The Ultimate Guide to Renovating Your Retail Store

Renovating your retail store can be both exciting and rewarding. Your store’s exterior and interior design are a crucial part of your overall brand experience. While remodeling your store can be a big investment, the difference it makes for both customers and employees can be well worth it. 

If you’re considering renovating your store, our ultimate guide can set you up for success, no matter how big, small, near or far away your plans are. Here is a complete list of what to consider before and during your renovation: 

Why are you renovating? 

What do you want your store to look like? 

How big and how costly will your renovations be? 

What do your customers want to see?  

Figure out what you need and what it will cost

Plan your new layout 

For bigger jobs, choose a contractor

Nail down a timeline

Measure your renovation’s success

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What to consider when renovating your retail store

Before you start your renovations, ask yourself the following questions to make sure you know your “why.” 

Why are you renovating? 

You want to renovate your store, but is there an important reason you’re looking to do so? Has your brand changed? Are your fixtures becoming outdated? Or, are you just looking to change things up? Renovations can be costly and disruptive to your business, so be sure you’re renovating for the right reasons in mind.  

What do you want your store to look like? 

Even if you’re not savvy when it comes to interior design, it’s good to have a general look and feel in mind for your renovation. Creating a mood board with images that evoke the style and layout you’re going for is not only helpful for you and your team, but a great tool to send to a designer or architect. 

When planning your renovation, make sure your existing space can accommodate your new additions. For example, can your walls support everything new that needs to be hung? Is your store’s wiring equipped to handle new types of lightbulbs? Answering these types of questions before you begin is crucial to your renovation going smoothly. 

What is your budget for renovations? 

What and how you choose to renovate your store will largely depend on your budget. Keep in mind that the average cost for renovating a retail store is about $50 CAD/$40 USD per square foot, but can be more or less depending on what you choose to include. When budgeting, be sure to include an extra cushion of 15% to account for any unforeseen costs that come up during the process. 

What do your customers want to see from you?  

Your renovation should ultimately appeal to your customers’ sensibilities and desires. Take your customer experience into account when reviewing the following areas of your storefront: 

  • The entrance: Besides your windows and exterior, this is the first opportunity to make an impression on anyone who walks in. Customers only take a few seconds to judge a store’s appearance right when they enter, so it’s important to give the best possible impression and keep traffic flowing. 
  • The walls: A fresh coat of paint can transform your space significantly. You can also create an accent wall to draw customers into a specific area of your store. Think about your shelving and how that plays into your overall visual merchandising. Could your walls use more or fewer shelves? Or perhaps you need more or less wall space? 
  • Lighting fixtures: Lighting can have a significant impact on mood. Evaluate your current lighting to determine if it creates the desired effect and ambiance on your shoppers. If not, it may be time to upgrade or make changes. 
  • Flooring: Damaged floors are usually an indicator of an unkempt space. Survey your flooring to figure out if it could use replacing. 

You can survey your customers directly to ask them what kind of shopping experiences they prefer. Ask your employees for input as well to see if they have any insights as to how to draw customers in.

How to renovate your retail store

Now that you have a clear renovation plan, it’s time to put it into action. Here are the steps you should take once you’ve designed your new storefront. 

Figure out what you need and what it will cost

Once you have a sense of what you want your store to look like, pinpoint what you’ll need to buy to make your renovation happen. Do you need new lighting, ceilings, flooring or wall decorations? Are you repainting your walls or building new shelving units? Determine how many materials you’ll need based on the size of your store. 

A contractor can also examine your store’s internal structure to help you determine what materials or fixtures you need and give cost estimates. 

Create a mockup and finalize your layout

Analyze your current store’s traffic flow to determine where improvements can be made. Where do your customers tend to spend the most time? Which spots do they skip over entirely or interact with the least? Use these findings to guide your store renovation and build a better in-store customer experience. 

Design a mockup that maps out all of the different fixtures and how they will impact the way customers navigate through your store. Have a layout ready to go so that you’ll have a clear understanding of what’s going where. 

For bigger jobs, choose a contractor

Not all renovations are DIY-friendly. If you’re planning a larger renovation, consult with a commercial contractor who can guide you through your project safely. When hiring a contractor, look for those with outstanding reputations and all proper licensing and insurance. A good contractor will be able to ensure that your renovations are completed in line with safety regulations and standards.

You should aim to interview at least three different candidates before making a final decision on who to hire for your store. You can find contractors in your area through websites like Thumbtack and Yelp

Nail down a timeline

Once you’ve found your materials and any necessary outside assistance (contractors, designers, etc.), you can plan your ideal timeline that maps your start date, projected end date and any important milestones in between. Creating a timeline will help you and everyone else involved stay on track and minimize any potential disruptions to your business.

Your timeline, however, should be flexible enough to accommodate any bumps in the road while the renovations are in progress. 

Measure your renovation’s success

Determine if your renovation met the goals you set for success or not once it’s been completed. Did more people come into your store? Was the average basket value greater than before? Make sure you do a comparison of your key metrics before and after the renovation. 

Does your business software need a makeover, too? 

Appearances aren’t the only thing that can change during a renovation. Take the time to reevaluate your business technology as well. Your systems should be flexible enough to handle the needs of a growing and changing retail store. 

Looking to switch to the leading commerce platform? Chat with our retail experts to learn more about how Lightspeed can streamline your operations.  

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Cyndy Lane