The countertop display:
The most direct product advertisement

Countertop display plays an important role to promote impulse driven brands and products. But how to develop a countertop display material that drives sales? That convinces and leaves a lasting impression? And what are the different types? Inspiration, tips and tricks with examples.

1 500 words — bh

Dynamic display, entirely build from metals, presenting a range of extreme sunglasses on the countertops of sport outlets. ©Pilotes

Brand manufacturers are always looking for effective ways to stand out on the countertops of stores, to arouse curiosity, enhance reputation, build loyalty, and to sell more. Functional display can play a role to encourage a quick and straightforward purchase. Stocked with merchandise at fingertips, it is a three-dimensional advertisement for itself.

Since many years we have been appointed by brand manufacturers to create and make, among others, countertop display units. We are happy to share some key-takeaways for the most direct product advertisement.

Countertop dispenser for chewing-gum
Countertop stocker for Stimorol chewing gum
Wooden countertop display for Santarome Bio

Before you move on

A contemporary and natural countertop display for the home fragrance brand DURANCE, with ash wood and light coloured highlights. ©Pilotes

Team Pilotes specializes in designing and producing custom solutions for point-of-purchase materials, display, merchandising, and retail furniture. And because we care climate and environment: at Pilotes, each project's eco-score is calculated with the aim of reducing its impacts 🌍🌿

Countertops generate additional sale at the end of shop visits

Most of us don't like shopping, right? We're looking at it as a task-based exercise. During our shopping trip we are flooded with information. What department and categories to visit? What assortments to examine? Sometimes we make decisions in a matter of seconds — the decisions not to buy drain us too.

We want our basket to reflect our values, a balance of what we came in to find and what stimulated our impulses. We have welcomed, or not, the later: serendipity is the shopper’s strongest ally.

Informative counterop display  Nespresso
Hollywood chewing-gum high volume countertop for supermarkets
Ggum on counterops

A compact dispenser for LOUBSOL ski & snowboard goggles. Commercial success guaranteed! ©Pilotes

As we walk towards the checkout our self-control is probably exhausted. We experience a general feeling of relief. We have successfully succeeded our visit. Possibly we deserve a reward, right?

The most successful stores know how to transform this mood into an additional sale. On their countertops they offer last-minute opportunities for an indulgent, impulse or latent purchase. All kinds of small articles are on display here — potential consequences of a bad buy are negligible.

Sweets, mints, chewing gum, chocolate, gadgets, and soft drinks spark an immediate urge when we see them, even if we weren’t looking for them. Or the merchandise reminds us of articles we have forgotten to pick up, such as batteries, lighters, lipstick, phone, and gift cards.

“In the field of consumer behavior, an impulse purchase is an unplanned decision by a consumer to buy a product or service, made just before a purchase”, Wikipedia
For the introduction in pharmacies of the premium brand OAK for essential oils this countertop device clearly plays on natural attractiveness. You only get one chance to make a good first impression and your products are no exception. ©Pilotes

If it reflects its theme, each store can adopt a categorical approach to generate impulse purchases. A pharmacy, for instance, is a destination. We come to fill our prescription. Until that mission is accomplished, we don't notice a single sign or display we pass. And when we've got some time to kill in the waiting line, we won't be distracted by anything else but the pharmacist. No wonder that around him, the offer transforms our gaze into an extra sale. With the right support behind and on the counter, health-and-beauty aids and over-the-counter cures sell themselves.

We refer to other articles on this website for the general tactics to adopt for any display. If the material pops, is distinctive, tailor-made, and reflects brand image, the hard part is done. Let's look here at some of the conditions for this specific location. After all, to be relevant, any display initiative may better be suited to store context and its intended location.

Countertops are 1st grade, and everybody wants a seat

Most of us only visit a fraction of a store. But, we all pass through the checkout zone. In the busiest zone, with the highest visibility, we form our last impression of the shop — and we will remember it best. This is why shops pay a lot of attention to the last point of contact with customers, also regarding merchandising.

