The Benefits of Shipping Containers in Retail

shipping containers

Shipping containers already play a huge role in retail. Over 90% of the world’s goods are transported by sea, which likely includes some of your clothing. But now, shipping containers are trending in the retail industry, and for a good reason.

Shipping containers offer versatile solutions for industries such as business and construction. But how do shipping containers benefit the retail sector?

Wipe the image of standard steel shipping containers out of your mind, as there are a surprising amount of uses and benefits for retail. Read on to learn how they can benefit your retail business.


Versatile Uses

A shipping container offers a lot of potential for your retail business due to all the ways you can use it. It is far from only a shipping solution, with retail companies using containers in lots of different ways. Whether you rent or buy shipping containers, you know you can get creative and use them in the best way for your business.

Pop-up Shops

Have you wanted to change locations or sell off old inventory? Do you want a space at a festival that stands out from the crowd? Do you need to expand your space during a busy season temporarily?

Retail pop-ups refer to temporary retail shops, which retail businesses use for various reasons. They are becoming increasingly popular in the retail world, and some retail companies even use them as their permanent shop space. They are perfect for temporary shops at events such as festivals or markets to promote your business and sell products.

Other online retail businesses use shipping containers to have a temporary location or experiment with owning a physical shop location. Some shops find it is a great way to spread their reach or get to know a different place for their business.

Host an Event

A shipping container is perfect for setting up a temporary venue for an event. Along with attending events with a shipping container, you can also use them to host events. Maybe you want to showcase some of your new pieces or hold an event as part of a marketing campaign, such as a games event or a marketing focus group.

The possibilities are endless with a steel shipping container. It gives you the flexibility to utilize the space best for your purpose.

Retail Office Space

As your retail business expands, you must also have the office space to help manage it. Shipping containers offer temporary office solutions, so you do not have to worry about disrupting operations. You will have a secure mobile office space, which can be fitted with everything you need, such as heating and electricity.

A shipping container is also perfect for holding a training event when you do not want or cannot find another type of office space. You can also host a creative workshop in one, utilizing the space for creative expression.

Moving Tool

A shipping container is also one of the best ways to transport retail items when relocating easily. They can be transported easily, and you can have peace of mind that your items are secure. It is also perfect if you want to move around with your temporary pop-up shop or office space, as you do not have to worry about constantly setting up in new places; everything will be ready to go.

Extra Storage Space

What should you do with all your old inventory? Are you rapidly expanding but do not plan to move locations yet? Do you want to clear out your space or refurbish it?

A shipping container provides the extra storage space many retail businesses need for their materials and inventory. You can keep storage containers on your property, at your business, or in another location, so you have the flexibility to make it work best for your needs.

Kitchen Area

A shipping container can also function as a kitchen, which is perfect if you want to add a coffee shop or refreshments for customers. You can use it as a temporary or permanent space if you decide to buy shipping containers. It is the perfect way to experiment with new ideas, such as a coffee shop for your new business.

Brand Campaigns

You can also use shipping containers for marketing campaigns, targeting key locations. You can ensure your shipping container represents your brand well and leaves a lasting impression on the target audience. Shipping containers are also a great way to try an experimental marketing campaign, test out new ideas, encourage social media shares, or share other experiences with customers to see what will help your retail business grow.

Customizable Designs

The reason shipping containers can be used in a variety of ways is because they have flexible designs. For example, you can pick a specific size that works for you:

  • 6 foot
  • 8 foot
  • 10 foot
  • 16 foot
  • 20 foot
  • 30 foot
  • 40 foot
  • 45′ foot
  • 53′ foot

Small shipping containers are usually classed as those from 6 to 10 feet. Medium shipping containers are generally 20 to 40 feet. The large shipping containers are 45 feet and above.

Along with size, you have other ways to customize the design. You can add amenities to the shipping container, such as electricity, heating, and cooling systems. Add clothing racks, shelves, and other items to own the space.

Shipping containers have a range of possibilities, from double doors to refrigerated options. You can also customize elements such as flooring and internal and external branding.

Some retail businesses make more drastic changes to materials or build unique shipping structures such as adding decks and other features. It is best to talk to your shipping container provider directly to discuss your options.

Cost Savings

One of the main benefits of shipping containers in retail is that they are a cost-effective solution. You do not have to worry about leasing or buying a traditional office space, which might not work for your business.

