Brand and retail professionals know that delivering memorable instore retail experiences is the only way to attract and engage increasingly savvy shoppers.

Improved experiential retail is about enhancing the whole shopper journey, from the point of initial awareness, through the anticipation and expectation of the in-store shopping experience to the impact of the experience itself. It also extends to the payment and post-checkout process.

Whether through hands on try-out experiences or VR or interactive displays, physical retail stores must constantly vie for attention against their online ecommerce competitors, by using technology to differentiate an in-store visit and connect with customers.

With 77% of Gen-Z shoppers saying they’d prefer to shop in-store rather than online, this is the perfect time for brands to explore and invest in the many shapes and forms experiential retail comes in.

Personalisation and Interaction

One way that retailers can ensure that their in-store display solutions are keeping pace with evolving shopper expectations is to recognise and respond to the growing demand for personalised experiences that has become the norm of online shopping.

Many retailers are investing in technology that sends personalised messages and videos to customers based on factors such as their location or use of an app. These personalised touches make customers feel valued but also capitalise on the fact that shoppers are increasingly willing to interact with displays using their smartphones, thereby creating their own personalised shopping experiences.

Research from Google shows that 84% of “smartphone shoppers” already use their phones in-store to help them decide what to buy. Retailers that are tuned into this offer their customers the option to access tailor-made retail assisted shopping solutions by scanning a QR code or barcode and providing their personal information.


Immersive Experiences

When it comes to truly immersive retail experiences, it has to involve augmented or virtual reality.

Augmented reality gives customers the opportunity to try before they buy as was never possible in the past. For example, cosmetics company Sephora have invested in Virtual Mirrors that allow customers to see themselves digitally wearing different make-up looks.

Virtual reality is being used to satisfy customer desire for both the convenience of shopping online and an in-store experience. Virtual showrooms allow the customer to navigate a simulation of a store as if they were there in person. There is potential for the technology to integrate a social element whereby customers can shop with their friends online.



Multichannel retail offers shoppers the opportunity to use whatever devices and platforms they want to, at different points and times throughout their purchasing journey. For example, a customer may see a product they like on social media, then visit the brand’s website on their laptop or smartphone, followed by using in-store display technology such as lift-and-learn to explore the product before finally buying it.

Customers should be able to move seamlessly between these devices and platforms whenever it is convenient to them, and the transition from online to offline should be as easy and smooth as possible.

Multichannel experiences are essential not just for attracting customers but also retaining their attention along their shopper journey, using experiential technologies both online and offline to maximise their propensity to convert. These seamless multichannel experiences are more likely to result in a sale because shoppers do not need to repeat actions across multiple devices and channels.



Retailtainment describes adventurous experiential retail. It is used to put customers in the mood to spend through the means of stimulating features, such as opportunities for interaction. For example, Adidas have developed a ‘Bring it to me’ option in their app for in-store shoppers. Customers can simply take a photo of the shoe they’d like to try on and a shop assistant brings it to them by accessing their location on their own device.

Unique retailtainment innovations like this excite customers and drive them to share their experiences on social media, thereby creating free marketing for the brand.

Lift and Learn Technology

Lift and Learn technology allows customers to experience the best of what both offline and online shopping offer. Shoppers are given the opportunity to be hands-on with a product whilst also receiving extra information, such as stock, reviews and accessory recommendations, usually only available when buying online.

For retailers, offering shopper experiences using these technologies can reduce return as by exploring product features, usability and ergonomics more thoroughly pre-purchase enabling customers to be more confident about their purchase.

Through integrated monitoring technology, brands are able to gather valuable data around shopper behaviours in response to these retail experiences, as well as enhancing engagement and conversions.



Wayfinding is another key ingredient of the overall retail experience, and can play a huge role in influencing shoppers towards a purchase decision.

As a key element differentiating online from offline shopping, retailers are increasingly paying closer attention to wayfinding in-store using physical display and technology innovations. By getting this aspect of the retail experience right, retailers can help shoppers feel the benefit of being guided around a store, yet loosely enough that they are energised to purchase by a sense of their own autonomy.

Wayfinding adds elements of excitement and sophistication to retail experiences – for example with   wayfinding technology such as apps that guide and direct shoppers virtually in- store – yet also simplifies and enhances the overall shopping experience.

Next steps

At Displayplan, we think retail displays should be designed to offer personalised, hands-on, educational and informative experiences. Displayplan helps its clients develop personalised retail experiences that appeal to the senses and emotions of target shoppers. We design your retail display to offer shoppers the opportunity to engage with your brand, experience your products and become invested in them. Speak with one of our retail display specialists on 01462 88 6000 or email

How do you measure the environmental impact of your retail store displays, and how can you reduce the environmental impact if you can’t measure it?

