Key Trends in Plastic, Semi-Permanent Merchandising Displays

Posted Monday, July 07, 2014

Lighted floor display for spirits mfr- KDM
Lighted floor display for spirits mfr- KDM

Submitted by Dennis Dean, Plastic Fabrication Design & Manufacturing Specialist, KDM Nashville*

We support some of the nation’s largest consumer brand manufacturers. While there is a lot of variance in the industry segments we serve, they share common marketing goals at the point of purchase.

Merchandising displays are a key tactic for increasing sales at the store level and the competition is fierce. There are 30,000 new SKUs being launched every year. Getting retailers to display products prominently is often based on the physical presentation of the merchandise display. Design is critical in this respect, as well as how the display appeals to the shopper, in order to drive sales.

Many consumer brands are turning to plastics for semi-permanent merchandise display solutions. The average retail display life expectancy is one year, compared to a temporary, corrugated display. Plastic fixtures continue to be a versatile, durable, low maintenance and inexpensive POP solutions. 

The growing trends in plastic fabricated merchandise displays that address consumer brand manufacturer’s needs to visually stand out at retail include:

  1. Use of high-resolution (hi-res) graphic wraps on the displays
  2. Interactive displays that allow consumers to touch and feel the product
  3. Incorporating motion and sound into the displays with LCD and digital screens
  4. Adding LED lighting technology to enhance product visibility

1. Incorporating Graphics on Plastic Displays

Over the past two years, the e-cigarette business has exploded, particularly in the convenience (c-store) sector. Companies are cashing in on the sale of e-cigarettes and e-liquids. With a multitude of brands competing in this category, the importance of effective merchandising is critical, not only in getting prime real estate, but also attracting shoppers among all the clutter.

The trend is to wrap the displays with high quality graphics to help them stand out at the shelf. The displays and product packaging are working together to enhance the brand and communicate the product features.

Applying the graphic wraps to plastic displays is still done by hand for the most part. It takes experienced graphic installers to apply the printed pressure sensitive vinyl (PSV) decals and conform it to the complex curves, especially on vacuum formed units.

KDM has just installed a pair of Vutek HS100’s digital presses that have a unique hybrid LED/UV ink curing system, allowing us to print direct to acrylics. Direct printing expedites turn time and reduces production costs.

2. Interactive Hands-on Displays

Displays that are interactive appeal to a shopper’s sense of touch and feel, and are proving to be very influential in product sales lift. A popular mattress manufacturer wanted to develop interactive displays allowing consumers to see and feel the differences in their new iComfort line of mattresses by showcasing the quality of foam and springs (see photo below). Each unit also has hi-res images to further highlight features and benefits. The graphic wraps for the displays were digitally printed on the HP Latex press, for the best image and type quality. High impact acrylic was used to withstand consumer handling and reduce breakage during shipment to the retailer.

3. Motion & Sound Features in Digital Displays

Digital signage and LCD (liquid-crystal display) video screens have been out for years, but their incorporation into POP displays has been slow. As the technology has evolved- become more affordable, and consumers more savvy, marketers are replacing static signage with video in their displays. Motion activated and touch screen displays are used to communicate product benefits via short videos. Most displays feature long lasting batteries or low voltage power options.

4. Lighting Trends in Displays

Incorporating lighting into merchandise displays and POP signage helps accent the product and highlight the messaging. LED (light-emitting diode) lighting is replacing fluorescents as an efficient, low maintenance, low heat option. We recently completed a custom backlit signage project for a national hotel chain to highlight their breakfast area (see photo below). Special consideration for the customer’s desire for a lightweight, low maintenance, inexpensive to operate display was taken into account in the design and selection of materials. The faces were manufactured out of high impact white acrylic and vacuum formed. Hi-res digital graphics were printed on translucent vinyl on the HP Latex press and applied to the surface. The mounting hardware, light switch, power receptacle and LED lighting were incorporated into the back panel. Also of great importance to the customer was the brand color matching once the signage was illuminated. Every process and material chosen had an effect on this outcome.

KDm Serta interative display   KDM Holiday Inn backlit   

Over the past decade there haven’t been significant advances in the technology used for the fabrication of plastic displays. We still route, form, glue, polish, bevel, drill, and assemble. However, we have found that more efficient processes, great design, and material selection significantly improves the product’s success at the point of purchase.


KDM POP Solutions Group supports national consumer brands and retailers across many retail industry segments. In addition to custom semi-permanent merchandising displays, we also design and fabricate temporary and permanent displays; whether constructed of corrugate, plastic, wood, metal, glass or wire. Contact us to learn more!

*KDM Nashville is the plastic fabrication and distribution division of KDM POP Solutions Group.

Related resources you may be interested in:

  • Read our KDM Blog discussing the benefits of using plastic in manufacturing displays.
  • View our Case Study for more information on semi-permanent display solutions for Serta.

Tags: digital printing , KDM Merchandising Solutions , plastic fabrication

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