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Essential Retail Store Equipment List: Equipment Needed to Start a Retail Store

Tyler MartinezAuthor

Essential Retail Store Equipment List (Appliances, Tools, Essentials)

Opening a retail store can be stressful, and checklists can help to keep you on track. Purchasing equipment for your business is just as crucial as hiring or sourcing products. Technology, supplies, and machines need to be reliable. The right equipment makes for smooth operations and fades into the background.

What equipment do you need for a retail store?

A retail store equipment checklist can help you to stay organized. The list below contains the primary kinds of equipment you’ll need to purchase, lease, or finance before opening day. This article includes details and buying guides for all the essentials.

  1. Technology and Point of Sale

    • Back office computer

    • Security system

    • Cameras

    • Anti-theft tags

    • Cash safe

    • Inventory system

    • Point of Sale

    • Receipt Paper

  2. Displays

    • Tables

    • Glass displays

    • Shelves

    • Signs and sign holders

    • Hangers

    • Mannequins

  3. Sales supplies

    • Shopping bags

    • Rewards cards

    • Paper wrapping for glass items

    • Price tags

    • Size labels

    • Shopping baskets

  4. Cleaning Supplies

    • Gloves

    • Aprons

    • First aid kit

    • Rags

    • Mop and/or vacuum

    • Cleaning supplies

    • Dust remover

  5. Safety Equipment

    • Personal protective equipment

    • Wet floor signs

    • Exit signs

    • Fire extinguisher

Ultimate equipment guide for a retail store

It’s an exciting time to open a retail store. Sales are growing and small retailers are curating innovative products and experiences. Before you start shopping for equipment, take the time to consider your store’s unique needs.

Computers

Retail stores need at least two types of computers–an office computer and staff workstations. There are PCs designed specifically to handle workstation tasks, and others that perform better for managing operations.

Office computers are a little more powerful and flexible, tasked with managing the day-to-day operations of the business. Building schedules, inventory, and SKU management, placing orders, and generating barcodes are simplified with the right software. Reliability is the key word here since you likely don’t need super-powered machines for your retail store.

Security

Protecting your products and assets is important business. Some businesses might feel safe utilizing an off-the-shelf solution and monitoring security internally. Certain factors, like location and product, can push owners to invest in a security system that is installed, monitored, and managed by professionals. 

Decide on a security system that meets the needs of your retail store according to these factors:

  • Selection of hardware, such as cameras, sensors, control panels, and hard drives

  • WIFI transmissions can be less reliable than hardwired transmissions of security footage.

  • Services offer various levels of monitoring. You can invest in 24/7 monitoring or have your system monitored when the business is closed and empty, for example.

Displays and Shelving

The key things to consider when it comes to displays and shelving are space, safety, and design. Safety is a top concern. Look for sturdy shelving that can hold up under constant use. The layout of your store will determine how many displays and shelving units you need. Plan for extra space if possible–you don’t want to run out of room to stock inventory and display products for sale. Customers will interact with displays every time they visit, so try to choose units that are approachable and consistent with your store’s overall design.

Sales supplies

Customers are hungry for an experience when they visit retail stores. Branded supplies like shopping bags, gift cards, and price tags might seem like small details. Tese supplies are central to the customer’s experience and memory of your business. Choose supplies that are consistent with your vision for your brand and find reliable suppliers so that you’re never caught without these essentials.

Cleaning supplies

The kind of cleaning supplies you need are unique to your retail store. Find a supplier that provides cleaning equipment and supplies at wholesale prices. If you need more heavy-duty equipment, such as a wet vacuum, consider whether you want to lease, finance, or purchase those pieces. Research the right kinds of cleaning supplies for your equipment. If you are working with food products at all, be sure to purchase food-safe chemicals and follow state food safety procedures.

Safety equipment

Employee and customer safety are first priority. Make a list of essential safety equipment for your retail store. Wet floor signs and exit signs are legally required in most places. And, if your employees are engaging in any kind of production, they need gloves, safety goggles, and any other necessities to keep them safe on the job. As always, a reliable supplier is crucial so that you have safety equipment and supplies on hand when they’re needed.

Point of sale system

Interactions between staff and customers revolve around a point-of-sale system. Invest in a system that sets the foundation for success and drives sustainable growth. The right point-of-sale technology processes payments in-store, integrates with online sales, and ensures a seamless customer experience. Invest in a customizable system so that you can tailor it to the needs of your retail store. As the owner, think about how your point-of-sale system helps you to manage inventory and SKUs, create barcodes, and monitor sales metrics.