At Displayplan we use the Low Impact Shopfitting Tool (LIST) to measure and reduce the embedded carbon in our display designs. The foundation comes from BRE/BREEAM’s deep database of materials and Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) providing world-class data used in the LIST assessment tool.

Download this guide to learn more about LIST

LIST - PDF Download

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nerf toy store display

Retail displays that perform for shoppers by entertaining, delighting and educating them also result in ‘sales performance’ for retailers.

The concept was named – perhaps somewhat awkwardly – as ‘retailtainment’ by American sociologist George Ritzer in 1999 in his book entitled “Enchanting a Disenchanted World: Revolutionizing the Means of Consumption”.

Defined as “the use of sound, ambience, emotion and activity to get customers interested in the merchandise and in the mood to buy”, retailtainment is perhaps better described today as “experiential display” – though it certainly incorporates a strong element of ‘show business’.

What is experiential retail display?

The concept of experiential retail display is that the shopper’s in-store behaviour can be influenced by means of entertainment and/or education. Designing in-store product displays to appeal to shoppers’ senses not only attracts and engages them whilst in-store; it also enhances their experience and drives sales.

Music retail is a great example, and the announcement by iconic music brand HMV in July 2021 that it was returning to high street store investment suggests this is true. Speaking of his firm’s intention to open 10 new UK stores, including a London flagship, HMV CEO Doug Putman said:

People obviously love going out shopping, they like touching and feeling and that’s something that online is not going to replace.

Why retailers are turning to experiential display

For obvious reasons, the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated an already ongoing shift from bricks and mortar retail to online retail.

According to Statista, 71% of people were buying more online than ever before by February 2021, but this figure was already as high as 40% 12 months earlier in March 2020, when the first lockdown restrictions truly began to bite.

As the COVID lockdown lifted, retailers faced more pressure to find ways of making bricks and mortar spaces more appealing in order to tempt shoppers back into malls and high streets.

Against the convenience of order and delivery, transactional speed and choice offered by online retail giants, high street retailers need a unique sales proposition (USP).

And that’s about giving shoppers the opportunity to touch and feel products. While doing so, they can enhance the retail experiences through entertainment and education rather than simply facilitating the purchase.

Most analysts agree that experiential display is going to play a huge role in the future of in-store retail.

Where’s the proof that experiential display works?

Research shows that visitors to shopping centres now expect a fully-fledged experience rather than just retail convenience.

For retailers and brands, experiential display solutions must centre around performance both for the shopper and bottom-line sales, incorporating elements of:

  • Interactivity – forging memories linked to a store and experience of its products
  • Originality – marking a store out as worth visiting over its competition
  • Attachment – creating a bond between the store/product and shoppers.

Retailers who get the experiential elements of their in-store mix right can expect the following benefits:

  • Improved footfall
  • Longer in-store dwell time
  • Enhanced brand loyalty
  • Increased sales – research has shown that consumers are more likely to want to own products they’ve held or interacted with
  • Strong reputational value through word of mouth
  • Greater integration between online sales and offline experiences.

Here at Displayplan we’ve been working at the forefront of this shift, designing, manufacturing and installing retail displays which offer the kind of full spectrum experience which retailers and their customers want.

These display solutions date back to 2017, when Displayplan were involved with the earliest stages of experiential retail.

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Garmin TACX Demo station

The Garmin TACX is turbo trainer is designed to provide a realistic indoor cycling work out  experience with a realistic ride feel.

This experiential display for Garmin centres around a floor-standing large screen display connected to the TACX indoor training station with a bicycle.

Key experience features:

  • Shoppers can test the demo bike out as well as their own work out performance
  • As well as displaying performance data when shoppers lift products such as on-bike monitors, wearables and lights from the display, the screen activates to display learn and compare content
  • For retail brand managers, display activity data is captured and analysed through the Connie content management platform.
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Inside MLP world

My Little Pony Platinum Endcap

 The My Little Pony toy line was launched by Hasbro in 1982 and continues to delight children in the 3 to 5 years age group.

For this experiential display, Displayplan devised an end of aisle display designed for big box and hypermarket stores. Look through the binoculars and become immersed in the VR experience of My Little Pony world as you float in the ballon.

