Which is the best retail marketing solution for you?
Types of permanent display solutions explained

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, 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 relevant solutions adapted to any context. From counter-top to specific 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 material 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, with a focus on permanent solutions, we go into detail on 2 groups: free-standing displays and fixed installations. Both are regularly used across a variety of categories of the FMCG industry.

Before you move on

For more than 25 years, we have combined imagination and industrial know-how to help brands and retail present their offerings and strengthen their communication instore. On top of trends, we offer relevant and specific display solutions, always in multi-materials (wood, metal, plastics, etc.) We study a brand's context and its retail challenge, and consider technical, aesthetic, and budgetary constraints for 100% custom-made permanent furniture.

Retail display, definition and meaning

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

Any brand manufacturer that sells goods through retail makes use of display. Merchandising specialists are usually the ones who design and implement them, e.g. when launching a product, an innovation, a promotion or a (re)activation. 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 item on monotonous shelves. By definition, when a client does not see an item, he does not buy it. Retail display units activate the offer in the physical environment by making it more visible, accessible and tangible. Research shows a higher commitment from buyers with what they 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 instore presentation that draws attention to its location. It exists separate from the fixed store installations and holds articles from which the consumer can shop. They effectively feature an offer into the shopping 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 everything neatly organized on specific shelves or blister hooks. They increase brand awareness and entice a visitor to inspect what is being displayed.

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

Floor display unit 'My spirits corner'
Floor display spirits selection
Display rack chocolatier Galler
Wooden sidekick display for biscuits brand

2. Isle unit

These are free-standing floorstands 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

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 visitors. To gain access to the articles, buyers 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
Display for electronics brand

4. Glorifier

Brands can design unique glorifiers to display their offering in a non-traditional way. Serving ornamental purposes with a exceptional visual experience, that is simultaneously attractive and informative to the customer, 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 qualities and features, buyers can find it on its home shelf.

-> Related article: Spirits & drinks: use a bottle glorifier to stand out in hospitality outlets

Examples of glorifier displays

5. Countertop 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 footprint.

-> Related article: Countertop display: the most direct advertisement

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

6. Store window display

Animations are set up in the window of a retailer to entice potential clienst to come in and take a look. These window displays are beneficial as they represent the retailer and can be the deciding factor on whether a passerby enters the store. They can create a visually attractive design that conveys a brand, an offer or the retailer.

-> Related article: Retail Window Display: Tips, Ideas & Inspiration

Shop window display for a personal care retailer
Shop window display
X-mas window personal care retailer
Valentine window display

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 packaging to be displayed. While they typically are made from metal, there are numerous options for brands to promote through graphics, scenery and attractive color schemes.

Gondola for a personal care set
Gondola nail polish
Gondola bath & beauty
Front-end gondola

8. Informational POP display

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

-> Read more The 2 pillars of in-store marketing: presentation and in-store communication.
-> Read more 7 types of in-store messaging ... and how they influence shopping behaviour?

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

9. Digital POP display

Digital strategies, along with technological devices in digital displays, create opportunities for traditional retailing (and brands) to orient choice, advise on 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

10. Shop-in-Shop (SIS)

In larger shops, shop-in-shops (literally, a shop within a shop), or corners, are used when a brand can dedicate a larger area entirely to selling a broad assortment. Because of the diversity of the physical spaces and for optimal use, modular design is a must. All kinds of modules with various functionalities are used as building blocks for the customisation of the assigned space. In these mini-stores, the brand can immerse prospects in its universe. They get the exact feeling that a brand wants to radiate, no matter which shop they are in.

Shop-in-Shop Balterio
Shop-in-Shop Berry Floor
Shop-in-Shop Look
Shop-in-Shop Tarkett

Retail shelving — explanation and examples

One of the most important factors of successful stores is the impact their fixed installations have on visiting public. 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 :

11. Retail shelving

Shelving units, or racks, are used to display and stock merchandise. They organize the shop floor in aisles and draw traffic patterns. They look neat and tidy and keep the assortment clearly presented and ordered.

Sometimes store shelves are to be adapted to the specific characteristics of the packackings being presented. This provides an opportunity to innovate with attention-grabbing design, accents, colour, light, graphics, layout and, above all, a flawless interaction with the merchandise. Instead of standard systems, brands can develop tailor-made racks that allow for a more dynamic presentation and a memorable visual experience for visitors.

(Read more: The most effective shelf management solutions explained)

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

12. Endcap unit

Paired with shelved units, endcaps are placed at the ends of the aisles. Since visitors pass by them when going from one aisle to another, they give a prime location to attract a lot of eyes — and passerby 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.

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

13. Checkout display

Shop visitors do not want to wait at the checkout. That is why supermarkets pay a lot of attention to a smooth scenario in the busiest zone for each shop, also in terms of merchandising. Checkout or front-end displays are low shelved units that require specific design and layout, among other things, to accommodate the diversity of the assortment.

(Read more: Front-end displays drive up-selling in the checkout area)

Front-end display Auchan
Front-end display Intermarché
Checkout display Auchan
Checkout display Cora

14. On-shelf display unit

An on-shelf display is any type of presentation that exists on a store shelf. They organize the allocated space to showcase, inform and interact with shoppers, put forward a novelty or a promotion, clarify or categorise an assortment, .... The physicality of these instore solutions 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 display Sephora

15. 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 an article and improves brand image. They're powerful instore marketing tool to bring an item into the spotlight within the aisle.

(Read more: 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

16. Sidekick display unit

Also called a power wing, a sidecap or an endcap side display, these are small point of sales solutions 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 items that may be consumed together. Placed in adjacency categories to drive awareness and impulse purchases, the customer no longer has to change aisles to get the complementary item.

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

Appealing display can make the difference between attracting a prospect or losing a customer to a competitor. Here at Pilotes, we believe in the power of premium display. Our 25 years of experience allows you to enhance the appearance of your choice in-store. Reach out today to set up a free consultation. We'll find the best solution for your brand.

Date: July 2020

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