Shipping Containers for Retail Businesses


At some point during their business operations, retail businesses will likely find a need for a shipping container. Retail is one of the top industries that rely on storage space throughout the year to operate efficiently. Businesses need to keep inventory stocked at all times – for instance, items that are seasonal or in high demand. At the same time, many retail businesses do not have the storage space internally to keep the stockpile they need. According to the National Retail Federation, storage containers “enable retailers to keep up with customer demand and manage a variety of inventory types”. Many businesses simply need storage containers to stay in business.

Top 5 Benefits

Here are some of the top benefits of using storage containers for retail:

Organize Inventory

Not only do retail stores need extra space to store their inventory. They need a large space so they can keep their inventory organized. Because they are constantly helping customers find what they need, retail employees need to be able to find inventory in storage quickly and efficiently. Storage containers for retail come in 20-foot and 40-foot sizes, so you can find a size that best fits your store’s needs. Additionally, you can add interior shelving to your shipping container, so you can easily organize your items. 

Cost Savings

Just about every retail business needs storage space. But the cost for extra storage can differ greatly, depending on the resource you use. Compared to off-site storage, both commercial and portable storage containers are more cost-efficient. You can rent them for certain periods of time at low monthly premiums. Then, you return them to the supplier when you no longer need them. If you see a long-term need and want to make a purchase, there are a variety of conditions and sizes to choose from so you can make sure you’re staying within your budget. To learn more about the cost of storage containers for retail, take a look at our storage container cost guide.

Flexibility to Fit your Needs

Another huge benefit of shipping containers is that they gives retail businesses the option to solve short-term and long-term storage demands. For instance, if you don’t know for how long you might need the container, you can rent on a month-to-month contract. Rental contracts can also span 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, or essentially any duration that best fits your needs. Additionally, you can purchase them upfront. This gives you the advantage of owning the container, and using it in whichever way you please. Then, you can resell it if you no longer have a need for it at your location. To learn more about shipping container rentals and contracts, take a look at our renter’s guide.

High-grade Security 

As a retail owner or manager, you may be concerned about the safety of your items in storage. Theft and shrinkage in retail stores is a huge issue. For instance, the National Retail Security Survey in 2019 reported that shrinkage caused about $50.8 billion in losses for U.S. retail stores the previous year. Without a secure storage unit, you are risking loss of revenue and putting the health of your business in jeopardy.

Luckily, storage containers provide superior security so you can rest assured your items will be safe, even when your store is closed. Shipping containers are built with high-grade steel and are secured with advanced locking mechanisms. Additionally, they are designed to be weather-proof and wind and watertight – which allows them to withstand even the harshest conditions.


Because shipping containers are portable, retail businesses can benefit in a number of ways. This means suppliers can easily and quickly deliver and pick-up the container at the beginning and end of your contract. This results in very little to no hassle for you!

Also, if you need to move the container or transfer it to another retail location, you can easily do so. Your supplier can handle the move at a very low cost. This gives your business a huge advantage, compared to using an off-site storage method, which cannot be relocated and will cost more to move your items.

Convertible & Customizable

Shipping containers are mobile and constructed with a high-grade, secure steel exterior that can be used flexibly as a building material. This makes them perfect to be converted as storefronts for retail businesses. They can house pop-up retail shops, mobile shops, or even stationary storefronts. Additionally, they can be stacked, combined, and customized internally to create numerous designs and fit just about any retail need. Retail businesses around the country are starting to use shipping containers to house their retail operations in leaps and bounds – due to their cost efficiency and versatility. 

Types of Shipping Container Retail Shops

Building retail shops with shipping containers is gaining popularity because of its convenience. They are extremely cost-effective, and you customize them with innovative designs and architectural layouts. Plus, you can combine or stack them to create the right size space you need. For shipping container retail shops, there’s everything from large warehouse-like stores to tiny pop-up shops that run with a kiosk. Anything is possible!

Here are some typical retail stores that are made with converted shipping containers:

Pop-up Shop

Pop-up shops are temporary retail spaces. They are designed to sell items for seasonal needs, events, holidays, or other limited-time circumstances. Shipping containers are great for creating pop-up shops because they can be delivered to your site, constructed quickly, and removed when the duration of your project ends.

Clothing Store

Many clothing retailers are now housing their business operations with storage containers. They enable business owners to keep their start-up costs low as they build a customer base. Shipping containers are great for small, local shops – like boutiques. You can also stack them to create multiple-story shops.

Gift Shop

Shipping containers are great for gift shops. For instance, if you need a gift shop for a museum, art gallery, amusement park, or outdoor shopping center, a shipping container can easily sit outdoors at your location.

Plant Shop

Because they can be easily converted to have an indoor-outdoor space, shipping containers are great for plant shops. This allows your plant inventory to get enough sunlight, while also welcoming customers to walk in and browse your products.

Learn more about the types of businesses you can start using a shipping container.

To explore shipping container options for retail, or for any other purpose, we are here to help. Our free service provides up to 5 shipping container quotes so you can compare your options with zero obligation to buy!

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