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    Deck the Aisles

    Holiday display equipment can help make the selling season merry and bright.

    By Bob Ingram
    FLEXIBLE FLORALThese floral tables from Cayuga Displays have pull-out drawers for more merchandising space.

    Incremental holiday sales in supermarkets depend in great measure on catching busy shoppers? eyes through the innovative use of displays throughout the store.

    At Meridian Display, in St. Paul, Minn., Director of Marketing Michelle Lee says: ?Black Friday is a big date for us. Many of our customers request freestanding retail displays during the holidays.?

    Meridian designs, produces, fulfills and ships corrugated point-of-purchase displays. ?We offer express stock displays that can be ordered online and shipped the same day if ordered by 1 p.m. CST,? notes Lee. ?Our pre-designed displays save tooling charges, and are cost-effective in quantities over 100. We also have designers on staff who can create custom displays, [which] can be produced in a matter of days.?

    According to Lee, Meridian?s 24-inch, six-shelf display can hold a variety of items for the holidays, and a customized header can be added, or the product packaging can do the selling.

    ?Fast and Easy? Setup

    SPC Retail, a division of Structural Plastics Corp., in Holly, Mich., designs and manufactures specialty displays made from recycled plastic, according to Harry Newton, director of sales and marketing.

    ?Our patented ?Kit of Parts? system enables us to create thousands of modular, easy-to-assemble displays in minutes, without tools,? he says, ?and they are extremely durable indoors or outside.?

    Among the products Newton cites that can be used for holiday displays are two-and three-step tiered displays, double-sided pyramid displays, tiered rounds, mobile midway carts, and a collection of stackable platforms for creating pop-up shops in power aisles and swing areas in grocery stores.

    ?Because our displays are modular and set up fast and easy,? he points out, ?many retailers use our displays to set up pop-up seasonal areas for holiday trim and ornaments, as well as post-holiday clearance areas in aisles or swing areas.?

    Specifically for the Christmas season, Newton says, ?we sell a three- and four-tiered round poinsettia display, and we have an evolving line of specialty displays designed to be modular, flexible and interchangeable, and easily moved and used throughout the store all year round.?

    Newton notes that SPC is developing a convertible dump bin display that can convert to multiple display configurations to be used for assorted sizes and types of products in promo aisles or impulse displays.

    ?We see tremendous opportunities for supermarkets to maximize their existing selling space by stepping out to the front of the store for seasonal holiday live goods pop-up shops to create a destination,? he observes, adding that such displays would enable retailers to ?take advantage of the many ways food touches all five senses and is part of every season, celebration and family table.?

    Life in the Fastlane

    Pan-Oston, based in Bowling Green, Ky., makes permanent display fixtures and, as VP of Sales Kendra Sewell affirms, ?Our beer and wine racks, floral displays, nesting tables, bakery displays, mobile displays, and in-store cooking demo showcases can be used for the Christmas season.?

    The Utopia Technology Group, a division of Pan-Oston, recently rolled out the Fastlane X3, which takes the place of up to six checkout lanes, allowing grocers increased merchandising space on the front end for impulse buys, notes Sewell.

    ?Our enhanced Ergolane is another product that increases front end merchandising space by 24 cubic feet and is the only carousel that allows for a bagger,? she continues. ?It is also the first of its kind to eliminate cashier twisting and turning, which reduces lost time and fatigue.?

    Sewell adds this caveat, however: ?As customers continue to order more online, presentation in-store is more important than ever. Providing the best shopping environment and customer experience is key to staying ahead of the competition.?

    Converting for the Holidays

    St. Louis-based Presence From Innovation (PFI) specializes in point-of-purchase wood, metal and plastic merchandising equipment and display racks primarily for the beverage industry, along with other sectors.

    PFI?s team of designers has created custom holiday graphics for display racks. ?The team turned a circular four-shelf rack into a temporary Christmas tree via the insertion of tree graphics,? points out Don Miller, CIO at PFI. ?Many of our products can be converted to holiday racks when purchased with custom graphics.?

    True ROI

    According to Paul Bloom, VP of marketing at Twinsburg, Ohio-based FFR Merchandising, the company has hundreds of pieces of displayware to promote food products, theft protection products, and more than 1,000 products for spot promotions and product and pricing information. ?Our RAZZ System, for instance, has multiple mounting options, allowing for a complete and consistent store-wide signing and promotional system,? he says.

    Further, Bloom notes that FFR has many custom products in the works, including merchandising strips and hangers, category displays, and wire-formed merchandisers and sign holders.

    There?s a growing need to integrate shoppers? total buying experience, from online to in-store, he asserts, noting that kiosks and interactive displays are becoming more prevalent as a result. However, he adds, ?selling physical product in a store remains a core concern. From operational efficiencies to loss prevention, in-store merchandising is, and always has been, a very fluid and changing arena.?

    Meanwhile, at Cayuga Displays Inc., in Cayuga, Ontario, Chris Schotsman, VP of sales and marketing, says: ?Floral is big for Christmas. Our flexible tables with pull-out drawers and nesting tables allow the merchandising space to easily be expanded. Also, incorporating flexible merchandisers like barrels and crates adds warmth and a rustic, homey feel.

    ?Any equipment has to be a flexible solution,? he continues. ?Supermarkets don?t want to invest in something that only is used for one season, unless there?s true return on investment. Something that can handle volume fluctuations is key. Anything specific to the holidays has to be disposable or break down so it can be easily stored and set up again at the appropriate time.?

    ?We see tremendous opportunities for supermarkets to maximize their existing selling space by stepping out to the front of the store for seasonal holiday live goods pop-up shops to create a destination.?
    ?Harry Newton, SPC Retail

    ?As customers continue to order more online, presentation in-store is more important than ever.?
    ?Kendra Sewell, Pan-Oston

    By Bob Ingram
    • About Bob Ingram

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