submitted by Maureen Gumbert, Marketing Manager, KDM ~
There was a lot to take in at GlobalShop this year. The retail design industry event is actually five Shows in One: the Store Fixturing Show (millwork, fixtures, shelving), The Visual Merchandising Show (props, shopping bags, mannequins), Store Design and Operations (construction, lighting, flooring), The Digital Store (digital signs, audio, screens) and the At-Retail Marketplace (POP, merchandising displays, plastic fabrication). If I had to sum up what jumped out at me in abundance on the show floor this year in just three words they would be: fabric, lighting, and corrugate. This is coming from my perspective as Marketing Manager at KDM POP Solutions Group, which is focused on POP, Merchandising and Retail Design solutions.
Silicone Edge Graphics (SEG) were everywhere! These are graphic panels printed on fabric that has a plastic strip sewn into the edges that slips into a groove on the frame, making it a very quick and easy way to stretch the graphic uniformly into the boxed frame. Most all of the frames are square or rectangular in shape and are internally lit. Dye Sublimation Printing and Digital Printing on fabrics has a come a long way with the ability to reproduce bright, vibrant images, crisp type and an image opacity that doesn’t wash out when backlit. You literally need to touch it to realize it’s fabric. The SEG frames were used as walls, ceilings, special effects, freestanding endcaps and podiums throughout the show.
Fabric stretched into or over a frame isn’t a new concept- particularly as it applies to tradeshow booth graphics. What was different was this SEG technology. Although it was abundant at the show, I haven't seen these graphics being used very often in a retail store setting. Fabric panels make good sense for retail applications. It has always been considered an economical option because shipping a lightweight, folded panel is a lot less heavy and cumbersome than rigid, graphic panels. You fold it up and stuff it in a small box.
Some vendors were indeed showcasing these for retail merchandising and POP display use by cutting the graphic faces and applying shelf and hook hardware. Others used a strong magnet behind the fabric surface to attach display hardware. The one that caught my attention the most was a vendor that had a sequence of changing colored lights inside.
Speaking of lighting, it is a hot trend in retail environments and the sky is the limit to the many artistic forms it can take on as well as innovative solutions for merchandising. The Best of GlobalShop Awards were all lighting related winners. The Platinum winner was Cooledge flexible LED Light Sheet technology that allows designers to integrate lighting directly into their millwork and ceiling systems exactly where it is needed. Its flexible form allows the lighting to conform to large and very small panels, as well as shapes and complex curves. It eliminates the constraints that existing LED systems, conventional bulbs and tubes have. The sheets can even be “trimmed to fit” an area with scissors for a precise lighting installation.
Many vendors showcased LED lighting that is designed to spotlight products on shelving and gondolas that are typically hidden in the shadows on the shelves. The Gold winner was Aduro Display, manufacturers of an adjustable LED lighted shelving system that attaches to powered slatwalls with no visible wires or connectors. The system can be used with any standard slatwall hardware. It appears to be a truly lighted shelf. The most effective presentations of this nature for me were those that compared the different types of shelf lighting- from a soft, warm light to a harsher, blue light. All of which literally shed a different light on the product depending on what you wanted.
There were many different lighting solutions, some better than others, for internally lighting the above SEG fabric boxes. One of these was the Bronze award winner, MediaGraph. They claimed to have a unique lighting system that evenly distributes light inside the graphic boxes, omitting shadows and hot spots. The lighting is on a flexible grid allowing it to collapse for shipping and it can be retrofitted to existing lighted displays.
Other lighting that caught my attention was the use of spot lighting on displays that highlighted intricate acrylic cut-outs that made it glow. It really made the edge-lit features pop. Examples I witnessed were for high-end spirits (pictured) and fragrance displays.
Raw, unfinished materials are also a hot trend in retail environments and displays. The use of corrugated cardboard with multiple layers showed up quite a bit on the show floor. It is rigid, can be printed on directly and die cut to many shapes. I saw many exhibiting booths that used it as an alternate for the actual construction of their booths. I sat in a chair made of corrugate. It was featured in the award winning Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” merchandising display featured in the POPAI Outstanding Merchandising Award pavilion. Plain corrugate was used as the tiered shelving to hold product with a subtle, step and repeat logo imprinted on it and the raw edges exposed. Corrugate is also used for POP display props such as giant 3D letters that stand on their own, deer head and other taxidermy looking animal trophies, and mannequin-like body torsos. The corrugated material gives it a “eco- friendly”, natural appeal.
GlobalShop is an important event for brand marketers, retailers and in-store marketing supply chain vendors like KDM, where you can get a full scope of what’s new and what’s trending in the retail environment. It was evident from walking the show that creativity and innovation is as important in the retail store experience as it is in the products being sold. It is necessary to create compelling merchandising displays and retail environments that focus not only on moving product but stimulating the consumer and creating a great shopping experience.
KDM POP Solutions Group specializes in innovative retail solutions that help retailers and brands execute their marketing goals in every facet of the retail environment. To learn more, CONTACT US today.
Other related articles you may be interested in:
- Trends in Retail Environment Design
- Retail Innovations Redefining the Customer Experience
- Ultimate Takeaways from Retail’s Big Show