What Equipment Do You Need to Open Your Retail Store?

After you've nailed your business plan and financing, what retail equipment and supplies do you need to open your store? Here's everything you'll need for a smooth opening.
Apr 11, 2022 — 4 min read
What Equipment Do You Need to Open Your Retail Store?

What’s inside

  • A list of everything for your new retail store, all in one place.
  • Considerations to keep in mind as you get set up.

This article is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal, employment, or tax advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.

What do you need to open a retail store?

After going through the process of nailing your retail business plan, registering your business, acquiring licenses, determining your financing, and finding a location, you’re ready to take the next step and build out your space. But where should you start and what are your options? 

Having a well-equipped, connected, and easy-to-manage store is essential to setting up yourself, your staff, and your business for success. According to the Square Future of Retail report, 41% of consumers say they are likely to avoid businesses that don’t have staff or employees onsite to assist them, while 72% of retailers use or plan to use automation to decrease staff members’ hands-on time.

Here is the Square checklist guide for the types of hardware and tools you can use to get up and running.

retail hardware guide checklist

Download a PDF of the checklist here

Retail store supplies, inventory, and stock room


Good inventory management reduces costs, improves cash flow, and boosts your business’s bottom line — especially when it’s connected to a strong point-of-sale solution. You don’t need much to start and stay organized, but these tools will help.


Retail back office


It can be easy to forget about these basics when you’re starting out and focused on fine-tuning your product, but planning ahead will help your operations run smoothly while avoiding surprise expenses.


You might not need a traditional break room, but consider spaces dedicated to your staff. Giving employees an area to unwind with amenities — even small ones like comfortable chairs and a stocked fridge — is a nice step to attracting and retaining talent.

Retail display and fixtures


The specifics here will depend on what you’re selling and the size of your space, but this all comes down to two factors: letting your products shine and making it as easy as possible for your customers to make purchases the way that works best for them.


While these items aren’t quite essential, they can provide functional value while also enhancing the customer experience. After you map out the costs for all of your key purchases, you can see what else you need and are able to afford.

Point of sale (POS) system


Whether it’s a stand for your tablet, a mounted POS, a small mobile terminal, or a full register, your point-of-sale system is so much more than a tool for the essential task of processing payments. The best POS nails the basics while streamlining administrative tasks and tracking everything from sales reporting to customer engagement to inventory management. Here’s how to get started choosing the one for you.

retail hardware guide embed



Retail lighting, colors, furniture, and signs


Your product matters, but the vibe inside of your store can also play a large role in attracting customers. Make sure that you’ve invested in a lighting setup that makes your products shine any time of day, and find signage that fits your brand while selling your products clearly.


Have the budget to amplify your space a bit more? Small things can make a huge difference in retaining customers.

“For some reason, it sounds nuts, but having the plants that we have feels so welcoming the moment you walk in,” WTR Cooler Studio owner Ivana Cajina said. “And I know I may be biased, but there’s something about it. Every time someone walks in they go, ‘Whoa.’ Because you don’t expect it. It just feels good.”

Retail store marketing materials


While physical marketing tools aren’t essential items for your retail business, you should consider whether they’re useful for the business you’re starting and if they fit inside your budget. While digital marketing can be highly effective, a new retail store can get a boost from these items.


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