Do automatic doors help retail businesses?

Discussion in 'Retail' started by amy9, Dec 28, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. amy9

    amy9 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    83 5
    A client of mine is looking to renovate the front of their store, and they're thinking of replacing their doors with some that open automatically.

    While they've looked to me for advice, I can only really give my opinion. I believe that it's a good idea - to me automatic doors seem more welcoming, may reduce heating costs and make the store more accessible to customers with disabilities.

    But, to those with experience in the retail business - would you say it's worth it?
    Posted: Dec 28, 2011 By: amy9 Member since: Sep 12, 2011
  2. Philip Hoyle

    Philip Hoyle UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,232 1,084
    Personally, I don't like them and prefer not to use them if I have a choice. I always seem to end up stood there like a lemon waiting for them to open, not knowing whether they're working or not, and not knowing whether to try pushing or pulling them. It also seems to me that they cause a bit of congestion whilst people are waiting for them, especially if they're constantly opening and closing as there seems to be a slight time delay if they've just closed before they're triggered to open again.

    BUT, when I was wheeling around our son in his pram, I was grateful for them as it's not easy trying to open a door and navigate a pram at the same time, especially with some doors being quite stiff and hard to open. I would imagine they're also welcomed by the disabled.

    If the shop front is wide enough, or if there are more than one main entrance areas, I think, if it were me, I'd go for having both - i.e. the main central entrance being manual doors, but there also being an automatic door for those who need it, maybe to one side. That way you're covering all angles. But, I wouldn't think a shop was less inviting if they didn't have automatic doors or more inviting because they did have them. I think it will really depend on the shop itself and a decision made subject to their specific circumstances rather than talking in general terms.
    Posted: Dec 28, 2011 By: Philip Hoyle Member since: Apr 3, 2007
  3. sirearl

    sirearl UKBF Legend Free Member

    29,807 6,643
    Bit off track but I find many shops have very heavy door to open,which I find very off putting.

    I suspect it would be a better investment to make sure your doors open easily.

    Posted: Dec 28, 2011 By: sirearl Member since: Apr 23, 2007
  4. SGPS

    SGPS UKBF Regular Free Member

    168 31
    Id say it was a pointless expense? From past experience they arent cheap!

    A good, well hinged door with a comfortable handle should be fine
    Posted: Dec 28, 2011 By: SGPS Member since: Jun 15, 2010
  5. vvaannmmaann

    vvaannmmaann UKBF Legend Free Member

    13,112 3,369
    Your client may also have to contend with Planning Permission,which will add time and costs to the project.
    Posted: Dec 28, 2011 By: vvaannmmaann Member since: Nov 6, 2007
  6. Arhob1

    Arhob1 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    86 31
    Personally I like them as some doors are heavy and handles spread viruses. I think it gives a shop an appearance of being a bit more upmarket which could be important for the brand image?

    BUT ... poor return on investment, need maintaining so ongoing expense and they stop working now and then so to have a manual backup or alternative is still required.
    Posted: Dec 28, 2011 By: Arhob1 Member since: Jul 24, 2011
  7. Websitehandyman

    Websitehandyman UKBF Ace Full Member

    2,158 535
    This is funny because I was having much bemusement at a service station last night, standing just outside the main entrance with the dog.

    The were two large double doors, neither where automatic but you can see the problems these thing cause for most people. In this place one site was normal pull and push and the other for disabled persons had a button at waste level.

    So many people though the door for disabled was automatic then often went straight for that and almost banged noses against glass as the door didn't open without pushing the button :)

    Personally I don't think the automatic door is fully there yet, most are just too slow for regular customers when the open. Till we get Star Trek like movement I wouldn't bother. But I guess it's don't to rules and regs in the end, you have to provide access for all.
    Posted: Dec 28, 2011 By: Websitehandyman Member since: Nov 25, 2011
  8. mixolodian

    mixolodian UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    23 5
    Hi there
    I personally hate the manual doors, some of them require brute strength lol
    I think that wimpy men like myself like automatic doors, along with maybe elderly people.
    I think the likes supermarkets etc use them because they can also afford to get them fixed when they get faulty, so if you have them and they get stuck, they might put customers off from going back to your store, so it may not be worth while.
    Posted: Dec 28, 2011 By: mixolodian Member since: Dec 22, 2011
  9. Sophia Myles

    Sophia Myles UKBF Regular Free Member

    116 10
    I prefer automatic doors. They made me feel more comfortable because I usually hesitate before a door for two seconds thinking whether to pull or push it. But when the door is automatic, I just need to walk in. Besides, nowadays, these doors are getting more and more sensitive, I don't even need to wait anymore, they open before I arrive!
    Posted: Dec 29, 2011 By: Sophia Myles Member since: Dec 28, 2011
  10. mhall

    mhall UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,522 1,120
    We always just keep our door open, we have a decent curtain heater over the door if it gets really cold but we never shut the door, so an automatic one would be a waste of money for us.
    Posted: Dec 29, 2011 By: mhall Member since: Sep 8, 2009
  11. Strath

    Strath UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    308 20
    An interesting read. We've been in retail since 2005 and have always kept the doors of each of our shops open, all year around. If the doors are closed then the shops closed.
    Posted: Dec 29, 2011 By: Strath Member since: Jun 6, 2007
  12. mhall

    mhall UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,522 1,120
    Wow, that's an old Fine Fare saying, I remember them well :)
    Posted: Dec 29, 2011 By: mhall Member since: Sep 8, 2009
  13. Thinehost

    Thinehost UKBF Regular Full Member

    137 38
    It depends where you're trading; we face the sea and there are many months of the year when we manage to keep our shop door open. However, in the winter, the prevailing south-westerly wind and horizontal rain mean that we have to consider our customers and keep the door shut.

