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Top 10 FAQs about Visual Merchandising and Other Packaging

When it comes to visual merchandising, there is no denying the importance of how your products are displayed to ensure the proper customer experience. Visual displays aren’t limited to stores, though. With more and more retailers selling their wares online, the appeal of the boxes and other packaging used for shipping is also more important than ever.

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Cardboard POP Display

Buying packaging can be a daunting process, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are ten of the most frequently asked questions on this topic, and solutions that should ease the intimidation of making packaging decisions:

  • Are Samples Available?
    If you want to see examples of other custom orders to get ideas for your own product displays, there should be images available online to get you started. This way you can see what the trends are and avoid looking out of touch with current trends. If you need a prototype before placing an order, that can be supplied.
  • How Much Do I Have to Order?
    If you’re buying basic corrugated products you’ll want to purchase in bulk to save time and get the best deal possible. If you’re looking for a custom manufactured packaging order you should never feel obligated to purchase more than you need, but minimum orders of $2,500 are usually required.
  • How Can I Pay for My Order?
    Major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard and American Express are standard. Paying with checking and other types of accounts (such as credit terms) may also be arranged; make sure to discuss this prior to completing your order.
  • Does Shipping and Handling Apply?
    Shipping and handling fees will apply, which should be relative to the size and type of order. Shipping carriers are discussed later in this article.
  • How Long Does It Take to Manufacture?
    If you don’t need any custom printing, your order should only take a couple days to complete after you have finished placing your order. Custom printing requiring new tooling may take as many as four days, and full color packaging and displays usually take 7-9 working days.
  • What Type of Carrier Will Ship My Order?
    This will depend on what you have ordered, as well as your own preferences for shipping. FedEx Ground and UPS Parcel should be available when quantity and size allow, but oversized orders and custom carriers can also be arranged. Will call (customer pickup) orders are also common, so the customer can arrange shipment.
  • When Will I Receive My Packaging?
    This will depend on what type of order you have placed, your chosen shipping method, and distance from your location (refer to #5-6).
  • Can I Get My Order Faster?
    If you want your shipment to arrive as quickly as possible you may have to spend a little extra for rush charges and/or overnight shipping.
  • How Will I Know How to Assemble It?
    All packaging and visual merchandising come with easy-to-follow instructions if any assembly is required.
  • How do I Place the Same Order Next Time?
    This will depend on the level of customization required for the order, but if you save your information from the last order it should be much easier to quickly place the same order again. Creative Displays Now keeps your artwork on file, and tooling in stock for 12 months.

Top 5 Ways to Improve Customer Experience with In-Store Displays

There are many ways to improve the retail experience for your customers, but in store displays might just be one of the fastest, easiest, most convenient and affordable ways to make customers happy – and ultimately increase revenue. The layout and design of your store should serve as a salesperson, bringing customers’ attention to the products they likely want and need that can also bring the highest returns. When used successfully, though, customers should never hear this salesperson. Your creative displays and product placements are more like silent salespeople that lead customers to make buying decisions they feel good about. When your customers feel good in your store and happy with their purchases, they’re more likely to spend more and return again and again.

In Store Display - Custom Cardboard Display

Here are five simple ways to use product displays to improve the customer experience in your store:

  1. Attract Attention with Color
    There are several ways that retailers can use color to attract customers’ attention in a positive way. Solid blocks of color will grab the most attention for the products you want customers to focus on, and the brighter the better. Also make sure all of your brightly colored displays are prominently placed in well-lit areas so customers see those colors popping.
  2. Don’t Talk Too Much with Text
    There are inevitably messages you will want to send to your shoppers with your displays, but too many words can actually get in the way and clutter the display, or at the very least they are likely to be ignored. Remember, your displays are like silent salespeople, and too much text can make customers feel as if they’re being yelled at. A good rule of thumb is to see if the entire text of your display can be read before you would naturally stop to blink. If it can’t, it’s too much.
  3. Follow the Foot Traffic
    Chances are that some areas of your store are constantly filled with customers, while others are often deserted. The most highly trafficked areas should, not surprisingly, receive the most attention when it comes to in store displays. Make sure to change displays in these areas every week or so. The result will be happier customers who might even be excited to return to your store and see what’s changed and what’s new.
  4. Think about Themes
    Placement of displays should not be random; they should be grouped together to feature products that go together. Not only does this create a sense of unity, it also draws customers’ attention to products they would naturally add on to other products. All it takes is a little thought about what people buy together and the themes should fall into place.
  5. Use Lighting to Highlight
    In addition to using bright colors, it’s also important to use lighting to draw people’s attention to certain products. If you’re going to take the time to install creative displays and change them every week, it would be a waste to have them hidden in dull lighting. So make sure all your most prominent displays are highlighted with accent lights that improve the overall visual experience.

Five Ways to Boost Sales during Dads & Grads Season

From early reminders to point of purchase advertising, there are many ways to keep customers enticed about the latest and upcoming shopping season. Now that we’re in the midst of high school and university graduations, as well as Father's Day, retailers are busy trying to capture sales from all the customers shopping for dads and grads. While these are two different markets for two different occasions, there are ways to capture both at once. It saves money, time and space and creates visual appeal.

