14 Most Effective Types of Display in Retail
Which is Right for You? + examples and tips


With­in the field of in­store or shop­per mark­eting a lot of en­ergy is spent on the de­vel­opment of the most sui­table re­tail dis­play. Because an effective display can help in competing for retail support and because of its diversity, it is vital to know the different types and how they are used to making an impact on sales.

The key to an effective retail display ? 100% customization, because there are many good solutions adapted to any situation. From counter-top to shelving units, the return on your POP investment is well worth it ! The effectiveness of a display doesn't only rely on how spectacular it is. When done well, even the simplest can increase sales as long as it's part of a consistent merchandising and instore communication strategy.

In this article, we first give a definition of retail display and how it fits into the marketing communication mix. Then we will then go into detail on 2 groups: free-standing point of sales displays and fixed retail shelving. Both are regularly used across a variety of categories of the FMCG industry.

Before you move on

We are a team of point-of-purchase strategists, designers and production specialists. With over 20 years in retail marketing, we combine imagination and technical know-how to tackle our clients' point-of-purchase challenges with multi-material POP solutions, display and merchandising materials for brands and retail, 100% custom made.

Retail display, definition and meaning

A retail display unit is used in physical retail spaces to present or promote an offer to shopping consumers. Any instore, shopper or trade marketing strategy focuses, among others, on the appearance and the communication objectives of retail display. Often, it is the first point of contact between brand, product and shoppers.

Any brand manufacturer that sells goods through retail makes use of retail display. Merchandising specialists are usually the ones who design and implement them, e.g. when launching a product, an innovation, a promotion or a reactivation. They also make sure that they can withstand the expected function and lifespan.

Often, a consumer has been made aware of an advertising message broadcasted through out-of-store media (TV, radio, web, social media, magazines, mailings, catalogues, etc.). Once in the store, a retail display unit takes over: the presence of the material stimulates relevant memory structures and seduces shoppers towards the location of the product, consciously or not.

Given the high number of references, it is tricky to stand out between similar products on monotonous shelves. By definition, when a client does not see an offer, he does not buy it. Retail display units activate the offer in the physical environment by making it more visible, accessible, tangible ... Research shows a higher commitment to an offer shoppers notice first (selective focus).

Point of sales display unit — explication and examples

A point of sales display unit (POP, POS, point of purchase, instore, ...) is any free-standing product presentation that draws attention to its location. It exists separate from the fixed store installations and holds products from which the consumer can shop. They effectively feature an offer into the shopper journey in the middle of the aisles or throughout the store. Free-standing or stand-alone displays play an important role in any instore marketing or merchandising strategy. They are carefully designed to stand out on the shop floor, where the majority of purchase decisions are still made.

1. Floor-standing display unit (FSDU)

Stocked with merchandise, a stock-holding floorstand elevates the visibility and accessibility of the products being presented at the all-important moment of truth. Featuring eye-catching shapes, bright graphics and colors, and original material use, they look attractive with the products neatly organized on specific shelves or blister hooks. They increase brand awareness and entice a shopper to inspect the products that are being displayed.

-> Connected article: Why a floor-display should be part of any marketing mix ?

Floor display unit 'My spirits corner'
Floor display spirits range
Display rack for chocolate brand
Wooden sidekick display for biscuits brand

2. Isle unit

These are free-standing presentation materials that can be accessed from any direction. They are situated anywhere in the store where there is an open space. They are powerful displays since they break through traffic-flow patterns and keep shoppers engaged.

Wooden isle display for organic superfood brand
Spinner display
Compact display for chewing gum
4-sided floor unit spirits range

3. Display cases

A display case (or cabinet) is a kind of free-standing display unit that is closed on all sides by glass or transparent plastic windows. It protects the most valuable articles from direct contact with shoppers. To gain access to the products, shoppers may have to contact shop associates who will retrieve the item from the display unit. Because of their security, high-end items that are prone to theft will often find their way into these displays.

Bi-color display cabinet for a telecom brand
Showcase display for toys '50 year anniversary'
Display case for e-cigarettes range
Display for electronics brand

4. Glorifier

Brands can design unique glorifiers to display their product in a non-traditional way. Serving ornamental purposes with a exceptional visual experience, that is simultaneously attractive and informative to the shopper, glorifiers represent the perfect platform to set a product in scene with almost unlimited possibilities regarding shape, design and material. Since glorifiers are only intended to theatrically bring out the product qualities and features, shoppers can find it on its home shelf.

Examples of glorifier displays

5. Counter-top display unit

A counter display unit is a stand-alone presentation, usually with smaller items. Placed on a shop counter or a table, it encourages consumers to purchase spontaneously. They are a great way of showcasing products instore without utilising floor space.

