If you are a small-business owner who is trying to pick displays for your store, then this article is for you. We will help you pick your store displays, explain how to determine what size your display should be, and show you where to buy it. When you are done reading, you should have all the resources you need to pick and purchase your displays.
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Types of Store Displays
Let’s start with the main display types. Keep in mind, there is overlap between these types, especially when it comes to gondolas. There are slatwall gondolas, pegboard gondolas, and gridwall gondolas. These are general categories.
Gondola displays are two-sided, have adjustable shelves, and are generally used to merchandise the center of your store. They are free-standing and the frames are commonly made of steel with the middles being made of slatwall or pegboard. Gondola style shelving is especially popular in grocery and pharmacy stores, because they can hold lots of product and can be adjusted to fit different sized items.
Slatwall displays are panels that have recessed horizontal spaces where various kinds of shelves, hooks, pegs, and hangers fit into. It is one of the most versatile shelving options, because it can display such a wide variety of merchandise and can be mounted on walls or be freestanding.
Gridwall displays are wire panels that can accommodate a variety of different hook and shelf options. They are versatile, light, and easily customizable. Use them on your wall or with bases as free-standing fixtures. They are easy to maintain, requiring minimal dusting and general cleaning.
Garment racks are generally made of metal and are crafted specifically to display clothing and apparel. They are most often used to display hanging clothing and come in many different shapes and sizes.
Table Displays are displays that have a table shape to them. They can be tiered, as this one is, or just have one level. Although the term “table” makes you think of wood, table displays can also be made of a variety of other different materials as well.
Pegboard displays are displays that are made of fiber-board and have rows of evenly spaced holes, which are used for attaching hooks, bins, shelving, and other storage accessories. Pegboard is often paired with other display types as well, especially gondolas.
Specialty displays are those that are designed for a specific purpose or product. Some examples include:
- Refrigerated displays (pictured)
- Jewelry Display Cases/Jewelry modeling forms
- Wine Racks
- Gun cases
- Clothing Forms/Mannequins
How much do store displays cost?
Here is a more general breakdown of store display costs, from cheapest to most expensive. Individual display types may be in several categories depending on who installs/assembles the display. Also, displays may move into different categories depending on their material.
- Cheapest – Slatwall wall sheet (self-installation), gridwall wall sheet (self-installation), pegboard wall sheet (self-installation). Expect to pay around $50-$100 per 4×8 sheet of pegboard/gridwall/slatwall (includes hardware estimation).
- Medium – Small specialty display items (jewelry forms, some mannequins), Pegboard wall panels (professional installation), Slatwall wall panels (professional installation), Gridwall wall panels (professional installation), used displays. Expect to pay around $200-$300 dollars for one half-body mannequin or 1-2 professionally installed sheet(s) of pegboard/slatwall/gridwall (hardware estimate included).
- Expensive – Gondola, Table, Large rolling displays, garment racks, merchandisers (stand alone units with pegboard, slatwall, or gridwall sides), specialty/custom displays. Expect to pay around $600 for two 3’ x 4 1/2’ gondola displays or 3-5 basic garment racks.
Let’s say I have a hardware store with a 32’ x 50’ sales floor, here is an estimate of what it will cost to outfit my store with new displays.
- $1500 – Slatwall panels and appropriate hardware for both walls and back of store(15 panels x $100)
- $9000 – 3 rows of Gondola shelving for miscellaneous items (30 units)
- $2600 – 2 rows of rolling bin shelving (20 units)
- $80 – 4 level dump bin for checkout area impulse buying
- $780 – 6 dump tables for small items near aisles
$13,960 – total cost for very basic hardware store setup
Picking the Right Displays for Your Store
As I talked to retail professionals, they consistently identified two main questions to ask yourself as you pick out your store displays:
- Will this display highlight my product?
- Is this display consistent with my store brand?
At the end of the day, if your displays highlight your product and are consistent with your store brand, they will be successful for your business.
If you need a specialty display of some kind (refrigerated, jewelry, wine), then picking your displays is easier, because your options are very specific and limited. Once you have determined the material and overall look you need, you are pretty much set to go out and find a display that fits.
If you do not need specialty shelving, the process gets more complicated, due to the wide variety of display types. To make the process easier, we have assembled a list of questions to ask yourself to help narrow down your options.
Here are the questions:
What store display material best suits my product and brand?
People often do not consider a display’s material. But when I talked with retail designer DeAnna Radaj, she highlighted the importance of picking the right material for your display.
She gave two reasons why display material is important:
The kind of material your displays are made of can communicate a lot about your brand. When talking with various designers, consistent branding was one of their top concerns for display choice. Your displays need to communicate what your store is all about.
Here are some general associations:
- Glass – Sophistication, expense, luxury (jewelry store, perfume section)
- Hardwood – Class, artistry, environmentally friendly (gift store, art gallery, health food store)
- Painted Steel/Metal – Function, efficiency, depends a lot on color and design (grocery store, convenience store)
- Brushed/burnished steel/metal – Modern, minimalist, sleek (fashion store, interior design/home furnishing store, upscale mod restaurants)
Your shelving material must be able to withstand the weight you intend to put on it. Factor in both individual and collective item weight. 1 canned good is not that heavy, but 100 of them are. If your products are heavy, go with steel shelving or wood shelving that has shorter shelves/plenty of supports.