Cardboard Retail Display

As families and friends celebrate this warm and wonderful time of year, consider five excellent ways to capture the markets for dads and grads simultaneously:

  1. Start Early and Stay Present
    Smart retailers have been reminding customers about these upcoming occasions since Mother’s Day passed, and will keep it up until shortly after Father’s Day. This can be accomplished with in-store displays and banners, website promotions, social media channels, email, newspaper ads and other marketing avenues. And it can’t hurt to keep these reminders up until shortly after graduations and Father’s Day have passed, since many people will want to give belated gifts.
  2. Make Helpful Suggestions
    Don’t hesitate to suggest various gift ideas to your customers. Many people will appreciate the advice when they’re having a hard time thinking of a good gift for the dad or grad in their life and are running out of time. Think about things that the typical (and not-so-typical) dad might use on a regular basis, as well as items recent grads might need as they hunt for jobs or set up new homes.
  3. Make Gift Cards an Option
    Some dads and grads are hard to shop for, and some friends and family don’t know what the dad or grad in their life really likes or what they already have at home. Gift cards are an easy solution for any gift giver, and with a decorative box or creative packaging they can be just as beautiful to receive as any other gift.
  4. Offer Gift Wrapping Services
    Who wants to run home and wrap their own gifts when someone else can do it for free? By offering gift wrapping services, you can make the retail experience even more pleasant and convenient for your shoppers. This free service won’t cost you a lot of time, money or resources, and it may just attract some shoppers who would have passed your store by otherwise.
  5. Get Them at the Register
    One of the easiest ways to increase sales and ensure repeat business is with counter displays at the point of purchase. By offering helpful suggestions, last minute ideas and small add-ons right at the register, you can bolster each sale and enhance customer satisfaction. Many customers will appreciate the reminder about small additional items they may have forgotten or overlooked. This is also a great place to promote with coupons, invitations and other advertising activities.

Both of these occasions are about celebrating the people we love for the important things they do. With these simple steps, it’s easy for retailers to help their customers give gifts that do just that as they help themselves boost sales.

Top 5 Best Practices and Strategies for Retail Store Layouts

There is a science to retail displays, and when you get the formula right your customers won’t realize any work went into the layout at all. It takes a fine balance of creative ingredients to achieve this desired result without being obvious about it. So how do you keep people in the store, engaged with the displays and products and ultimately spending money? If you’re wondering how stores achieve this magic formula, consider the following best practices and strategies that are sure to keep your customers happily shopping.

retail display store planning

  1. Windows Always Come First
    It’s always a best practice to focus on windows first, because if people aren’t impressed by or engaged with the window displays, they likely won’t make it into the store to see anything else you’ve got to offer. Some stores choose to keep windows bare to let the activity of the store speak for itself, but most display consultants agree that opting out of window displays is a missed opportunity. Fresh, bold, attention-grabbing, single-color themes are always a safe bet. Cluttered window displays can have the opposite effect though, so keep it clean and you’re good to go.
  2. Move Traffic to the Right
    While this isn’t common knowledge among the general public, most consultants note that drawing customers to the right after entering is typically a good practice. For various reasons, people are more likely to move counter clockwise around a store if given the option. Stores often put their most attention-grabbing displays and comforting product placements to the right of the entrance, to inspire positive feelings and bigger purchases while customers are navigating the store.
  3. Place Premium Products at Eye Level
    It’s always a best practice to keep people’s eyes drawn to the more appealing and expensive products that are going to keep profits high. This is why stores often keep premium products at eye level, so customers see these products without having to move or crane their neck, while cheaper products are kept on the lowest shelves.
  4. Make the Most of Your Display Cases
    Display cases provide an excellent opportunity to draw customers’ attention to premium products and allow them to interact with these products before making a purchase, to make purchasing high-ticket items the most pleasant experience possible. Many stores prefer to angle the aisles to point customers to a back area where they find a compelling display, but if you’re going to try this approach make sure you have enough space. The main aisle and each side aisle should be wide enough to accommodate multiple customers as well as any sales associates assisting customers at the display cases.
  5. Make Sure You Have a Plan
    Whatever you do, just make sure you have a plan for your retail store layout. Stores without a comprehensive plan for their retail display policies often end up cluttered and disorganized, and leave customers unable to find what they’re looking for. Think about creating engaging retail displays at the ends of aisles, and a layout that keeps people interested and moving in the direction you want them to.

What’s the most creative store display you’ve seen? Did it change your buying trend?

Creative Snowmen: See our Contest Winners

Creative Displays Now and Custom Boxes Now (divisions of Great Northern Corp) recently ran a promotion with some of our customers, to see who could build the most creative snowman using our promotional "Snowman Kit". We were more than impressed with all of our entries! Here are the winners:

4th Place (tie): "Ice Fishing on the River" submitted by R & D Systems:

Ice Fishing Snowman

4th Place (tie): “Snow Twins” submitted by Wildlife Research:

Snow Man with Snow Woman - Creative Displays

3rd Place: “Snow Dog” submitted by Goal Zero:

Snow Dog - Snowman Contest by Creative Displays Now

2nd Place: “Who Needs Snow?” submitted by Foam Industries:

Snowman made from Foam

And the winner is....

1st Place: “Ticket to the North Pole” submitted by Gould's Jewelry:

Snowman Contest Winner - Creative Displays Now

Thank you to all who submitted entries--we loved the creativity. Contact Creative Displays Now if you would like to participate next year, or to discuss your next retail display project.