Merchandising Know-How: Creating customized displays to impact sales

Creating a customized display makes merchandise easy-to-understand and enticing to buy. Boost your ROI with these customization ideas and resources.

Not every customer who walks through your store is going to notice the fixtures and displays while browsing your merchandise. It’s your task to make retail merchandise stand out and represent its own function, style and utility in as elegant a manner as possible -- making the merchandise easy to understand and buy. So how can customized displays make an impact on sales?

To explain the mechanics of how quickly a really good display can pay for itself, imagine a two-sided grid display with no customization that is 2 feet wide. On the display are 144 bike locks in various sizes, weights, costs and brands. The display gets a lot of traffic, which results in the product getting mixed up onto different pegs, making the display look very full or thin leading up to its weekly shipment and restocking. On average, the display sells 12 units per week at about $18 a pop. Because of its generic nature, the display has caused customer confusion over choice and differences between options, leading to missed up-sell opportunities.

To improve sales, a customized display that is designed specifically to merchandise bike locks has replaced the old display. Using the same footprint, the new customized display calls out the category with customized signage headers and incorporates interchangeable vertical information signage holders. It’s also designed to mask low inventory, better fit the unique weights and sizes of the product, and more efficiently highlight prices and descriptions of different styles. As a result, the average weekly sales of the new display increases to 18 units per week at an average price of $22 -- generating instant new sales of $1,248 per year.

The perceived hurdles of creating customized displays prevent many retailers and brand manufacturers from acting on great merchandising display ideas -- but customized display units and POPs can affect sales. Increased sales and measurable return on investment (ROI) will result from a well-thought-out customized display or fixture.

Here are a few customization ideas that anyone can implement:

Help customers help themselves. People browsing in a retail store should have an easy time understanding what they are looking at. To achieve this, use category or product-specific customized displays to best showcase products that have unique shapes and sizes, such as backpacks, sunglasses and yoga accessories.

Customer education. Efficient information delivery in the form of customized signage can be your silent salesperson. When appropriate, use customized signage holders to allow for branded or proprietary dialogue about the product or category. Customized in-store informational signage campaigns can make a major impact -- when done well. Detailed signage that includes opinionated dialogue about the product or category will be read by customers with interest, and can act as a silent salesperson when customer service is not available.

Cleanliness is next to godliness. Keeping a store clean and well organized -- from the cash/wrap area to the stock room and in between -- is an essential part of business. Instead of trying to fit odd-shaped merchandise onto stock displays that don’t quite fit the product or category perfectly, consider what the perfect display would look like. Sketch out your ideas and commission a vendor to create the piece. The end result will be a customized display that keeps the category neat and organized, and drive sales.

Customization is key. Customized pegs and straight-outs can be just as valuable as customizing a floor display. The ROI on a well-designed, customized peg or straight-out can be astounding.

What are the pros and cons for designing and buying customized displays?


ROI -- enhanced sales that are easy to measure and calculate.

Resolve nagging merchandising issues.

Improve the product image for both retailers and manufacturers.

Opportunity to personalize the relationship with your customers.

Overseas costs for customized displays can be very low when minimum order quantities are met.


Minimum order quantities -- Domestic-sourced custom displays can be very expensive. Overseas costs are only competitive with scalable orders.

Lead time -- Customized displays require their own level of product development, and can take one to two months to go from concept to approved production.

--Eric Metzdorf of RAD Global

Based in Boston, RAD Global is an international sourcing firm that is focused on custom durable goods and displays for store environments and general operations. For more information, contact or 978-633-7234.


Merchandising Know-How: Color in Display

When creating a new display, you need to pay attention to the balance of products in the display, the dominance of certain elements and the rhythm or flow of the product positioning. In addition, it's necessary to formulate a color plan. The surest way to develop a color plan is more

Merchandising Know-How: Displays and demographics

In the current political landscape, the word "change" is used incessantly. It seems everyone is looking for change or, at least, mentioning it. Not to be outdone, here's a change for you. There's a new retail movement afoot to arrange and position displays that appeal to certain more

Merchandising Know-How: Buying on Impulse

“An impulse purchase is an unplanned or otherwise spontaneous purchase. One who tends to make such purchases is referred to as an impulse buyer.” --WikipediaImpulse buying generates more than $4 billion in annual sales volume in the United States, according to reports. Is buying more

Merchandising Know-How: On Sale

Getting the most out of post-holiday sales. One of the most important, but often-abused events of the retail calendar is the after-Christmas sale. Love it or hate it, in-store sales continue to provide the motivation for many consumers to become customers and for retailers to more