On-shelf visibility:
5 tips to stand out with a shelf talker


iven the high number of references, the visibility of articles on retail shelves is low. Shoppers don't buy products they don't see!

According to a shopper behaviour study using eye-­tracking in the impulse-sensitive biscuits department of an Italian super­market, 100 participants see on average not more than 28 of the 193 articles offered. An impressive 85% of the offer remain unseen by the individual shopper, who visit the department for about 70 seconds.(link)

A shelf talker is undoubtedly the most used merchandising material to bring your product into the spotlight on retail shelves. It is a powerful communication solution. Since this type of POS material is perpendicular to the shelf, it saves items from the relative anonymity of the shelf.

Creating disruption on the busy shelves of supermarkets, a shelf talker drives awareness for the shopper to discover your new product, brand, packaging, promotion and message. A shelf talker makes it possible to differentiate an article from its neighboring competitors and to display it in its own brand universe.

Before you move on

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 🌍🌿

What is a shelf talker ?

(Alt: shelf stopper, shelf barker, on-shelf material, shelf communication, ...)

innocence shelf talkerA shelf talker is an extra-visibility solution that is fixed on retail shelves. The function of this POS material is to intercept the attention of a shopper scanning the shelving … and to eventually stop him.

A shelf talker is used to put forward a novelty, a promotion, to clarify or segment an offer, or to contribute to the display of a product. It is a signage or a visual communication, usually perpendicular to the shelf. According to studies, a promotion carried by shelf talkers can multiply sales by 2 to 4 times.

Shelftalker can be promotional, for example implemented as part of a promotion or a product launch. In this case, the shelf talkers are most often made of flexible, light materials which will withstand for a few days or weeks (PVC, PET, PP). The printed shelf-tray is generally divisible to adjust to the number of facings presented on the shelves. A shelf-tray is sometimes fitted with magnetic strips which allow the material to remain in place on the shelving.

basic shelf stopper

Classic printed shelf talkers with adjustable width

But a shelf talker can also be made from durable, more noble materials, such as woods, metal, plastics ... to preserve a permanent space for the brand, almost a mini shop-in-shop on the shelf. We have seen these on-shelf materials to remain months to a few years.

shelf stopper durable materials

Semi-permanent shelf talkers and shelf-tray made from woods, metal and plexi

What are the benefits of a shelf talker ?

  • Increase instore visibility and intercepts the attention for your article or brand
  • Encourage impulse or latent buying
  • Great stopping power and it looks great
  • Define and preserve allocated shelf space
  • Help shoppers to locate an article on the shelf
  • Build brand recognition
  • Differentiate an offer from competing offers
  • Opportunity to tempt consumers with your brand storytelling
  • Add a supplementary merchandising service (segmentation, face up, ...)
  • Build confidence to buy

Communication on the shelf your sell from, more commonly known as the last meter communication, is the last opportunity to tempt shoppers. A well-designed shelf talker will orientate and help consumers through the final step of their purchase journey. Between two competing offers, the shopper will undoubtedly choose the one that caught his eye first. Though a shelf-shopper can be as simple as a sheet of printed, folded plastic, it takes on powerful dimensions as soon as its design is pushed a little further.

shelf stopper johnnie walker

Two shelf talkers create a frame around the offer, adapted to the allocated space, and create a mini shop-in-shop on the shelf

How to stand out on retail shelving ?

The exercise is not simple, but it is possible (and rewarding) to express your brand within the limited space of a retail shelf.

Here's 5 tips to do just that !

1 - Use materials

Wood, metal, plastics, … materials, contrast and texture can enhance your display and carry perception of quality, value and emotions. A well-chosen material, matched with the brand's DNA, can immerse shoppers in a product's universe. Also, material can bring a touch of authenticity.

shelf stopper bulleit

For this Bulleit shelf talker we used brushed metal, nuts and a wooden look, matched with the brand's DNA

shelf stopper talisker and captain-morgan

Ropes inspire the sea and bring authenticity to this Talisker and Captain Morgan shelf talker

shelf stopper tanqueray

For this Tanqueray shelf talker, we used a plastic reminiscent of molded glass from the '30s, corresponding to the universe of the brand.

shelf stopper tanqueray

Premium on-shelf material for Cardhu: black finish, natural wood and brass

2 - Use light

To grab the attention of shoppers even more, it is possible to use LED. LED light is always an elegant attention-grabber on any POS material. Use continuous light or light effects (variations in intensity, colours or flashes) to catch the eye and enhances products.

Led-illuminated  tray for Belvedere vodka

Shelftalker with LED for Belvedere

3 - Optimize space

The shelf situation in retail is highly competitive. Any idea to optimize the allocated space, is worth taking. Why not take advantage of the space available above or below the articles? Or create a podium to raise your article and enhance it?

on-shelf display

On-shelf material with adjustable width. The limited height of the mini-bottles allowed to create a podium and extra communication on the edge

on-shelf tray Chivas

Chivas on-shelf material: the low height of the bottles allows for the items to be raised

4 - Add a service

By optimizing space, it is possible to offer an additional service, such as space for discount vouchers or recipes. Or add merchandising materials, such as dividers, pushers or gravity trays, to face up the articles always ready to jump of the shelf edge.

on-shelf display ready-to-drink cocktail cans

On-shelf material for ready-to-drink cocktails, always faced up

on-shelf display coca cola single cans

On-shelf material for Coca Cola. The low 6-packs are elevated to make space for single cans, always presented in front on a gravity shelf.

5 - Disrupt the monotony

An activation frame is another good example to break the monotony of linear shelving. To theatralise a location, to communicate categories or products, there are many good reasons to frame a particularly attractive area.

shelf frame

An activation frame can effectively enhance a space on any shelving

We would be delighted to assist you in the development of your next on-shelf material. Contact us to take advantage of our expertise and our 25 years of experience!

Date: July 2020 — bh