The costs of your shipping container will depend on various factors:

  • Used or new container
  • Buying or renting a container
  • Customizable features
  • Size

However, shipping containers are still a cost-effective solution no matter what specific container you choose. You can experiment with different temporary locations and campaigns with less risk. Shipping containers are more affordable than traditional solutions, with flexible options for different budgets.

For example, you can rent or buy a used shipping container. You still have various containers to choose from; some are already kitted out with everything you need for your retail business.

Portable and Durable

Shipping containers are also easy to transport and relocate. Their portability is an excellent benefit for retail businesses. Whether moving location, running a campaign, or setting up a temporary shop, shipping containers are convenient to transport.

Their portability means you can stay organized and keep track of inventory. Everything can be kept or placed in the space and easily moved to the new location.

Shipping containers are also a durable option. Your items will be protected whether you are stationary or in transit.

Many are weather-resistant, so you can have peace of mind your items are protected inside the container. It is also perfect for events, as your container will appeal to passers-by looking for shelter from rain or other weather conditions.



Security is a priority for all retail businesses, with many different threats meaning you must take steps to keep staff, customers, and items secure. The National Retail Federation’s 2021 Retail Security Study found that retail theft is still prevalent, with the average burglary netting more than $7,500.

Shipping containers are a secure solution to protect your retail business. Steel shipping containers are designed to be durable and safely transport cargo. You can add different features to enhance security further:

  • Installing an alarm system
  • Using security cameras
  • Heavy duty locks

Maintaining your container and buying or renting shipping containers from a reputable brand will also help security. A reputable shipping container provider will provide quality options that are sealed, robust, and ready for use. Avoid costly security issues by investing in a shipping container solution you can count on.

Location Flexibility

One of the top benefits of shipping containers is having access to more locations. You can easily attend different events, have temporary pop-up shops, and move locations with ease. Some common locations include:

  • Marketplaces
  • Tradeshows
  • Art spaces
  • Festivals and other events
  • Parks, stands, and other outdoor spaces
  • Empty storefronts

What location you pick depends on your purpose of having a shipping container and local permissions. However, no matter the purpose or site, a shipping container will serve your business well.

For example, it can be challenging to know the most suitable location for your retail business without first testing out the area. Shipping containers allow you to test sites easily, spread the word about your business, and reach new customers. You do not have to worry about committing to a permanent space, which could negatively impact your business if you make the wrong choice.


What better way to advertise your business than using a branded shipping container? You can customize your container to represent your brand and appeal to passers-by. It is a great way to raise brand awareness, and you can be creative to ensure people check out the space or capture it.

For example, you can:

  • Have a photo zone for people to share on social media
  • Have interactive iPads for giveaways and to increase your email list
  • An immersive experience to represent your brand and wow customers
  • Offer a sale

You can get creative and produce an event that will leave a lasting impression on consumers. There is plenty of inspiration online for ways retail companies have utilized shipping containers for pop-up advertising. Even branding on the outside of the container helps reach a wider audience.

Easy Modifications

If you want to buy shipping containers or use them for multiple purposes, you do not have to worry about spending a long time modifying them. Shipping containers offer easy and quick modifications, which allows you to keep the space unique. You can add exciting features as you go and adapt to specific business needs.

Some parts of the shipping container you cannot change, such as the size or core layout. However, you can easily add another shipping container or utilize interior decoration to change the feel of the structure. There is less risk of retail downtime or costly renovations due to how easy shipping containers are to modify.

Rent or Buy Shipping Containers

The flexibility of shipping containers also includes their availability. You can choose to rent shipping containers on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. You will have access to a variety of different containers and have the freedom to try other options.

Some retail businesses choose to rent shipping containers when they need them. It can be the most affordable option, but it can be less flexible with how you can modify the container. However, renting is a great option if you only need a container for a specific event or are not sure what type of container you need long-term.

You can also choose to buy shipping containers for your retail business. Maybe you want more permanent containers that act as shopping containers, or you must use containers multiple times throughout the year. Some retail businesses choose to invest in containers for long-term use and to make them their own.

You can choose to either buy a used or new container. What you decide depends on your budget and shipping container needs.

The Best Shipping Containers for Retail

Shipping containers offer an array of benefits for multiple industries, including the retail sector. If you own a retail business, you should consider the ways you could benefit from using a shipping container.

However, be sure to pick steel shipping providers from a reputable source. Not all shipping container suppliers offer the same services and solutions. You want to select a reliable source that offers quality shipping containers suitable for retail.

TUFF Shipping Containers is a nationwide solution for shipping containers. We have served customers since 2009 and have worked with many retail businesses. Request a quote today to get started, and do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.


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