Visual Merchandising Strategies to Secure Buy-In From Box Stores

5 minutes
Katie Kochelek
Check out section of a big box store

Visual Merchandising Strategies to Secure Buy-In From Box Stores

5 minutes
Katie Kochelek
Check out section of a big box store

“Visual Merchandising Strategies to Secure Buy-In From Box Stores” is the third post in a four-post blog series called “Challenges When Planning a Visual Merchandising Campaign” in which we address common pain points clients face while planning merchandising display campaigns as well as solutions to address these challenges. Check out the other posts:

Big box stores provide brands with significant visibility thanks to large crowds and convenient locations, making them key channels for companies to promote product awareness and elicit sales with visual merchandising.

However, because of the sheer size of the corporations, securing display space often equates to challenges when navigating each box store’s requirements, capabilities and, most importantly, willingness to commit.

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) must not only concept visual merchandising displays to meet their own objectives, but they need to consider the appeal of a program to box stores who often have final word on if a display will be placed in their locations.

Partnering with an experienced point of purchase (POP) company that has done extensive work helping brands secure buy-in from box stores can be the difference in rolling out a successful program. Here we detail solutions to help OEMs feel equipped when planning their visual merchandising strategies for bigger stores.

Arm Yourself With Info

Every box store is going to have different specifications regarding their store fixtures, gondola types and warehouse racking systems, along with material requirements, power availability, UL prerequisites, and more. Before beginning a project, make sure you’re clear on the conditions unique to each store.

Dave King, Senior Vice President of Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc., recommends partnering with a point of purchase company that has experience working with big chains.

“Knowing the details of what structures exist in-store can help get the program off to a smooth start. It’s why good merchandising display companies stay current with store configurations and fixtures,” he says. “Racking systems in The Home Depot are different from Lowe’s, which are different from those in Menards.”

Navigating brand designs with box store stipulations is a delicate balance, often requiring even more consideration when special circumstances arise.

“Sometimes you are working on a project that’s being installed across different retailers, so if these stores have different fixtures, you need to be mindful about incorporating that into your engineering and pricing,” King states.

Regardless of particulars, starting a program off on the right foot by knowing a retailer’s crucial details will ensure OEMs don’t fight delays and will show they’ve done their due diligence when planning a merchandising display campaign for that specific retailer.

Set the Scene with Foam Core

As impressive as design renderings can be on paper, there’s nothing like turning a proposed concept into a physical reality to help retailers truly visualize a display. Enter foam core, a sturdy material used to construct a true-to-scale display based on design dimensions.

The size of a display can often be hard to envision when it’s only numbers on paper, so foam core mock-ups are excellent tools to showcase a display’s scale, shape, and graphics.

Additionally, foam core displays can be constructed quickly and are relatively inexpensive to fabricate and ship. It’s even possible to marry materials like plexiglass with foam core to create a better representation of the final design.

Not only does investing in a foam core presentation help sell the visuals to a prospective retailer, but it can serve as an early chance to get critical feedback before going to final designs and prototypes.

“Getting good information earlier in the process can help to make the final prototype presentation much more successful,” King emphasizes.

The Appeal of Versatility

Building changeability into a merchandise display in retail stores is an advantage OEMs can speak to when selling box stores, since versatility can expand the life span of the unit.

Different ways to build in flexibility include the ability to swap out products, change graphics, or even replace accent pieces, like color or type of material, to adapt to multiple store formats.

Make it simple for retailers to see the extended lifecycle of a display and provide easy ways they can keep the merchandisers stocked with new products and current with changing seasons and trends.

Keep Informed of ADA Guidelines

Recently, some brands and retailers have been in hot water over failing to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines when it comes to their kiosks and websites. While the conversation is sometimes less prevalent when it comes to visual merchandising in stores, King argues it shouldn’t be.

“It’s refreshing to work with OEMs and retailers that appreciate ADA conditions,” he says. “Things like braille requirements have become a more frequent conversation, and I think we’ll likely see more discussion surrounding ADA requirements as more lawsuits make headlines.”

Designing a display equipped for people with disabilities positions the OEM as being conscientious of a retailer’s entire audience and can help protect both the brand and retailer from any potential legal problems.

Employ Your POP Representative’s Help

Nobody knows the ins and outs of merchandising displays quite like a point of purchase display company. Who better, then, to accompany an OEM on an initial visit with the box store client?

“If we have a relationship with our client, accompanying the kick-off meeting could be beneficial,” King says. “Attending the first discussion and then subsequent design review meetings would assist the process as we can be there to support the client as well as answer very specific questions for the end user.”

Having all resources at an OEM’s disposal during conversations with a retailer means the store can get immediate answers about the display that would have otherwise needed to be relayed back to the POP company through the client. A representative’s presence can keep projects moving and eliminate miscommunications.


Brands can make the process of committing to a merchandising display easy and secure buy-in from a big box store by recognizing their friction points, minding their restrictions, and helping them visualize the look and benefits of a display in their store.

Did you enjoy this read about visual merchandising strategies? Take a look at examples of successful in-store merchandising displays we’ve executed with well-known brands and retailers.

Let's Get Started