Adding Custom Retail Displays to In-Store Marketing Plans

6 minutes
Katie Kochelek
Woman holding a pair of glasses in a retail store

Adding Custom Retail Displays to In-Store Marketing Plans

6 minutes
Katie Kochelek
Woman holding a pair of glasses in a retail store

When developing an in-store merchandising strategy, brands must consider more than just product selection and placement. Investing in custom retail displays to showcase those products is equally as important.

Following, we reveal why branded retail displays are so effective in the store environment and discuss essential factors to consider when designing, pricing, and rolling out these displays at retail.

Lift Sales and Increase Brand Exposure

A First Insight survey reports that 78 percent of men and 89 percent of women make additional ‘impulse’ purchases when shopping in-store.

With many brick-and-mortar shoppers purchasing unplanned items, it’s no surprise custom retail displays are a critical tool to increase sales and build brand awareness.

“Branded retail displays cause shoppers to pause,” says Cheryl Lesniak, Director of Marketing at Frank Mayer and Associates. “And once you have their attention, not only does brand detection begin, but the likelihood of a purchase increases.”

In fact, according to a 2016 white paper by Shop!, custom store displays in mass-market retailers accounted for a 32 percent increase in sales.

This can be attributed to display design and features that set products apart from competitors on the shelves. In addition, retail displays frequently secure prime placement in stores. Specifically, freestanding displays and end caps are often positioned in areas with high visibility.

Displays for retail can require careful planning, but they’re a worthwhile investment for brands looking for exposure and good ROI on their in-store marketing.

Ability to Customize to a Brand

Everything from colors to unique designs to materials can be significant when representing a brand.

A custom retail display is an extension of that branding and can educate customers about a brand and convey trust to shoppers who already recognize the name.

When a brand is consistently represented across all platforms, revenue can increase by up to 23 percent.

In addition, custom-built displays will also showcase a product properly, whether that requires special lighting, a secure cabinet, or reinforced bracketry to demo the merchandise.

Instead of opting for stock retail fixtures or getting lost on a box store shelf amongst competing brands, businesses should stand out with a custom store display that demonstrates their identity.

Designing the Right Kind of Display

When it comes to custom retail displays, brands have myriad options for design and display type.

“First, brands must determine what style of display will be best,” Lesniak shares. “If a company is looking to merchandise small items, a counter display might make most sense. On the flip side, if a company has multiple SKUs that need differentiation, a wall merchandiser with graphics and educational copy would be a better fit.”

Once a style of display is determined, additional factors will influence pricing.

“A good retail display manufacturer will guide you through the process,” Lesniak says. “Knowing the price of materials and finding the best option to still achieve your desired look is key, especially during a turbulent supply chain.”

Often, saving time and money doesn’t have to sacrifice a brand’s vision or display design.

“Today, there are numerous ways to cut costs or circumvent long lead times regardless of the type of store display and design you need,” Lesniak confirms. “Open communication with your display supplier will ensure it’s a seamless rollout.”

Why Cheaper Isn’t Always Better

Sometimes, the word “custom” deters people from embarking on a program from the start. This is because they equate a branded retail display with being expensive.

Stock and temporary displays will certainly be cheaper than a custom permanent option because manufacturing mass-produced displays or using inexpensive materials undoubtedly saves on costs. However, going this route isn’t always the wisest option.

“Unless you’re a store needing general fixtures or display racks, brands should avoid buying stock displays to showcase their products,” Lesniak says. “When a company has spent time and money on building brand recognition, failing to carry that same energy into in-store marketing efforts would be a mistake.”

In addition, temporary displays are often best reserved for short-lived promotions or seasonal products.

“Of course, there’s no need to invest in a permanent store display for Halloween items,” Lesniak explains. “But, if you’re merchandising product that is relevant year-round, temporary displays won’t endure the daily wear and tear at retail.”

When pricing for custom display projects, it’s important to remember that even amongst permanent retail display manufacturers, the cheapest bid isn’t always the best.

Frank Mayer Account Executive Eric Roth explains, “When looking to launch your next in-store display, you’re most likely going to shop around. If you are a premium brand, I would strongly caution against automatically going with the lowest bid.”

“Yes, you may save 15-20 percent by going with the least expensive supplier,” he adds. “But, if you’re saving that much, the materials and manufacturing methods used are going to cost you in the long run.”

High quality displays come at a cost, but one that’s worth the investment.

“The cost of a custom retail display that shoppers will see and interact with is generally a drop in the bucket of the overall marketing budget for a product,” Roth asserts. “Yet, studies by the Retail Institute, SHOP!, and others show the in-store interaction is often the catalyst to convert a ‘just browsing’ client into a sale.”

In the end, procurement teams must make sure they aren’t sacrificing quality and brand identity when entertaining project bids.

In-Store Display Checks

Developing a display program can be extensive, but it shouldn’t end once those displays hit the aisles. Coming up with a plan to check on displays in the field is critical.

“You wouldn’t buy a new car and not get a regular oil change,” Lesniak simply states. “Installing displays at retail is only the first step. You’ll want to invest in regularly making sure the displays are working as intended.”

Retail displays are powerful representations of a brand. If video loops are glitching, lighting isn’t working, or a shelf is broken, shoppers are forming a powerful observation of the brand and merchandise. This poor initial perception, in turn, can lead to lower sales and a decrease in product loyalty.

“It’s not always the most glamorous part of rolling out a display program,” Lesniak says. “But building display checks into your strategy is necessary to confirm you’re getting the greatest return on investment.”

There are companies that specialize in providing these types of in-store checks to ensure merchandise is stocked and properly displayed on retail displays.

The Case for Custom Retail Displays

With in-store shopping being the preferred channel for 82 percent of Millennials, who are today’s largest consumer base, it’s crucial for a brand to be at retail. Visual merchandising tools like branded retail displays set a brand apart from the competition, increase brand exposure and lift sales.


When strategizing your in-store marketing plans, you’ll need to consider display design, pricing, and long-term upkeep. Contact us today for your next retail display program.

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