» Retail Installation Best Practices
A great store remodel or reimaging project requires a lot of internal work behind the scenes at Corporate – from the budgeting to the total buy-in. You’ve seen your idea come so far. Don’t let it fall apart at the end. Last-minute delays, missing pieces, wrong sizes and unskilled installers can turn your project into a nightmare.
These tips will help any install project go more smoothly:
- A pre-store survey is key because every store is unique. Your project is too important to rely on measurements from an old spreadsheet that may not be accurate. One mistake can lead to costly revisions.
- Having the right project manager in place can make or break your job. You may think you can save money by trying to do it yourself, on top of your “day job,” but an expert project manager will provide knowledge about the material and talent needed so your budget is properly utilized. He or she can read blueprints/layouts and is accountable for the accuracy, quality and timeliness of every job. Going with a professional project manager will pay for itself many times over – and allow you the time to get your regular job done. Something else to note: It’s also not the same as having several people from Corporate come to supervise a team of installers. Although a great project manager won’t mind having them onsite to view progress or even Facetiming or Skyping them in so they can see what’s going on.
- Before you invest in a costly prototype, it’s important to have a 3D render or virtual fly-through to guide you. What is it? A fly-through is a 3D computer representation of your planned retail space down to the last detail. It’s drawn to scale so you can view it from every angle. We all know it’s one thing to talk about what the project is going to look like when it’s finished. It’s another to actually see it. Without a 3D rendering to go by, you’re reduced to trial and error. You could spend thousands on new designs until management hits on one they can all agree on. This is a cost-effective solution that can be used for the life of the project. Use it in the early stages to make alterations to the layout, before you order materials. Use it throughout to communicate with Corporate and your store manager to keep them in the loop. Then use it at the end to help your install team.
- Know where your materials are being housed. It’s expensive to keep a crew on standby for an order that was supposed to come in two days ago. On the other hand, you don’t want material to arrive too early to the store as that means more time for it to potentially get damaged. That kind of timing takes some coordination, especially if items are being printed or manufactured in different locations. Will you house them in a warehouse until they’re all ready or ship directly to the store as they’re completed? Make sure that your project manager has the ability to track and manage all of your material in the pipeline.
- Go in the right order. Even the most complex install job can be broken down into easily manageable steps. But that takes someone who understands the process and can order those steps accordingly. You don’t want the painters in before the drywall is up. It also gets pricey when you need to call in specialized laborers to install a certain type of sign. You’ll want to make sure they’re not waiting around for someone else to finish first. A good project manager knows how to juggle so the job gets done on time. He or she also knows when it’s OK to pay those specialty installers by the square foot instead of a general hourly rate. It may be easier to keep track of 180 sq. feet of material.
- Good, old-fashioned customer service and communication skills go a long way. On the day of the install, you don’t want your phone blowing up with 100 questions from the crew. An expert project manager will be able to handle a majority of those questions and hires a crew that knows what they’re expected to do. He or she also anticipates questions and knows the right time to ask. Your project manager should also offer possible solutions. You also want your project manager to work with your store manager to schedule the install during the best hours for your business.
Sometimes retailers choose one firm to design, farm out the engineering to another, and pick yet another company just to do the installation. You may think it counterintuitive to expect one company to be good at handling it all. But they do exist. Ask if the firm knows your store and your shoppers. Do they understand what you’re trying to achieve? Can they make suggestions to do it more effectively? One of the best ways to ensure a seamless store install is to start with a team that designs with execution in mind. From there, it takes a combination of proven processes and problem-solving skills to ensure an effective retail installation.
We hope these tips come in handy as you plan your next store remodel or re-imaging project. Find out about GSP’s track record of success by contacting us.