Counter-top for candy
Counter display for glasses
Counter-top for bandaging aids
Counter-top stand for food supplements

6. Window display

Animations are set up in the window of a retailer to entice potential customers to come in and take a look. These displays are beneficial as they represent the retailer and can be the deciding factor on whether a shopper enters the store in the first place. The can create a visually attractive design that conveys a brand, a product or the retailer.

Shop window display for a personal care retailer
Shop window display for a chocolate brand
X-mas window personal care retailer
X-mas window display chocolate brand

7. Gondola display unit

Gondolas are larger 1 to 4-sided, free-standing shelving units that appear in larger open areas of a store. Meant to house items for as long as needed, they can have repositionable shelves which allow for more than one type of product to be displayed. While they typically are made from metal, there are numerous options for brands to promote the offer through graphics, scenery and attractive color schemes.

Gondola for a personal care range
Gondola nail polish range
Gondola bath & beauty range
Checkout gondola

8. Informational POP display

This category covers all the signage materials to guide and orient visitors, but also to inform them about product features, benefits, technical information, use, etc. The materials do not always refer to a product. In practice, the distinction is not always straightforward ...

Fisher Price toy guide
Sunbrella material catalogue
Beka bedding materials & accessories guide
Berry Floor library

9. Digital POP display

Customer-centric digital strategies, along with technology, offer opportunities for traditional retailing (and brands) to orient customer choice, advise on product features, help to sell, make the most of the (limited) physical space, ...

Sephora virtual shelf
Info kiosk La Poste
Shelf unit with multimedia screens
Smart shelving

Retail shelving — explanation and examples

One of the most important factors of successful stores is the impact their fixed installations have on shoppers. Every detail has been thought-through for a subtle game of seduction and conversation. Thanks to a pleasant scenery and a clear layout, customers will stay longer or come back more often. Here's some of the most common attention-grabbing options :

10. Retail shelving

Shelving units, or racks, are used to display and stock merchandise. They are solidly constructed with steel free-standing brackets to which adjustable shelves are attached, often with a high load-bearing capacity,

Single or double sided, these storage systems are used to organize the shop floor in aisles and to draw traffic patterns. Organized in appearance, they neatly display products on shelves, hooks, baskets ... They can be equipped to communicate with shoppers, divide merchandise into categories, save time when replenishing, reduce out of stock ...

(Related article: The most effective shelf management solutions explained)

Retail shelves are often adapted to the buying patterns of a category. This exercise offers the chance to innovate with attention-grabbing aesthetics, shapes, light, materials, graphics, layout and above all, a flawless interaction with the items being presented. Rather than standard shelving systems, brands can develop custom modern-style store racks that allow for a more dynamic presentation, space-efficiency and a memorable shopping experience for their customers on top of it all.

Custom shelving for spice range
Retail shelving for color cosmetics
Gum shop-in-shop 'pleasure break'
Shelving for home fragrance brand

11. Endcap unit

Paired with shelving units, endcaps are placed at the ends of the aisles. Since shoppers pass by them when going from one aisle to another, they give a prime location to attract a lot of eyes — and shoppers walking through the main alleys can see products without even going down the aisle. As with gondola shelving, end cap units are sturdy, heavy duty retail shelving options that can handle heavy merchandise.

Endcap for a chocolate brand
Generic endcap 're-brandable'
'Tornado' endcap for a chewing gum brand
Endcap for a chocolate brand

12. On-shelf display unit

An on-shelf display is any type of product presentation that exists on a store shelf. They organize the allocated space to showcase products, inform and interact with shoppers, put forward a novelty or a promotion, clarify or categorise an assortment, .... The physicality of these materials allow for unrivalled creativity. Shelf-edge trays and frames can be used to break through the visual monotony of retail shelving.

On-shelf frame for a biscuits brand
On-shelf material for matcha tea
On-shelf unit for canned vegetables
On-shelf tray for a fragrance brand

13. Shelf stopper

A shelf stopper (or a shelf talker) is the signage material you see sticking out perpendicularly to aisle shelves. Similar to a wobbler, it increases the stopping power of a product and improves brand image. They're powerful instore marketing tool to bring a product into the spotlight within the aisle.

(Related article: 5 tips to stand out on retail shelving with a shelf talker)

Shelftalker for spirits
Shelftalker for spirits
Shelftalker for spirits
LED shelf talker for spirits

14. Sidekick display unit

Also called a power wing, a sidecap or an endcap side display, these are small point of sales materials designed to efficiently maximize the use of space. They give the chance to get a product on shelves beyond primary placement, or simply to add a few extra facings. They are also ideal for cross-merchandising as they can bring together products that may be consumed together. Placed in adjacency categories to drive awareness and impulse purchases, the shopper no longer has to change aisles to get the complementary product.

Sidecap display for a chewing gum brand
Sidekick for chocolate single bars
Cross-merchandising wing for fabic softener
Clip strip for a chocolate brand



Have the advantages of retail display units aroused your interest? Reach out today, we will gladly discuss the possibilities for your product.

Date: July 2020

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