 Key experience features:

  • Realistic experience of the My Little Pony world for children while in-store
  • Recreation of a hot air balloon basket
  • Simulated flight over Equestria, the land of My Little Pony, complete with realistic air flow.
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Nerf Blasters

The NERF range of toys have entertained generations of children and teenagers and include an ever-evolving range of foam dart and water blasters.

In this display, both junior and adult shoppers were offered the chance to experience Nerf blaster products in a fun, yet safe and controlled environment.

Key experience features:

  • Ability for kids and adults to try out their Nerf blaster skills with targets and compete with each other in a fun and entertaining manner
  • Five tethered Nerf blasters
  • Backdrop which returns darts to users.
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Pampers pop-up shop

The Pampers name has long been synonymous with disposable nappies. This pop-up shop display was designed by Displayplan to give shoppers the chance to step out of the main shop and into a dedicated space designed to showcase Pampers products.

The goal is to provide target shoppers with the chance to touch and feel Pampers product, using various media to educate and inform shoppers and drive engagement.

Key experience features

  • High impact design featuring a large hanging mobile, light boxes, large images of babies and large format screens
  • Targeted, educational content displays
  • Options for shoppers to view integrated learning videos, touch and feel Pampers products or interact directly with product experts.
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Samsung retail training centre

For Samsung, training retail associates on the history of the Samsung brand as well as on the latest products and technologies is core to success.

Displayplan designed this engaging 750 square metre technical training destination for Samsung retail sales associates across two floors.

 Key experience features:

  • Modular walls allowing training programme managers to create custom room sets to showcase Smart devices within a fully realised ecosystem
  • Visitors are immersed in the 50-year history of Samsung
  • At the same time they can experience and interact with the full range of Samsung products in a carefully recreated real world setting.

In summary

Retail displays designed to offer hands-on, educational, or retailtainment experiences like the ones showcased here perform in a variety of ways.

They appeal – in one way or another – to the senses and emotions of the target shopper, whether the child whisked away to the land of My Little Ponies, or the parent who wants to touch and feel different nappy/diaper products.

In each case, the opportunity is there for the shopper to engage with the brand, to experience the product to become invested in it.

This experience is key to nurturing brand engagement, conversion and, in the longer lifecyle of the product, loyalty.

In summary, it’s about retail experiential performance that generates retail sales performance.

Producing end-to-end retail display solutions that perform – without the drama

Speak with one of Displayplan’s Retail Display Specialists today about your experiential display goals on 01462 88 6000 or email

planning retail display

Retailers need to offer shoppers new kinds of experiences beyond the merely transactional.

The goal is not to compete with online or persuade shoppers not to shop online, but to give them reasons to go to physical stores too.

Some retailers are transforming outlets into ‘performance hubs’ where shoppers can experience “retailtainment” characterised by hybrid experiences of physical product display and product experience.

Displays are enhanced with digital content delivered by audio visual displays, with data intelligence captured and interpreted using advanced content platforms.

In this article we examine the key ingredients needed to produce these high performing integrated retail displays that transform a trip to the shops into an entertaining brand experience.

What does retail performance mean?

In this article, we’re talking about the main ingredients needed to create retail displays that perform, both for shoppers who want to learn about and experience a product, and for retailers, for whom sales performance is everything.

Performance for retailers is ultimately about sales, but before that there’s the shopper journey to consider. Along this shopper journey, we can identify three key areas for performance focus:

  • Attraction: creating stand-out displays within physical retail stores
  • Engagement: stopping and holding the shopper to increase dwell time, progression and activity within store
  • Conversion: maximising sell through, whether in-store or online.

For shoppers, we are currently seeing a rise in “retailtainment” – retail displays incorporating elements of product display with multimedia display, physical touch and try, lift and learn product experience and an emphasis is on “experiential shopper interactions” that entertain and engage shoppers.

It’s a combination of physical, multi-sensory, digital, interactive and virtual experience that grab and hold shopper attention by entertaining them.

The result is display performance – for both shoppers and retailers.

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Concept and brief

The first step to a successful retail display solution is a comprehensive project brief with clear objectives that encompasses:

  • Problem definition
  • Goal definition
  • Purpose
  • Retail channel
  • Store location
  • Brand assets
  • Products
  • Target shopper profile
  • Relevant technology
  • Sustainability
  • Qualities and budget
  • Timings and deliverables.

At this stage the concept design team and strategy experts work to create a relevant set of ideas that answer the brief and tell a positive story.

Concept presentations consist of research, insights, familiarisation, inspiration boards, sketches and 3D visuals. These all support the thinking and take the client on the creative journey to the right solution to their problem.

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Design and development

Having agreed the creative direction the concept progresses into design and development with technical engineers to realise the display solution.