Cost of retail store equipment

Your retail store’s equipment costs are a central part of planning for your new business. Taking the time to understand the funds you’ll need to get started is an important part of the process. Equipment expenses can run from $3,000 to $30,000 for a new retail store. Costs will vary according to the size of your store (if you’re opening a brick-and-mortar) and your store’s unique needs.

Front counter - $500-$2,000

Security equipment - $500-$4,000

Signage - $200-$3,000

Lighting -  $100-$4,000

Shelving - $500-$2,000

Displays - $300-$5,000

Technology - $500-$2,000

Buying used equipment and investing in maintenance can help to lower your overhead and recurring expenses. Consider the available financing options to keep your finances flexible.

You’ll want to shop around and find the best prices on the exact equipment you’ll need. That information will help you to build out the financial sections of your retail store’s business plan. Check out the template below for help building your retail store’s business plan.

Things to consider when buying retail store equipment

Not all equipment is equal. Shop around to find the best (and most cost-effective) equipment for your store. Consider the quality of equipment and ongoing maintenance costs of each piece, and shop around with different suppliers before when you purchase them.

Quality

The right equipment saves you time and money. The quality of equipment for your retail store will directly impact day-to-day operations. Your retail store’s sales and customer service will benefit from high-quality, user-friendly, and durable equipment. Don’t forget to consider maintenance costs for each piece. The best equipment will fade into the background–if the equipment is not working smoothly, that’s when your customers and staff will notice. So taking the time to make the best decisions here will pay off.

Space

If your business operates from a brick-and-mortar, the space you have will determine some of your purchases. Shelving and displays should fit neatly into the space so that they look natural. Think about how customers will interact with these units. Don’t let the space you dedicate to offices or storage be an afterthought. How your equipment works with the space you have can help your business operate smoothly.

Planning your business’s layout

There are lots of options for the layout of your retail store. Is a forced path layout or an open design that lets customers flow freely through the space better for your business? An interior designer or planner has expert knowledge about how customers and staff will move through your business. They can pinpoint the best places to attract attention where you want it. Where should the customers queue for service? What’s the best layout of aisles or displays to optimize the space? Consulting a professional to help you answer such questions can make sure your retail store is set up for success.

Use and cleaning

The best equipment will feel at home in your business. The best things are easy to use, clean, and maintain. Make a plan for how you will handle the wear and tear of day-to-day operations. Learning how to properly use and maintain essential technology, and training your staff on those procedures, can save you money down the line. Be aware of the kind of cleaning supplies necessary to keep everything looking nice and plan to keep those things on hand.

Suppliers

Where you buy equipment for your retail store is just as important as what you buy. Suppliers will have relationships with certain manufacturers. Build relationships with trustworthy suppliers that understand the unique needs of your business. When it comes to paper products, cleaning supplies, bags, boxes, and other necessary items, reliability is a key factor. You don’t want to be caught without those supplies because of a supplier issue.

Financing or leasing

Financing or leasing equipment can be a less risky option to get your business started. Financing helps your assets available and your finances flexible. For new businesses, leasing equipment or using business lines of credit can allow you to access higher-quality equipment than would otherwise be available.

New vs. used retail store equipment: Pros and Cons

Pros

New

  • Unused and free of wear-and-tare

  • Warranties or complementary maintenance

  • Up-to-date or cutting-edge technology

  • Modern aesthetic

Used

  • More affordable

  • Tested reliability and reparability

  • Classic aesthetic

  • More likely to find staff trained on the same machines or programs

Cons

New

  • Can be costly

  • Some machines and programs come with a steep learning curve

  • Less reliable and more difficult to repair

Used

  • Hard to be sure of how pieces were treated, might be worn down

  • Chance of becoming outdated and less efficient

  • Maintenance and repairs can be costly

Careful decisions about what equipment to purchase for your retail store can save you headaches and expenses down the line. These choices help you to manifest your vision for a retail store, and to keep it all on budget. This essential equipment guide moves you closer to the finish line.

Why Toast Retail is Perfect for Retail Stores

In today's competitive retail landscape, selecting the right technology is essential for both new ventures and established businesses aiming for success. Solutions like Toast retail not only streamline operations, making them more efficient, but also provide invaluable insights to optimize the financial health of the business. 

