Experts in container rentals, sales & customization
Let us help you today! 800.686.9114

Retail Uses for Shipping Storage Containers

Share this Insight:


Start Today

Whether you are looking for container solution to Rent, Buy or Modify, our custom container solutions will be perfect for you!

Get A Quote

Buying retail storage containers is a great way to store items if your business needs more storefront space or is overwhelmed with excess inventory.

An overstocked inventory can reduce the square footage of your store and create a disorganized and unprofessional look for customers. It also makes it hard to find items and inhibits access to rooms that could be used for customer fittings, breaks or additional office space.

Retail shipping containers give you extra space so you can clear the clutter out of your store. These containers are versatile and useful for much more than just storage.

In this blog, we’ll discuss five ways retail businesses benefit from using storage containers to improve their operations.

5 Retail Uses for Shipping Storage Containers

From excess inventory storage to pop-up shops, here are five uses for shipping containers at retail businesses:

1. Retail Storage Containers for Extra Inventory

Two retail storage containers storing material at an outdoor mall.
Even if you don’t use your retail storage containers for advertising your brand, you can still use them to store critical materials close to where they’re needed.

Retail businesses routinely receive incoming inventory, whether it’s the latest clothing style or the newest toy on the market. In many cases, there’s more inventory than actual space. Keeping your inventory in-store creates clutter in your backroom, and sometimes on the sales floor.

However, if you’re storing at an offsite warehouse or self-storage facility, you must spend both time and money to travel back and forth for inventory management. Depending on the facility hours, you might not be able to visit earlier or later in the day, meaning you have to go during regular business hours.

Purchasing a shipping storage container provides quick and easy on-site access to your inventory. Instead of driving offsite, your retail storage container sits near your store, saving you valuable time.

And because you purchased your container, you have a wide variety of customizable features.

2. Staying Open During Renovations

Renovations are a frequent feature of business development. Even a well-designed business needs an occasional facelift. Adding a new coat of paint can attract new customers and solidify your business’ branding.

It can be intimidating to close down without knowing exactly how long it’ll take until you can open again. That’s why it might be worth considering using external storage solutions to help you stay open, even when your storefront is closed.

While this might not be possible for every business, it’s a worthy consideration for product-based retail shops. In these circumstances, a shipping storage container can store inventory outside of the renovation, keeping business moving while renovation work is underway.

However, if you’re planning a major rebrand, it might be best to close your location until you can reveal the rebrand in a grand re-opening. That way, your loyal customers can build excitement, and generate more publicity in the long run.

In these circumstances, you can use storage containers to organize inventory or renovation-specific equipment.

3. Retail Pop-Up Shops in Shipping Containers

In an ever-growing digital landscape and changing customer preferences, your retail store might need help attracting new customers or keeping current ones. Promoting your business is a must, especially online, but advertising can be expensive.

Custom shipping containers for retail have become a trendy tool that helps to heighten a brand’s presence. The easiest way is placing your business logo or painting your retail storage container in your business’ colors. But you can go even further than that with a pop-up shop.

Pop-up shops are temporary retail storefronts, usually done to highlight a brand launch, market a new item, or promote an event. Online retail businesses take advantage of pop-up shops. Not only does it allow current customers to browse in a physical location, but it also helps garner the attention of potential customers. But don’t think online businesses can only use pop-up shops.

Physical retail businesses can use pop-up shops to help announce new product lines or partnerships. Companies like Nike, Adidas and others have used pop-up shops for special promotions, product launches and marketing purposes.

These buildings come with their own regulations. Depending on your location, you may have to obtain a permit or proof that the structure is suitable for business purposes. We can make the modifications, but because we aren’t familiar with your area’s regulations on pop-up shops, we can’t provide you with permits. Please consult applicable local laws before continuing with a pop-up shop.

Here are 5 retail uses for shipping containers.
Retail shipping containers are fully customizable to give your retail business a distinctive look.

4. Standout (and Functional) Storage Advertising Your Brand

If you buy a container from us, we can apply your branding to the container’s exterior. An essential rule of marketing is that customers see your brand at least seven times before making a purchasing decision.

Another rule is that you need to get your message and brand in front of potential customers in several different ways. So, if your audience has already seen your Google ads, heard a radio ad, and seen your branded container, they’re more likely to turn into a lead than if you just ran ads on Google.

With frequency, the audience that sees your marketing will convert into more sales for your organization.

A retail storage container that has the company's logo on the side
A container with your company’s logo can showcase your brand, while providing utility to your retail store through cost-effective storage.

5. Shopping Malls and Marketplaces

Developers have taken the idea of pop-up shops to a more permanent level, creating unique shopping malls and marketplaces. For example, Boxpark, in London’s creative district, was the world’s first pop-up shopping mall created with shipping containers.

It’s made from 60 standard containers stacked two stories high and five rows across. Another example is Revolutsia, the first retail shopping mall in Wichita, Kan. It utilizes 36 shipping containers to create a one-of-a-kind, two-story development.

Purchasing a storage container for retail business can open different opportunities, from storing large quantities of inventory and growing your company to other locations to using a pop-up shop to promote your business brand.

6. Restaurants and Coffee Shops

Another innovative trend is using shipping containers for restaurants and coffee shops. Containers can be customized in several different ways to accommodate food service. A few restaurants and coffee shops worldwide have seen success running their business from a shipping storage container.

In Phoenix, The Churchill has cultivated its unique look in the city’s heart by using 20 repurposed shipping containers to provide a home to several locally owned restaurants, bars and shops.


Storage containers can be used for much more than just storing excess inventory and keeping equipment easily accessible. As demonstrated by the previous examples, you can utilize these sturdy steel boxes for pop-up shops, to advertise your brand or create unique and inviting spaces for your retail businesses.

Want to learn more about how a storage container might benefit your retail operations? At Southwest Mobile Storage, we make the process as smooth and straight-forward as possible.

When you call us, you’ll work with a reliable container sales representative for any questions you have. Contact us today, and we can provide you with a container quote, free of charge.

Related Content

5 Ways You Can Make Life Easier With Container Roll Up Doors
How Landscaping Professionals Can Use Shipping Containers for Storage
Guide to Customizing Shipping Containers for Commercial Business

Get A Quote Today!