Manufacturing drawings are created using CAD software such as SolidWorks, then thoroughly proven, stress tested, refined and finalised ready to release to supply partners.

Depending on the display solution, the materials used can range from wood, metals and plastics to integrated display technologies such as LED lighting, display screens and experiential technology. All display materials can be easily taken apart at end of life for effective recycling.

A full prototype display is always built for review and proofing, enabling evaluation of quality and health and safety standards as well as cost matching.

Experiential content creation

Experiential content can be delivered in many formats, so to ensure on-brief creation it’s once again vital to understand expectations.

The starting point is storyboarding of the experiential journey, followed by presentation and agreement of the final content structure.

The development of experiential retail content draws on a mix of supplied and specially created assets, with the aim of maximising in-store shopper engagement that is relevant to the product.

Content may include video content, touch engagement and/or other types of content activated by display hardware, implemented to increase dwell time and deliver sales conversion.

The interaction between shopper and content can be measured, so a data capture platform (such as Displayplan’s Connie) should be in place, activated correctly and embedded with the in-store technology.

Goal setting

Every retail manager knows that goals and targets are fundamental measures of performance. Retail sales KPIs include footfall, dwell time and display interaction – all of which can be measured against targets and goals set by the business.

Goals can be set to measure both strategic and tactical outcomes, so working with your display provider’s project manager to set expectations is vital – as is ensuring that goals are accepted and bought into by executive team members and colleagues.

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Global supply chain effectiveness

Few commercial retail display solutions can be manufactured without the support of a global supply chain. Success criteria for retail display supply chain include:

  • Materials and processes
  • Lead times
  • Quantities and budget
  • Quality standards
  • Complexity/assembly requirements
  • Packaging for effective shipping
  • Efficient logistics.

Managing a supply chain requires formal vendor qualification, quality assurance and forward planning ahead of any project. It also requires robust quality control processes that ensure a consistent level of quality everywhere.

At Displayplan, we have our own in-country quality control managers who ensure that quality display materials and components are consistently delivered to end destinations, whether global or local.

Installation and maintenance

For end-to-end success in retail display solutions, in-store installation of equipment should ideally be managed and overseen right down to the last nut and bolt.

At Displayplan – a specialist end-to-end retail display solution provider – we not only oversee the complete installation of our displays, but also provide maintenance programmes. This ensures the continual operation of always-on displays, particularly where technology is at the heart of the solution.

Key success factors in display installation and maintenance include:

  • Expert-created technical assembly guides and in-store support material
  • Use of appropriately skilled shopfitter partners – regardless of location
  • A single point of contact for project management to cover all aspects of the project.
  • Design for disassembly diagrams for effective recycling at end of life.

The end result is that physical retail display equipment, either with or without technology, is installed and set up correctly and on-time.

Skilled project management

The Project Manager (PM) is the lynchpin when it comes to getting projects completed to the right level of quality, to brief, on budget and on time.

Careful, persistent, thorough and persuasive PMs move both their client (external) stakeholders through all decision points but also manage all internal team colleagues to get things done right.


Performance measurement and intelligence

The ability to analyse and report on in-store activity and shopper behaviour is our final ingredient. It’s key in understanding shoppers and their in-store engagement.

Displayplan’s advanced content and analytics platform is called Connie and is optimised for the following tasks:

  • Device monitoring: retailers and brands can monitor what is working and when, giving them confidence that displays are working seamlessly – or if not, a basis on which to challenge maintenance/compliance fees
  • Remote maintenance and support: troubleshooting can be done remotely, reducing the requirement for in-store visits to assess
  • Analytics: retailers can monitor shopper engagement with interactive displays e.g.
    • What products are touched/lifted: frequency and length of time
    • Touch engagement
    • Dwell time at a display

By understanding interactions, retailers can work to improve content, change product display planograms and improve physical shopper experience.

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Producing end-to-end retail display solutions that perform – without the drama

Displayplan’s approach is to manage the whole end-to-end retail display planning, design, production, installation and management lifecycle to deliver maximum in-store display performance.

Today’s “experiential displays” make use of multiple physical, visual, audio and sensory components, all which must be combined in the right measure to create displays that are visually inviting/stunning, can be touched, heard, even smelled – and which provide both entertainment and sales performance.

Displayplan provides whole experience retail display design, where digital and physical, online and offline are fully integrated.

And we do it without the drama and fuss you might expect from this type of project.

Our “one-stop solution” for retail display design puts the creation and production of your retail display easy and straight forward – it’s a “total experience” display solution that delivers maximum performance.