Rolling Out Retail

Rachel Ng

It’s an art. It’s a science. It’s not for the fainthearted. We take a look behind the scenes at how to achieve a successful big-brand showcase implementation.   

Rolling out new or refreshed retail interiors (often accompanied by exterior shop-front elements too) can be a highly demanding exercise – even more so when the roll-out is international and features world-famous brands.

Showcases, either fixed or freestanding, are usually key components in upscale retail interiors and are a good illustration of the hard work that goes into a successful rollout. Below, we follow the process that ensures flawless showcase results for our client, Luxottica, the prestigious eyewear group whose portfolio includes names like Chanel, Prada and Ray Ban.                  

  1. Site surveys – the key to a successful start
  • Check the access routes from entrance to shop location. Sometimes there’s no lift service and furniture has to be hauled up staircases, requiring extra manpower.
  • Measure the critical dimensions of cargo lifts, staircases and tight corners. This will affect how we produce the furniture. If necessary, we’ll break it down into smaller components, but without compromising the finished design.
  • Precision-measure the installation space. This is vital when the showcase has to fit into a confined area. The trick is always to measure at various reference points as there is always the possibility of floor to ceiling unevenness.
  • Check the Mechanical & Electrical services on-site. This includes the location of power outlets, sprinkler points and Air-Conditioning and Mechanical Ventilation.

2. Production – good planning avoids snags

  • Work closely with the brand owner to review and adjust detailing and tolerances to accommodate the materials used, the component breakdown and the joinery technique – all while preserving the brand’s design aesthetic.
  • Advance order any special materials. Customised showcases often require specific fittings, materials or brand colours that are not available off-the-shelf. Ordering these early will avoid production delays.
  • Check the design for structural strength, using product information to ensure the load capacity is adequate. This is especially important when the displayed items are heavy.
  • Verify that chosen materials will remain stable. Climate variations in different countries (eg: temperate versus tropical), can cause some materials to warp. This must always be considered when production is centralised.
  • Build in easy access to electrical and hardware components to enable convenient maintenance or visual updates.
  • Include protective features, such as metal cladding around vulnerable areas, to withstand damage from repeated user operation.
  • Plan minimum production lead times to ensure quality finishing. For example, high gloss piano-coatings require repeated buffing of many paint layers, each of which needs time to cure. High quality work with clear acrylic fixtures can also prove to be challenge if done in haste. And metalwork embedded into carpentry or used as cladding requires adequate production time to ensure precision.
  • Conduct quality checks at critical stages throughout production to ensure brand guidelines are met. These include measurements of lighting colour and intensity.

3. Logistics – smoothing the way

  • Pack with great care. Beautifully finished components are always vulnerable during transportation and need optimum protection. 
  • Prepare clear and consistent crate labels for efficient identification and retrieval.
  • Plan the container stuffing sequence to ensure smooth site execution. For example –avoid putting that crate of essential tools right at the back!
  • Choose the best mode of freight – air versus sea will affect your timeline. 
  • Ensure all freight documents comply with local customs clearance requirements to avoid hold-ups.

4. Site installation – preparing for the unexpected

  • Arrange entry permits and approvals prior to arriving on site.
  • Brief the crew on work safety protocols and ensure they are followed.
  • Know the local work culture. Choose project managers able to communicate well and manage local installers.
  • Engage experienced carpenters to address ad-hoc or unforeseen technical problems.

5. Handover – the complete package

  • Brief the local client with any operational instructions and advise on general cleaning of material surfaces.
  • Provide instruction guides for any audio visual or interactive equipment.

6. Maintenance – keeping up appearances (an optional service)

  • Offer a planned maintenance schedule to ensure showcases retain their good looks over time.
  • Reserve a stock of common fittings (hinges, locks, electrical components), to enable rapid repairs and minimize downtime.

At CDI World Singapore we undertake the project management, design, production and installation of retail and corporate interiors across the whole of Asia. Contact us for more information.  

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