By harnessing the power of point of sale technology, retailers can gain a competitive edge, improve customer satisfaction, and drive sustainable growth. Choosing the right technology sets the foundation for long-term success, empowering businesses to adapt to evolving market demands and thrive in an increasingly digital world.

The tech that redefined restaurants is now here to transform retail. Supercharge your store with the POS built for high volumes and complexity, offering everything you need to run your business on one platform. Toast's retail offering is a game-changer for businesses like convenience stores, liquor stores, and retail stores, revolutionizing how they operate and interact with customers. Here's why Toast is the perfect fit for these retail environments.

1. Helps Modernize How You Sell

Toast's intuitive, cloud-based system simplifies daily operations. Its user-friendly interface makes staff training a breeze, ensuring seamless adoption across your team. Whether it's processing payments in-store or integrating with online sales channels, Toast ensures a smooth and consistent experience for your customers regardless of how they shop.

  • Intuitive Cloud-Based System: Our intuitive, cloud-based system is easy to learn and easy to use. Say goodbye to complicated interfaces and hello to streamlined processes. Toast is designed to simplify your day-to-day operations, from staff training to consolidated operations, ensuring maximum efficiency and productivity.

  • Seamless Payment Processing: Toast’s seamless payment processing easily integrates with online payments for smoother sales every time, no matter how your customers are shopping. This integration ensures a hassle-free experience for both customers and staff, leading to increased satisfaction and faster transactions.

  • Flexible Order and Checkout Options: Offer flexible and efficient order and checkout options with reliable hardware including handhelds, kiosks, and guest-facing terminals. Adapt to the diverse needs of your customers and reduce wait times at checkout with Toast's versatile hardware solutions, enhancing the overall shopping experience.

2. Streamline Retail Management

Efficiency is key in retail, and Toast delivers with automated, mobile-first inventory management. Say goodbye to manual inventory tracking and hello to SmartScan, a feature that enables quick product scanning and shelf placement. Managing thousands of SKUs becomes effortless with Toast's intuitive product database and bulk update capabilities.

  • Automated, Mobile-First Inventory: Experience the freedom of automated, mobile-first inventory management with Toast. Create and print barcodes in bulk, and take new products from scan to shelf in seconds with our SmartScan feature. Say goodbye to tedious manual inventory tasks and hello to streamlined operations.

  • Efficient SKU Management: Easily manage thousands of SKUs with our intuitive product database and bulk updates feature. Modify, reprice, and import multiple products at once, saving valuable time and resources. With Toast, keeping track of your inventory has never been easier.

  • Retail-Enhanced Dashboards: Stay on top of your business with retail-specific dashboards and cost-tracking reports. Monitor trends, maximize margins, and ensure your top-selling products are always stocked, empowering you to make data-driven decisions that drive profitability.

3. Tailor Your Customer Experience

Toast empowers you to tailor the customer experience to fit your unique retail concept. Whether you're considering adding food service or expanding your offerings, Toast's flexible platform accommodates creative expansion.

  • Creative Expansion Opportunities: Thinking of adding food service to your retail concept? Including Kitchen Display Systems and Order Ready Boards, our flexible platform allows for creative expansion. Explore new revenue streams and enhance the overall customer experience with Toast's versatile features.

  • Online Ordering and Delivery Integrations: Give your guests the option to order from home with Toast’s Online Ordering and our third-party delivery integrations. Meet your customers where they are and provide convenience that keeps them coming back, increasing customer loyalty and satisfaction.

  • Loyalty Rewards and Personalized Offers: Be your neighborhood's favorite shop (and incentivize repeat visits) with loyalty rewards and personalized offers. Transform one-time shoppers into loyal patrons by engaging with your community and offering enticing rewards, making your store the go-to destination for your customers.

In conclusion, Toast's retail solution is more than just a point of sale system; it's a comprehensive toolkit designed to elevate your retail store to new heights. From modernizing sales processes to streamlining management and enhancing the customer experience, Toast empowers retail businesses to thrive in today's competitive market.

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DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only, and publication does not constitute an endorsement. Toast does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, graphics, links, or other items contained within this content. Toast does not guarantee you will achieve any specific results if you follow any advice herein. It may be advisable for you to consult with a professional such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor for advice specific to your situation.