What Are Slatwall Panels?

Getting your store appearance right is crucial for any retailer. With research showing that shoppers see store atmosphere as the most important factor when deciding where to shop, it pays to put some thought into what kind of fixtures and fittings you’ll use to give off the right impression.

Slatwall panels are one of the most popular shop fitting options currently on the market. The panels are smart, easy to use and displays can be customised, making them suitable for all types of retailer from large chain store to independent boutique.

Slatwall – the basics

Slatwall is a shop fitting material that consists of a panel with a series of horizontal grooves that are typically either 100mm or 150mm apart. These grooves are fitted with 1mm thick aluminium inserts and can accommodate brackets for slatwall shelving as well as a range of accessories to create a variety of shop displays.

The panels themselves come in different sizes and are usually made out of medium density fibreboard (MDF) or, in the case of many slatwall gondola units, commercial grade metal. MDF is a popular shop fitting material due to its affordability and good strength to weight ratio. The MDF used for slatwall fittings is usually about 18mm thick, giving it a strong load-bearing capacity. MDF panels can be used in their raw, unfinished state or can be given a finish for a more eye-catching touch. The material used for finishing is usually melamine, which is a low-cost, low-pressure laminate (LPL) available in styles such as:

  • woodgrain (beech, oak, maple)
  • paint (a range of solid colours)
  • premium quality paper

Most MDF slat panels can be purchased as finished products so you won’t need to worry about getting them finished yourself. Metal units come in either a white or black finish and are highly durable, with the capacity to hold heavy loads and large bulky items.

The groove spacing is the measurement between two grooves on the panel. 100mm groove spacing allows for greater display flexibility and for more products to be displayed, although 150mm spaced panels are suitable for most display needs.

Brushed Silver Slatwall (CSW7BS) Half Panels 2 x 1200mm(w) x 1200mm(h)_

Types of slatwall display

The biggest decision you will need to make concerning a slatwall purchase is what type of display to opt for. There are two general types of slatwall system – fixed wall panels and free-standing units. Which one to go for will depend on how you want to lay your store out. Many retailers choose a mixture of the two if they want to have both wall and aisle displays.

Fixed wall panels

These retail slatwall panels are usually MDF panels that attach to wall space in your shop and can then be used with shelving and accessories to create displays. You will simply need to decide on which finish, groove spacing and panel size, as well as how many you want to install. Most panels come in two different sizes – 1200mm x 1200mm and 2400mm (width) x 1200mm (height). You will need to measure up your available wall space before making a decision. You can install fixed wall panels yourself, or you can hire a professional. This is recommended if you don’t have experience in dealing with these sorts of fittings.

Free-standing units

Free-standing units are more flexible as they can be placed anywhere in the store, allowing you to get creative with the layout design. The most popular free-standing units are gondola units. These are usually metal panels that stand on a base with legs. Gondola units come in an assortment of sizes and styles to suit individual requirements. They are easy to assemble so do not usually require professional help. Popular styles include:

  • Single-sided units which can be placed against walls
  • Double-sided units which can be used to create aisles
  • Deep base units with extra free-standing display space
  • End bays that attach on the end of standard units
  • Corner bays that link two standard units at 90 degrees to create a corner display
  • 4-way gondola stands

Benefits of slatwall

  • Durability – both MDF and metal panels are tough, will last a long time if looked after, do not damage easily and can cope with heavy loads, whether that be large quantities of items or individual heavy products.
  • Versatility – Slatwall can be used to display pretty much anything in a variety of ways (traditional shelving, hangsell, display stands, etc.) and is suitable for all types of retailer, from newsagents and pharmacies to boutique clothing stores and gift shops. The range of unit styles available offers great flexibility when it comes to store design too.
  • Affordability – As slatwall products are made with fairly low-cost materials, the price is kept reasonable for retailers and units are a popular choice with those looking to work within a budget.
  • Attractiveness – slat panels look neat and give stores a clean, elegant look. The higher end finished panels look great on the walls of boutique stores, while metal gondola units help shops keep goods well organised. Shelving is easy to keep clean too, so dirt and dust is unlikely to be a problem.
  • Practicality – easy to use for both customers and staff. Shelving and accessories are easy to assemble. No tools needed, just slot items into the grooves and you’re done. When it comes to rearranging displays, you just slide things out and reorganise. No drilling, screwing or banging.
  • Saves space – slat panels and accessories enable retailers to stock large amounts of varied merchandise on wall and aisle units, minimising the need for cumbersome containers taking up space on the shop floor. Everything is kept tidy and there is more browsing space.

Slatwall accessories

Slatwall accessories are what really make this shelving type the flexible option that it is. There are a range of instruments and add-ons that can be used and interchanged within minutes, which is brilliant if you have ever-changing product lines or just fancy giving your store a face-lift every once in a while. Accessories available include:

Metal display fittings

  • Prongs and hooks – available in various sizes that can be used for hangsell displays to showcase anything from handbags to packaged tools and toys.
  • Hangrails – commonly used for clothing products.
  • Faceouts – for front-facing clothing displays.
  • Waterfalls – angled and fitted with balls or pins for more organised front-facing clothing displays.
  • Picture hooks – can be used for merchandise such as pictures, frames, mirrors and clocks.
  • Slatwall brackets – for attaching glass or melamine shelves.

Acrylic fittings

  • Flat shelves – available in different sizes, can be used for lighter items such as ornamental or electronic goods.
  • Angled shelves – slanted at angles towards the customer, perfect for books and magazines.
  • Shoe stands – small individual display stands for shoes and trainers.
  • Bins – can hold small, loose or awkwardly-shaped goods such as small fluffy toys.
  • iPad/mobile phone stands – angled for more effective display of electronic goods.
  • Greeting card racks – 3 or 4-tier stands for cards and similarly-sized products.
  • Brochure and sign holders – for promotional literature or shop notices.

Wire fittings

  • Mesh wire shelving – available as flat or angled shelving. Great for products in stores such as newsagents or petrol service stations.
  • Mesh wire baskets – available in various sizes and depths. Can be used for loose or packaged products.

Slatwall panel costs

Slatwall shelving is a good choice if you’re operating on a budget or if you are looking to get a good return for your money. As there is such a wide range of products on the market, it is not surprising that slatwall panels price varies. But in general it is a good value option and is a lot less expensive than many other shop fitting alternatives. Depending on your store size and needs, fitting an entire shop space out with slatwall and accessories can cost anywhere between $1000 and $50,000, possibly more for very large retail spaces.

Here is a rough cost outline for individual products:

  • Fixed wall panels – between $80-165
  • Single-sided gondola units – between $105-305
  • Double-sided gondola units – between $195-525
  • End bay units – between $165-310
  • Corner bay units – between $170-370
  • 4-way units – between $290-670
  • Glass or melamine shelves – between $5-20 per shelf
  • Metal accessories – mostly under $10
  • Acrylic accessories – from around $10 for small individual shelves to $100 for greetings card racks
  • Wire accessories – between $10-20

Are you a retailer looking to fit out or refit a shop space? Contact Shopfittings Direct on (02) 8608 5122 or email us at sales@shopfittingsdirect.com.au. One of our experts will get back to you as soon as we can. We sell all contemporary shop fittings, shelving, and accessories including a wide selection of slatwall panels for sale. Our business is based in Sydney but we supply our products to retailers of all kinds across Australia, including Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.