April 13, 2021

4 Possible Mishaps to Avoid When Installing a Shop-Within-a-Shop

By Trevor Lewis, InStore Design Display

There’s nothing like adding a shop-within-a-shop to liven up a retail space. It’s a home run when it delivers an educational or entertaining experience—especially one engaging enough for customers to tell others. Custom designs typically combine product merchandising, case goods, and content provided via signage and screens in an immersive space with the intent to help customers make more informed decisions about a product and build loyalty to the store and the brand.

When an installation is required to bring this type of retail experience to life, effective management of many variables ensures a seamless process delivered on time and on budget. Otherwise, mishaps are not only possible; they are guaranteed. The good news is that mishaps are usually preventable when you work with a custom retail experience design/build firm and installer. Check out these top four things that can go wrong when preparing a retail space to install a shop-within-a-shop and how to prevent them.

Mishap #1: Unrealistic timeline that leads to missed deadlines.

The phrase “the devil’s in the details” is an appropriate way to describe how installation timelines can get derailed when key details are missing. At InStore Design Display (IDD), we’ve seen how installation deadlines are missed because permits from local governments aren’t factored in, weather conditions change, or because of COVID-19 restrictions, delivery times are impacted. We’ve also seen how limiting installation to evenings and weekends can affect the timeline (and the budget).


    • Work with a custom retail experience design/build firm that knows how to manage the details that can disrupt the installation’s progress.
    • Have a single point of contact managing the flow of communication around the timeline and deadlines.
    • Build a cushion into the dates to manage critical inflection points in the installation (e.g., delivery of case goods).
    • Ensure timely communications regarding project status to all team members.

Mishap #2: The site plan lacks complete information.

The site for the installation of a shop-within-a-shop often brings unforeseen difficulties. Some examples include a lack of power in the correct locations, entryways being too narrow to maneuver the case goods into the facility, receiving requirements are too restrictive, or improper measurements of the space. These factors need to be accounted for and located before the design even starts. Otherwise, there can be overruns on budget and timeline to address the problems before the shop-within-a-shop can go live.


  • Inspect the site before the completion of the design with a visit by the installer.
  • Request development of a detailed site plan that includes power, entryways, the pathway for bringing in the case goods, and space measurements.
  • Define receiving goods specification and requirements (e.g., lift gate, inside delivery, appointment time/day).
  • Ensure the retail design/manufacturing firm and the installer are communicating.

Mishap #3: Damaged Case Goods.

Whenever transporting case goods, there is a possibility for damage. Cracked or scratched countertops, damaged corners, and broken glass can occur when moving case goods ten or one thousand miles from the manufacturer to the retail store. When the retailer is a franchise with case goods going into stores across the country simultaneously, the opportunity for mishaps multiplies.


  • Hire an experienced custom retail design/build firm with a demonstrated history of managing the crating of case goods.
  • Expect the firm to send a checklist of what’s in the shipping crate and photos before shipping.
  • Prepare for large case goods (like a cash wrap) to be shipped in pieces and built on-site rather than shipped pre-assembled. Damage to corners and countertops is much less likely when manageable-sized boxes are shipped.
  • Ensure a dedicated freight company offering white-glove service delivers your case goods. These companies are experts in transporting heavy and non-standard sized shipments.
  • Inspect your goods upon receipt. Take photographs of the display to document any damage and compare them to the photos sent pre-shipping. The photos will aid in making claims with the freight company.

Mishap #4: Labor Requirements.

When it’s time to install your shop-within-a-shop, a general contractor typically is involved in the job. This is the muscle behind any construction needed to prepare the site and complete the install. Problems arise when the timeline doesn’t account for the requirements of union vs. non-union labor.


  • Secure multiple references before hiring a general contractor.
  • Clarify with the general contractor on their labor pool upfront.
  • Factor in age restrictions when determining the labor requirements for the installation.

IDD and Branded Group have developed a streamlined process that addresses the top four mishaps common to installing large-scale retail experiences that can be deployed across the United States. Our partnership ensures your shop in a shop success.

About Trevor Lewis and InStore Design Display

Trevor Lewis is a Senior Sales Manager and Brand Evangelist with InStore Design Display (IDD), a nationally recognized custom product display and retail environment company. IDD partners with small businesses to Fortune 500 companies in telecommunications, health and wellness, animal health, sporting equipment, and consumer goods that desire a superior retail presence that engages with their target customers. IDD’s team of designers, builders, graphic artists, production gurus, and fulfillment and storage experts focuses on helping brands and retailers create custom experiences for their shoppers. To learn more, visit InStoreDesignDisplay.com or reach out to Trevor Lewis on LinkedIn.

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