    There's a debate going on at the moment as to whether it's a sensible idea to have a supermarket on the pier at Helensburgh. One potential scheme had automatic doors facing the sea; this caused some merriment as experienced locals know that the pier car park can flood in the right conditions and that standing on the pier is practically impossible if the wind is blowing at gale force. There doesn't seem to have been a site visit by interested parties to study the feasibility of winter-time trade.

    I digress.

    There are times when having an automatic door is a wonderful help; however, if the decision is to be traditional and have a standard door, a little staff training might ensure that there's a member of staff who can keep watch and open the door for a struggling customer. Odd idea that ;)

    Posted: Dec 29, 2011 By: Thinehost Member since: Oct 25, 2011
  14. Rhyl Lightworks

    Rhyl Lightworks UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,536 425
    from the point of view of attracting customers, either on first or return visits, I woukl say it makes little difference to me or most people, whether the doors are automatic or not.

    If money is tight for the business, i woukl say don't fit them, unless they would pay for themselves in a few years through savings on heating costs and/or time, and there is a large customer throughput. If the business is generating lots of money and is looking for ways of spending it, by all means fit them.

    Posted: Dec 30, 2011 By: Rhyl Lightworks Member since: Aug 16, 2006
  15. amy9

    amy9 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    83 5
    Do you pay a lot for your heating, or are you cold in the winter?

    If it's the latter, I'd worry that a cold shop would put customers off also. They may enter the shop but then leave and go to the warmer premises down the road.
    Posted: Dec 30, 2011 By: amy9 Member since: Sep 12, 2011
  16. amy9

    amy9 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    83 5
    The business aren't struggling, nor have they got money to waste. Afaik they can afford it, it's just a question of whether it's a worthwhile use of their money.

    Do you have any idea how long it would take to see a return in terms of savings on heating costs?

    I've done a bit of research and can't seem to find any figures, just lots of information stating that they do save businesses money.
    Posted: Dec 30, 2011 By: amy9 Member since: Sep 12, 2011
  17. mhall

    mhall UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,522 1,120
    Staff can wrap up warm and if it's a cold day customers are in coats anyway. You only need to be a couple of degrees warmer than outside to make a difference. Nothing worse in my opinion than going into a shop in the winter and sweating beacuse the heating is on for the staff in their t shirts
    Posted: Dec 30, 2011 By: mhall Member since: Sep 8, 2009
  18. Root 66 Woodshop

    Root 66 Woodshop UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    4,951 1,335
    The only reason I'd suggest going for Automatic doors, is if you've been requested to for DDA specification.

    Automatic doors are not a money saver, they can cost a fair bit to install in the first place, a good set can cost between £5000 - £10,000 (based upon double doors) + VAT Anything cheaper than £5000 and I'd be a bit wairy of them myself.

    If your friend decides to take on Automatic doors, ensure that you have a good service contract on them, otherwise they'll cost even more to repair in years to come. A service alone can cost anything from £200 - £400 per year.

    Failing that,

    Invest in good quality door closers, these by law are meant to be installed on any door which is to be used as a fire exit, this includes entrance doors, it is these that are a money saver and a life saver (pending on the situation).

    If you don't have door closers installed, check with your fire officer, ensure that they are allowing the doors to be without door closers, if not you could be in for a whole lot of trouble in the case of a fire.

    Don't be shy on spending £100 per door closer, you can get them quite cheap to be honest, anything from £30 + but for a busy shop, I'd suggest a door closer with a dampner, these will give much more control when closing, and wont appear to be "slamming shut" on customers.

    A yearly service of your door closers shouldn't cost any more than an hours labour from your installer.

    Another thing you should consider is:

    Are your doors actually suitable for automatic operation?

    You might find that your existing doors are not suitable, by which means you'll end up forking out for new doors and frames on top of what you already may not need.

    Last thing anyone wants to do is spend a daft amount of money for no reason at all.
    Posted: Dec 31, 2011 By: Root 66 Woodshop Member since: Nov 22, 2011
  19. Rhyl Lightworks

    Rhyl Lightworks UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,536 425
    Probably because there are no hard and fast figures you can work out, (as you can for lighting for examole) it depends on so many variables such as how many times the doors are opened i.e. throughput of customers, how big the place is and how well it is insulated already, size and no. of windows, how the place is heated at present and how much they pay for it (electricity is propably still the cheapest to install but the most expensive to run, closely followed by gas and oil) etc., etc.

    In the end it probably comes down to a feeling of an experienced and independent heating engineer, but don't expect the savings to pay for themselves for several years - maybe measured in tens rather than single years, unless it has the customer throughput of a busy supermarket for example.

    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
    Posted: Dec 31, 2011 By: Rhyl Lightworks Member since: Aug 16, 2006
  20. helen@doorstuff

    [email protected] UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    39 0
    Interesting thread!

    While a good business case might be made for automatic operators on the shop front, there are so many variables you haven't detailed. The cost & suitability will be dependent on the site specifics, I would recommend chatting on the phone with some suppliers. We don't deal with autos, but I'd recommend GEZE UK or Easy Open Ltd - automatics have to be installed professionally to meet British Standards. See contact details on and
    Posted: Jan 2, 2012 By: [email protected] Member since: Jul 16, 2008
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.