Display stands: Check me out, I am a money maker

Visual marketing in retail can no longer be imagined without display stands. Made of cardboard or acrylic, they can easily be assembled on site and lend themselves to short term sales promotions as well as long-term shop design. Displays can be functional or representative. They can also be a low cost alternative to digital signage.

Brochure display racks, promotional products or just simply attractive visual images – the possible applications for stand-up displays are varied. As a brochure display rack or product racks, displays are more functional. With a classy presentation they appear impressive and accentuate the featured items as being especially valuable. Displays can be a low cost alternative to expensive technology: photo cubes or partitions with large-sized images are much cheaper than monitors, video screens or in-store television.

There are many requirements for display manufacturers – depending on who the client is. The retail market wants displays that attract attention, yet that still blend into the store concept. The industrial sector also wants to stand out in the store, but occasionally however shows little respect for the overall concept; after all it wants to push its products, stage them and increase its own sales. For novelties or sales campaigns it provides complete packages for retailers: matching TV and print commercials, there are displays for special placement in the store plus accessories like parasols for instance or Christmas figurines. Retailers are promised successful sales campaigns with coupons or sweepstakes, special reduced prices or new product features.

Understanding brands – Developing ideas

Regardless whether it’s retail or brand stores – collaboration with the display manufacturer starts with the briefing. The display maker has to comprehend the nature of a brand or a store. He needs to understand what the image is all about, what emotion his clients want to evoke in their customers and how this should be achieved using marketing. The display is meant to become a part of this marketing process. Ideally, the same people on both sides work together as a team for an extended period of time.


Expectations for displays are rising. Oftentimes it is no longer enough to bring cardboard displays into the stores. They should also look good. Design however is a matter of taste. You need to develop ideas together, check them, discard them, start fresh, make a decision – and implement it. The trade association POPAI keeps awarding and showcasing outstanding displays, as seen recently during the EuroCIS in Düsseldorf. The jury points out on a regular basis that it is not just about attracting attention, but also about a coherent brand concept and practical use in everyday retail.

The display manufacturer contributes here the proverbial “big picture“ and his experience of what’s technically possible to the project. Those who don’t just showcase chocolates, but also car tires, laundry detergents and fine perfumes, know the possibilities of visual communication quite well. Those who offer “brands for the youth market“ and healthcare products for the older generation know how the generations respond. Those who deal with different marketing divisions and advertising agencies have their finger on the pulse in the advertising world.

Displays made of cardboard, acrylic or plastic

Cardboard nowadays can be imprinted in many different ways; the surfaces can be enriched with coating. You can die-cut and crimp the parts to make easy to assemble displays. Brilliant colors are possible with offset printing and with digital printing small quantities or even single pieces also pay off. That’s what makes stand-up displays not just interesting for the industrial sector and large chain stores, but also for individual retail sellers. And since displays can easily be shipped folded flatly via mail, manufacturers from abroad are also always exhibiting at the EuroShop, some even come from overseas. They provide a breath of fresh air to the advertising world and ensure competition.


Displays also look great if they are made of acrylics or plastic. Transparent acrylics appear light and clear but also classy. Acrylics can be combined. Plastic displays come in many shapes and are sturdy enough for everyday use. Both materials can be combined with wood and metals and lights can be built in. The more elaborate the product, the more important prototype manufacturing becomes, to be able to see beforehand how the item will later look when it’s potentially produced in mass quantities.

All of this has its price of course. Cost control is just as important as adherence to delivery dates. Displays have to be available when the respective sales campaign is scheduled to start in the stores. When it comes to costs, it then is not just about manufacturing and shipment, but also about the time and effort to assemble the displays and load them up. That’s why so-called 2-in-1 displays are particularly cost effective, since the transport packaging for the promotional items turns into a sales display stand by tearing it open and folding it. By now this is also possible with pallets. However, in the end it is the customer who decides through his/her purchase or by walking past the product, how successful a display is.

René Schellbach,



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