Every day, the world moves a little further forward and our shops – at least, the ones that have not succumbed to the recession – are no different. In these tough times, shops need to find that delicate balance between cost-effective and attractive shopfittings, yet it can be dangerously easy to opt for cost-effective over attractive, and vice-versa, thus spoiling the whole equilibrium.
Say a shopkeeper decides to go for a cheap set of shelving, which may not leave them out of pocket, but will not see them make that much more money – while quality of goods, as well as demand for those goods, is crucial to any retail business, it is unlikely that customers will feel compelled to take wares from shelves that look as if they have been bought second-hand.
On the other hand, attractive shopfittings could well attract customers, giving them confidence that they are buying from a quality retailer, but if the owner has paid an arm and a leg for their fittings, will they have sufficient demand to actually make a profit on these goods? We are told that you have to spend money to make money, but in these fraught times, it may not be such a sensible strategy. This is where slatwall becomes an intriguing option.
Slatwall, as its name suggests, is a special type of shopfitting consisting of panelling with a series of slats at regular intervals, allowing retailers to display their goods on an easy-to-clean, easy-to-maintain set of ‘floating’ shelves. The shelves are specially designed for the slatwall, so can easily be slid into the panelling without the need for brackets, allowing more space for displaying items, and a more attractive display system. Worried the shelves are getting a little dusty? Take them off, slide them out of the slats and give them a clean.
The shelves come in a variety of neutral colours, from the standard white, cream or grey, to wood effects, in maple, cherry, beech, oak and ash, and such a range is likely to contain a shade to fit into most shop decor schemes. Furthermore, there are even ‘credit crunch shelves’ – plain shelves without any edging. While these floating shelves will certainly look a lot less attractive than the normal shelves, they would be ideal for a seasonal Christmas shop to attach to their slatwall, and fill with discount goods around the holiday season.
However, with the cheapest slatwall shelf priced at £10.95 on its own, or £9.85 in a pack of 24, they are reasonably priced enough to justify choosing the standard shelves over the credit crunch version. Of course, the wood effect shelving is more expensive, with cherry the cheapest at £12.20, and maple the priciest, currently being sold for £15.25.
Even these higher costs can be whittled down by bulk-buying; a pack of 24 shelves may seem like a bigger investment, but would offer extra display space, and let’s face it – the majority of shops will need more, rather than less, than 24 floating shelves.
Of course, slatwall and the floating shelves do have drawbacks. Without any brackets, the shelves do not have that extra support, so it is vital to ensure that your shelving is not overloaded with goods – while heavy duty floating shelves could solve this problem, the extra cost, and fact that, of course, still do not have brackets could mean that while they may be able to be loaded up with extra wares, they could still suffer the same problem as the normal shelving – too much weight could bend or even break the shelves, leaving the retailer needing to replace them. Therefore it is important to judge what your business requires before making any purchase – ten minutes of deliberation could save hours of stress in the future.
So there you have it; as the world moves further and further forward, our shops are not far behind – not only do we have slatwall to create extra space and act as a cheaper alternative to traditional shopfittings, but we can even optimise this space using floating shelving.