Also, consider how a specific display material will hold up when used with a specific product. Products with sharp or rough edges(scissors, tools, metal/ceramic decor, metal/wood storage bins) should probably not be placed directly on wood shelving, because they will cause scratches and damage to the finish. Just think ahead, you do not want to be repainting, refinishing, or replacing your shelving a year after you bought it.
By matching your display material to your product and overall brand, you ensure the communication of a consistent message throughout your store.
What is the display going to hold?
Since multiple types of displays can hold a wide variety of products, there can be quite a bit of overlap. Here is a general guide detailing which products work on which display type.
- Clothes – Gridwall, Slatwall, Garment Racks, Tables
- Hardware/small electronic items – Slatwall, rolling carts, or pegboard with bins.
- Canned Goods, Food, Cleaning Supplies – Gondola with shelving
- Art, Handmade Items, Gift Shop Items – Tables, gridwall (paintings), Wood Gondolas, pegboard, Custom
- Shoes – Slatwall, Table, gridwall, or metal shoe rack
- Alcohol/Spirits – Wine rack, gondola shelving, or custom
Where is the display going to go?
Here is a general guide to matching your display type with the right area of your store.
- Wall – Gridwall or slatwall shelving
- Center of Sales Floor/Near Aisles – Gondola, Tables, Garment Racks, slatwall with base, or metro cart displays (impulse buys)
- Corners – Tables, or slatwall that cuts straight across the corner to create a featured section/area.
- Front of Store/window – Tables/custom displays for maximum exposure and pop.
- Checkout Area – Gondola shelving, impulse towers, or pegboard displays, to hold small and easily buyable items such as gum, toys, and gift cards.
How easy is it going to be to setup/install?
Ease-of-setup/install is another factor to consider when selecting displays. Here are the different display types broken down based on ease-of-setup/installation. Some of the types are in more than one category, because they can either be self-installed or installed by a professional.
- Easy – Slatwall(professional installation), Pegboard(professional installation), gridwall(professional installation), custom (professional installation), garment racks, tables (pre-assembled), gondola (pre-assembled)
- Medium – Pegboard (self-installation), Tables (self-assembly), gondola (self-assembly)
- Difficult – Slatwall panels (self-installation on wall), Gridwall panels (self-Installation on wall)
Is is compatible with store expansion and growth?
All stores hope to grow. That is why it is important that your displays be compatible with store expansion and growth. It is not very cost effective or practical to buy new displays every couple of years.
Here are the three things you want from your shelving if you anticipate significant growth for your business:
- Adjustability – Adjustable displays allow you to adapt to changing product lines and new inventory.
- Versatility – Versatile displays are those which can accommodate a wide variety of different products, like slatwall and gridwall, both of which can accommodate most every kind of product, from clothing to hardware.
- Movability/Transportability – If you want to change your store layout or end up growing too big for a specific store, easily movable shelving is very handy.
Determining Your Store Display Size
Once you have nailed down what your displays are going to be, you have to make sure they will fit your space. To do this effectively, you are going to need to have a very detailed store layout and your inventory list handy. If you need help developing your store layout or managing your inventory, check out our upcoming article on store layout and our current article on inventory management.
With your layout and inventory list as your guide, here is what you need to do to measure the correct size for your shelving:
- Determine the overall width of shelving area – This is the amount of side-to-side space you wish to store your product in.
- Determine the width of the individual shelf units needed – This is the left-to-right dimension you desire for each individual shelf.
- Determine the shelf depth – This is the front-to-back dimension for each individual shelf
- Determine height of shelving needed – Ceiling height and number of shelf openings required can help determine the height needed. Shelf openings are the space between shelf levels. Remember to measure your product height when determining your shelf opening size.
When you are determining your shelving height, do not forget to factor your customer into the equation. Make sure you do not put products up too high for shorter individuals. Also, be sure age-specific items like toys and candy are lower to the ground.
Where to Buy Displays
Actually purchasing your displays is the last step in the display selection process.
There are 4 main ways to purchase your displays and we break down the pros and cons of each below:
1. Local Display Store
The easiest way to find if there is a display store near you, is to type in “retail display store” and then include your zipcode or the zipcode of the biggest city near you.
- Do not have to pay for shipping
- Get to see and pick displays in person
- Often measure your space and help you pick displays free-of-charge
- Supporting local business
- Not as many options as buying online
- Can actually be more expensive than buying online, depending on area and displays desired
- Often only an option if you are in/close to a bigger city
2. Display Store Online
Some of the most popular online display store options are displaywarehouse.com, and storesupply.com.
- Lots of options
- Professional design and display selection advice (in most cases)
- Can shop from anywhere as long as you have wi-fi
- Can be cheaper price/unit, due to online competition forcing lower pricing
- Accommodates rural shoppers/those with no display store in their area.
- You have to pay for shipping
- Cannot actually see/interact with displays in person
- Can be a real pain if your order was mixed up or if you have to return any items
3. Buying used/secondhand
Craigslist.com can be a good place to check for used shelving. Also, if a local store is going out of business, you can often get a great deal. Some display stores offer discounts as well.
- Can get displays dirt cheap
- If buying in person, allows you to see before you buy
- Often have to wait a long time to find a good deal
- Your variety is very limited
- If you do not act quick, someone else may snatch up the deal before you do
Picking your displays can be a difficult process. Remember, highlight your product and emphasize your brand. With these two criteria, some upfront research, and the help of this guide, you should have all you need to choose the right displays for your business.
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