Guide to selecting a retail designer

Research market for Designers to invite to join selection process. Research the NZRIA & Red Awards websites, and links to designer’s websites. Satisfy yourselves that the invited list of Retail Designers are talented and have a client list and experience that matches your initial expectations
Undertake a short interview process with those who wish to participate further, covering some key items as follows, with a view to creating a shortlist of 3 companies at most for a design ideas competition. The purpose of this stage is to confirm that your organisation could work well with an invited participant.

  • Experience - relevant experience in retail design, experience with similar clients and projects of a similar scale, their experience selecting, managing, liaising with contractors in fit-outs/rollouts of similar scale, experience with Merchandising strategies and Brand strategies, experience with multiple brands &/or vendors within a store
  • Verbal Testimonials from past or current clients - this establishes the strengths of participants at establishing and maintaining relationships
  • Capability - current staff resources and strategy/structure to service your account relative to the scale of the project
  • Fee structure - standard one off hourly rates, rollout rates if different. At the close of this stage a participant may be selected without a design ideas competition being held.

Undertake a further selection stage being a Design Ideas competition with a maximum of 3 participants based on a very tight brief and for a level of remuneration to all participants that covers some of the costs in participating in the competition, the ideas generated then become the property of the Retailer to be used in any way.

The brief should be confined to a specific item such as;

  • a) a distinct 'department' or;
  • b) An overall design strategy highlighting strengths & weaknesses of a current store identified by yourselves and ideas with visual support to support or maintain the strengths and weaknesses

There should be clear parameters as to the presentation format of the ideas such as an A3 format including a floor plan, no more than two 3D perspectives, a visual references board and a material board and a written statement of no more than 500 words (an A4 page) to be produced in a 2 week period with no inputs from any staff. Effectively this is a test to see if the ideas challenge your own thinking in a positive way and have a practical application as well Remuneration for the above ideas competition should be $5,000 (incl GST) per participant, adjust offer to suit your request.

Given the importance of the relationship and the impact on your business, this process is a sensible investment and hopefully a clear winner would emerge to then establish a fee arrangement with. If a service arrangement fails to materialise then you have back up participants to go to.

Browse our directory of retail designers – or find a retail designer near you


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  • P 09 309 9247
  • A PO Box 2527 Shortland Street
    Auckland 1010
    New Zealand

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