7 cardinal sins to steer clear of when planning a shop fitout

If you’re planning a shop fitout, be aware – a poor fitout can cost you in more ways than one. You’re the one that will be paying for the design and creation of the fitout, so in order to get the best returns on your investment you’ll want to make sure it is of high-quality. Also, poor shop fitouts can drive away customers and this can even lead to the demise of a business. You must plan your shop fitout such that it works for you and not against you.

planning a shop fitout

While there are many things to take into consideration, as a shopfitter with over 30 years of experience, today I will share with you what are for me, the 7 cardinal sins of shop fitouts. If you can avoid these shop fitting faux pas, then you’re in with a shot when it comes to retail success.

Continue reading this article as I list out the 7 cardinal sins that you must avoid in shop fitouts.

1. Using bad lighting

For many years now, I’ve seen a large number of retailers lose business simply because they skimp on lighting. Remember – bad lighting will always hurt sales. Any customer walking into a shop with bad lighting will soon be disappointed and will leave. There is a slim chance of a customer returning if you cannot offer a good shopping experience. Make sure you don’t make this mistake in your fitout. Here, at Xtreme Shopfitting & Joinery, we make sure to provide appropriate lighting fixtures in all of our shop fitouts. By choosing our services, you can rest assured that your lighting will not let your shop down.

Also Read: Lighting Continues to Be a Popular Shopfitting Supply

2. Creating a confusing layout

Another common mistake I see in many shop fitouts is a confusing layout. Understand that a shop should never look like a maze – customers don’t want to be surprised with elements of mystery. Your fitout should be simple and easy for customers to navigate through. Ideally, you want to have them enter, and then take them on a journey to the shop counter. When we at Xtreme design shop fitouts, we generally arrange products and aisles logically and ensure all signage is visible. This allows customers to navigate through a store with ease.

3. Not keeping any allowance for future changes

In my experience, many shop owners simply consider short term goals and never look at the bigger picture. Make sure that you and your shopfitter avoid this mistake. When designing your shop fitout, always take into account any changes that may happen in the future. Fashion changes every season and so should the placement of your displays. For this reason, I always suggest to clients that they not spend their entire budget on permanent fixtures. This way, they can continually create interest in their transportable displays and won’t out-grow their fitout in 12 months time.

4. Making sales counters too small

You’re in retail to make sales and this can only happen at the sales counter. As such, you must treat your sales counter as one of the most important aspects of your fitout. Design your counter to be efficient and never skimp on space. At Xtreme, every sales counter that we manufacture is created to facilitate faultless and efficient transactions. Efficiency in the sales counter makes customers happy and they will most probably return to your store if they have a good experience.

Also Read: Shop Counters: Much more than sales transactions

5. Using a continuous stretch of low ceiling height

I’ve seen many poorly designed shop fitouts that feature a continuous stretch of low ceiling height in order to save on space. This proves to be a costly mistake as customers will tend to feel cramped for space. At Xtreme, we always recommend having variating ceiling heights. This variation of height is not only more aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but it also gives off a more comfortable feel to customers when they’re shopping.

6. Not using visual breaks

There’s nothing worse than shop fitouts that are dull and boring. As a retailer, you need to keep your customers engaged and give them a reason to stop and look at your products. This can be achieved by using visual breaks. I’ve helped a number of my clients create interesting visual breaks to attract attention. Strategically positioning items and making things interesting always appeals to customers.

7. Leaving blank spaces on walls

My personal pet peeve in shop fitouts is seeing large blank spaces on walls, typically above wall fixtures or shelving units. In my opinion, this should always be avoided. Blank spaces can be converted into storage spaces or signage pretty easily. Here, at Xtreme, we also make use of eye catching graphics over blank spaces, which almost always seems to be a hit with customers.


In order to have a successful retail business, you must pay particular attention to your shop fitout. A shop fitout is one of the most important factors that can either make or break a retail business. When you go about planning your fitout, make sure to avoid these basic mistakes that many people make. Don’t skimp on lighting and never create a layout that is confusing to customers. Don’t use permanent fixtures and always keep some scope for future changes. Make sure that your sales counter isn’t too small. Also, avoid using continuous stretches of low ceiling and don’t leave blank spaces on the walls of your store. Lastly, make sure to include visual breaks to appeal to your customers.

If you’re looking for professional shopfitters on the Gold Coast, then consider making use of our services here at Xtreme Shopfitting & Joinery. With years of practical experience in the industry, we’ve helped design hundreds of successful shop fitouts for clients all across the Gold Coast and around Australia. We offer end-to-end shopfitting services and cater to clients of all sizes. Take a look at our portfolio and I’m sure you’ll see why our services are so widely sought after.

To discuss your fitout needs with us, simply give us a call. Our experts will be happy to assist you in every way possible.

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Ingrid Latham

About Ingrid Latham

Ingrid Latham is co-owner of Xtreme Shopfitting and Joinery and has been associated with the shopfitting industry for over 15 years. She has a vast array of knowledge when it comes to promoting a store and increasing foot traffic. Follow her on Google+ or