retail construction project last?
The amount of time a construction project takes is entirely dependent on your specific construction project. Completion timelines are different for renovations versus new builds and can’t be expected to have similar end dates. The size of the build, the extent of the overall project, and the location all impact the amount of time it takes to finish. Your contractor should be able to take these factors into account and provide an accurate timeline.
3. Should the retail contractor have previously done the type of project I have?
Though a contractor does not necessarily have to have done similar projects, it is recommended to go with a professional that has experience in that specific type of construction. Experience makes a difference, and a contractor with a history of similar jobs is more likely to finish the project on time and budget.
4. How many years of experience should the retail contractor I choose have?
No rule states how much experience a contractor should have, but it is better to look for one with more years behind them. The longer they have been in the field, the more experience and knowledge they’ve gained.
5. How should the retail contractor's estimate compare to the others of the industry?
Remember that you should never prioritize cost over quality, especially when it comes to retail construction. That being said, you’ll want to see competitive and comparable estimates from the contractors you consider. Make sure that you know what is and is not included in any estimates you receive. It is a good idea to avoid contractors that offer much lower rates than others or shy away from explaining what exactly the estimate includes.
Though retail construction can seem daunting, with the right approach, it yields a host of benefits. To get the most you can out of the project, remember to consult professionals with experience in your specific area.
Ensure any contractor you pick works with you and shows you why they’re the best for the job. Choosing the right people keeps construction on time, on budget, and within your needs.