retail experiences, innovation, insights

Key ingredients of top-performing retail displays

Posted 12-07-21
6 minute read

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.