Making stock more visible to customers of Howard Bros
Clear vision for future after re-fit
The old wooden drawers had to go
A small independent DIY store seems an unlikely place to break new ground in shopfittings. Sometimes, however, the best ideas emerge from a business where getting the most out of the available space is at its most intense.
DIY store Howard Bros, based in Camberwell in south-east London, stocks hardware including paint, plumbing, electrical and even motoring parts. It has been successfully run by brothers Arjan an Velji Rabada since 2002, but they felt the shop was now looking tired with a mish-mash of different display units and too much stock hidden from view.
The solution was a complete re-fit and Salepoint, who had supplied the store’s original fittings, was given the job. One of the biggest issues to overcome was making stock more visible to customers. “We’ve always done plumbing”, said Velji, “yet we had plumbers coming in to ask if we stocked parts!”.
The problem was that fittings were hidden in a myriad of drawers in an old wooden cabinet behind the counter. Salepoint suggested replacing it with a system using clear plastic bins with sub-dividers. Some 325 compartments were used to replace the wooden drawers. The contents are now all visible and it is a highly efficient use of the space. And customers can now see the wide range of fittins being stocked while the staff can easily find parts and know when to reorder.
Salepoints’ Dennis Wilmot believes this a model for future re-fits. “Storage systems are often a balancing act between space and visibility, but not this time. There was no reduction in storage capacity and now all of it is visible and accessible.”
One other key change was relocating the counter to the opposite side of the shop. Staff can now get a much clearer view of the shop floor and are better able to spot customers who need help.
With display space at a premium, the traditional cladding and slatwall was rejected in favour of pegmetal cladding, maximising the amount of stock in view. It made for a more complicated fit-out, but is a more efficient use of space, with adjustment every 25mm as opposed to 100mm for slatwall. “Previously”, explained Velji, “we had a lot of stuff kept in storage. Now it’s all on show and customers are now discovering just how much we do stock!”.
The improvements have led to more self-selection and an increase in the number of female customers. Feedback has all been positive – proof that there is plenty of room for the independent retailer who thinks outside the box.