This countertop device activates the TIGER BALM brand in pharmacies. It combines bamboo, metal and acryl for a premium presentation of five natural remedies. A golden front with an embossed logo conveys the brand's notorious history. This offer will not go unnoticed. Seeing is buying! ©Pilotes

To fully take advantage of the front row, the offering on display better be popular, easy to sell to all the visitors. It’s no secret that some stores are embarrassed by choice. Every day representatives come around with another super-great countertop display to offer. Shops carefully curate the strongest items and brands, that are supported by the best sales devices.

Pull up your socks, this is the toughest battleground in any store, but also the most rewarding. Each display placed brings in.

Countertops are tiny, but valuable

When you start designing your display, countertops are already jammed with stuff. This selling space has always been in short supply. And the materials better not obstruct the 1st priority: checkout operations by cashiers who greet hurried customers, as they come and go.

The need for space efficiency applies to any display initiative. For countertops in particular the balance between footprint, product and image is a real brain-twister. Because shoppers always focus on physical products, it is best to give priority to the experience (or the presentation) of the offer.

Nhoss countertop cabinet
Look Cycle KeoBlade glorifier
Countertop plinth for Innocent's This Water

Brand manufacturers want larger POP displays, which is understandable considering the relationship between size, consumer comfort, visibility and sales. Store owners, on the other hand, want smaller footprint; to distract waiting clients they want to broaden the check-out category with several items on not too tall devices. To meet the conditions of stores and consumers, displays come in many sizes, but none of them has been so successful that it has become a norm — and so, the game goes on.

This countertop display for confectionery brand CARAMBAR appeals to both the young and adult customer. It is made of injection moulded acrylic, a production technique that allows for surprising shapes and a modular design. ©Pilotes

If competition is tough, the location is precious. And all countertops are different. Any idea to optimise the space for your products is good to consider. For example, the display can be adapted to the different spaces available. From its early design stage, anticipate modularity in height or width.

However, modular design comes with a cost. And because display materials are polyvalent solutions without limits, it is important to match the solutions to the financial margin they generate. The content of your briefing can advance these condition early in the process.

And remember, an empty display is a dead display. The stock on display better is large enough to last until the next replenishment.

Countertops are the formula-1 pitstop, or not

Elegant and pristine design for this countertop spinner that introduces two innovative sporty lines for lingerie brands PRIMA DONNA and MARIE-JO. ©Pilotes

Because it is always busy at the checkout, everything revolves around quick choice. This is not the place for visitors to examine and compare brands. Remember that the aim of the countertop display is to trigger an impulse purchase. It is therefore better to use this type to highlight affordable products that can provoke immediate action. Because simplicity is key, in most cases, triple-A brands put their top sellers on countertops.

And what if the opposite is true? The countertop is also a good location to introduce innovations. Shoppers want physical sales surfaces to be interesting, with always something to discover. Specialty outlets can meet those expectations. On the countertop they show enthusiasm for items that are new and exciting, with sales associates nearby for a quick explication or word of advice.

What are the types of countertop display? + examples

The key to effective countertop display? 100% customization, because the solutions are multiple; there are many supports and devices, many variants of display.

Because of their diversity, it is good to know the different types and how they are used. The focus here is on functional display materials that can withstand the the wear-and-tear of the retail environment over a longer period of time (as opposed to cardboard or short-term promotional materials).

Stockholding countertop unit

Stockholding countertop display

Equipped with shelves, they allow for more than one type of product to be displayed.

countertop blister unit

Blister countertop display

Equipped with hooks, they are the right material to complement blister type packaging.

countertop dispenser


Dispensers always keep smaller items, gadgets and irregularly shaped products neat and tidy.

countertop glorifier


A glorifier aims to arouse curiosity by creating a visually remarkable image.

countertop cabinet or case

Countertop cabinet or case

They are closed on all sides by glass or transparent plastic windows to protect the most valuable articles from direct contact with shoppers.



A spinner is rotating, a space-saving feature.

Sommelier or plinth

Sommelier or plinth

A sommelier display, or plinth or bottle glorifier, arouses curiosity for alcohol and beer brands on the countertop of bars, restaurants, and hotels.
Find out more

Informative countertop display


Nicely designed informative display materials highlight the distinctive power of your brand. They are equipped with poster or brochure holders.

Logo material


The better option to make your brand stand out in a multi-brand environment is an attractive item that is purely focused on your brand or logo.