6 Tips For Setting Up A Cosmetics Store

Posted Date: 21-June-2019


So, you’re considering setting up a new cosmetics store – and you’re overwhelmed with all the setup. A simple dream of having a small store has turned into a years’ long journey in learning finances, inventory, stocking, customer relations, taxes, permits, loss prevention – and the list goes on. But you’ve completed your business plan, you’ve secured funding, you have a legal business name and permit and you have your suppliers lined up. Now the real fun begins – choosing a location and setting up your store.

Where will your store be located? What will the exterior and interior look like? Which type of displays will you use? What will your customer flow be? What store fixture systems will you use? These are all great questions, and ones that should be considered carefully. We’ve put together some answers for the would-be cosmetics retailer below.

Finding The Right Space

Finding the right space means finding the right ‘space’ that works for you, but also finding that space in a neighborhood or location you want. You should already know your customer, so if your customer lives only in areas with specific demographics, then those are the areas you want to focus on. When finding the space, also keep in mind the square footage – you’ll need room for your goods – but you’ll also need room for cash counters, walking lanes, queueing, and of course, storage. It’s best to find a space that already has a storage area for your inventory and cleaning supplies or has enough square footage that you can build a partition for a storage area.

Setting Up Shop

So, you’ve found the right space and you’ve signed the lease. Next, you’ll need to plan your layout and design before ordering retail fixtures and supplies.

When you go into a store as a shopper, you probably don’t realize that the layout is specifically designed for you. You only really notice a poorly planned layout when there is congestion, awkward queueing at the cash counter, or difficulty in getting to certain products. The layout of your shop needs to ensure that none of these things happen.  Aisles need to be wide enough that customers can ‘pass’ each other. It should go without saying that customers should be able to browse the entire store and get back to the entrance or cash counter without having to double back the way they came. And of course, there needs to be enough space in front of the cash counter for multiple customers – and perhaps for queueing materials like stanchions.

Some other things to consider when setting up shop are product placement, free samples, loss prevention and fire regulations. Make sure that while your customer follows your store’s ‘flow’, that they see your best products (most popular, best margins, whatever your ‘best’ is to you) along the way. Make sure that the product displays you choose flow with your store’s design and resonate with your customer. Remember that layout and design are an especially important element in the cosmetics industry due to the emphasis put on product image. You can find virtually any type of product display or store fixture at Eddie’s Hang-Up Display Ltd. If you require a special or custom display/fixture, Eddie’s has very close relationships with some of the world’s largest store fixture manufacturers which allows us to make special purchases and offer state of the art, branded, and environmentally friendly solutions for custom product displays and store fixtures.

shelving cosmeticsOrganizing For Space

Some retailers find the perfect space that fits their budget, but many times a retailer must settle for a smaller space in the right neighborhood. This is where product organization and display are key. No one likes to see a cluttered store, so you need to make the best use of your space without overcrowding. There are some excellent store fixture systems that can help solve this problem. Some retailers choose to use slatwall on their interior walls, using hooks and accessories to display products – sometimes right up to the ceiling. There are many other store fixture systems – too many to list – that help retailers display their merchandise in a way that saves space and is visually appealing. If your space is small, consider these systems. You can easily expand them over time and purchase different accessories for displaying new types of merchandise if necessary.

shelving-3Exterior Decoration & Window Displays

Hopefully your space has a large window in the front with a display area.  If so, make sure to decorate that area in a way that promotes your products and your store’s character. Window displays can literally make or break a store in the cosmetics sector, so make sure that you adhere to some of the golden rules:

Don’t Overcrowd– We know you have a lot of products, and you want everyone walking by to know it too – but overcrowding your window display will just come across as untidy and cluttered. It’s best to either showcase one product, or just a few products that will have the passer-by wanting to see more.

Don’t Let It Get Stale– Sure you spend weeks planning and preparing the perfect window display.  It’s your pride and joy and you always get compliments. The problem is, those people that walk by your store every day, or every weekend, have seen it many times. If the display worked – and customers came in – great. Your offering and customer service will determine whether those customers come back. In the meantime, all those passers-by whose attention you didn’t catch can still be lured in – with the right window display. Change it up at least every season to get the most out of your display.

If you don’t have a window display, or in addition to one, there are other ways you can promote outside your business. One is to ensure the decor of your shop’s exterior is clean and portrays the character of your store. In addition, you can put up exterior signage, or erect sandwich board style signs.  Sandwich boards are very effective when they have direct imaging and communication. One study showed that a sign with an image of a piece of jewellery and the words “You didn’t forget” put on a sidewalk in New York a week before Valentines brought in over +200% in walk-ins – 95% of which were males. Sandwich boards are a key piece of exterior decoration for any store in a neighborhood with significant foot traffic (and to some extent, vehicular traffic).

Valuable Merchandise

If some of your merchandise is valuable, it’s always best to position it close to the cash counters.  There are many reasons for this – the obvious one being loss prevention. If you have valuable merchandise you may want to display it in a locking counter display. Acrylic displays work well because they don’t interfere with the display of the product, and often enhance the look of the product when lighting is installed. If some of your items are near the cash counter, but not barred in some way, make sure that you are using good queue management so that your counter doesn’t get too crowded on busy days.

Another reason for keeping valuable merchandise near the cash counter is the sale. Anytime a customer is perusing your valuable items, you can have a salesperson assist them immediately. This is simply good customer service and can increase sales significantly.

Cash Counter

The last experience a customer will most likely have is at your cash register. Make sure that this area is neat and tidy (put your stack of old papers, mail and car keys out of view) and that any products being displayed either in or on the counter are easily visible. When deciding how to display products on your cash counter, it’s good to consider the rule of three. Visual merchandisers will often suggest grouping items in sets of three and keeping them as symmetrical as possible in terms of product size and height as it has been proven as an effective way of catching your customer’s attention. Display Risers are perfect for grouping complimentary products while maintaining that balanced or symmetrical look. You’ll also want to make sure that you have proper queueing “cues”. For example, stanchions or aisles that are clearly marked so customers lining up know where to stand. Make sure that there is room to move behind the counter for you or your employees both for comfort and safety reasons.

Setting up your own cosmetics store can be very rewarding, and it is certainly a good learning experience. And while the business plan and financial aspect is important, we hope we’ve helped you understand the importance of setup as well, beyond simple design. We hope you enjoyed this blog, and remember, Eddie’s Hang-Up Display Ltd can help with all your retail supply needs. Proudly Canadian, and in business since 1978.