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Best Face Forward – Creative Use of Fixtures can Invigorate Store Design

fixtures store
Meinhardt Fine Foods recently renovated their South Granville location, which included a new hot case lineup and revamping the kitchen and checkout areas.

Fixtures are an integral part of store design, and the most elaborate systems go a long way in making any store appealing. But even basic systems judiciously used can encourage shoppers to fill their baskets.

For example, Dr. Herb Sorensen, author of “Inside the Mind of the Shopper,” says staggering fixture patterns from section to section — along with offset shelving in which the top shelves are moved back in increments — break up a long aisle’s sight lines, thus preventing shoppers from feeling trapped.

In addition to providing product, the best specialty fixture providers are constantly trying to stretch budget-conscious retailers’ dollars. “We develop shelving systems that can easily be reconverted to suit different purposes, thus saving clients money,” explains Etalex Inc. Sales Manager Alain Charbonneau.

Charbonneau agrees that the biggest visual impact is often achieved by the simplest means. “For example, our extended backs for shelves that bring products closer to front are truly eye-catching, with colorful finishes approximating those of automobiles.”

As for emerging trends, Etalex is providing the grocery market with special LED-lined shelves. “We recently installed them in the specialty health and beauty sections of a major grocery store in Edmonton, and the effect is extremely attractive,” says Charbonneau.

Michael Vogler, president of Marketing Impact Limited, acknowledges that durability is as important to grocers as a fixture’s visual appeal. “So we’ve ensured that our shelf pusher systems, which are made of tough molded plastic and freezer-grade ABS, perform with zero failure and are easy to load,” he says.

But even the most expensive fixtures won’t live up to their fullest potential without good lighting, and Bill Plageman, vice-preident of marketing and product management for Amerlux, notes that the latest lighting systems are also geared towards saving operational expenses. “Each fixture can report wireless data in real time, converting information into detailed energy, temperature, and occupancy insights 24/7,” he explains. “We use these technologies to maximize energy savings as well as create visual, physical, human responses to merchandise.”

Given the limitless range of fixtures to choose from, how can grocers best decide what to use and what to avoid? Vancouverbased Meinhardt Fine Foods General Manager Michael Meinhardt offers some advice, based on his recent renovation of his 7,000 square foot South Granville store and his new 3,000 square foot outlet scheduled to open in September: “Determine your customers’ wants and needs, the products you’ll stock based on those needs, plus the atmosphere you want to create: this will drive every decision you make about fixtures and lighting.”

Meinhardt points out that because his new Pacific Centre location is small but will feature a big grab and go meal component, the fixtures “have to be tighter and designed for the best balance between efficiency and floor space.” Meinhardt’s 2013 and 2014 renovations of his South Granville location included a new hot case lineup and the revamping of the kitchen and checkout areas. “The display fixtures are the same as was in place before, we just got more creative with how they’re laid out,” he says. “Everything we did was intended to make it easier for our customers to get in, see, touch and smell the products, then quickly pay for their purchases.”

Product Showcase 

The Living End
Etalex’s specialty end displays revitalize areas of the grocery where “too often the solution are tacky wood steps that fail to inspire shoppers,” according to Alain Charbonneau. As with all of Etalex’s specialty solutions, the end displays are sleek in appearance and easy to reconfigure.

Premium Promotion
Etalex’s shelving system with LED under lighting is ideal for grocers wanting to draw attention to premium products. “The system is especially effective in the health and beauty sections, and it can also be used to highlight shelf advertising,” says Alain Charbonneau, adding that the electrical contacts on each shelf enable grocers to rearrange without having to deal with wires.

Be Pushy
The Kwikload Pusher system from Marketing Impact Limited boasts a visually minimalist design and effortlessly pushes bagged salad, packaged cheese and deli meats. The slide out mechanism allows for easy stock rotation (loading with one hand if need be), and heavy duty construction ensures durability; the system is also available in a wide range of sizes.

Optic Opulence
Amerlux’s new Cylindrix III Mini LED contains a patent-pending optic that delivers maximum centre beam candlepower with robust illumination projected precisely where the beam is desired. The system accepts a broad range of lighting control accessories, including snoots, linear spread and beam softening lenses, cross blades and louvres.

Lighting the Way
The new Murro LED fixture from Amerlux is a compact, mounted wall wash that Amerlux CEO/President Chuck Campagna describes as “Small in size and high in output.” Murro’s superior optics and code-ready dimmability provides a light so powerful that walls have never looked better — or more extensively covered. 

The proper selection of fixtures can improve traffic flow and guide shoppers to key locations, as well as impart a specific ambience. But whether they’re high-tech or strictly utilitarian, using them creatively is the key to providing a pleasing shopping experience and building customer loyalty.

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