PDQ Displays: A Complete Overview

What Does PDQ Stand For in Retail?

The spelled-out meaning of PDQ is surprisingly simple. PDQ stands for Pretty Darn Quick or Product Displayed Quickly. Usually, PDQ is used in the context of PDQ displays, which are retail-ready displays that come fully assembled and stocked. As the name implies, PDQ displays are fast. The idea is that no one needs to spend much time on setup. Getting a PDQ display ready for the floor might be as simple as popping open some cardboard and placing the display in the right location.

Pretty Darn Quick (PDQ) displays have a lot of benefits and advantages for consumer product companies. With a PDQ display, your products spend less time on the shelves and provide valuable advertising space to improve your brand’s recognition in the industry.

Continue reading to learn more about PDQ displays and how they can help sell your products.

Table of Contents:

See Our PDQ Solutions

What Is a PDQ Display?

Essentially, PDQ displays are bins, trays or racks that can be installed fast and with little effort. Corrugated cardboard PDQs offer small and lightweight product displays, typically used in the impulse purchase sections of shops, checkouts or at sales counters. Sometimes, you can place PDQs in aisles that get a lot of foot traffic. They are versatile point-of-sale devices used to sell a variety of products.

While PDQ displays work well any time of year, their ease of assembly makes them a good pick for short-term goals and seasonal promotions. With the right design, cardboard PDQ packaging can also be sturdy, so you can use them for long-term goals and displays. They’re incredibly customizable, so you can use them for unique brand goals, products and designs.

PDQ displays are easy to assemble

Key Features of a PDQ Display Tray

A PDQ display is commonly seen in a tray design on shelves or countertops in stores. However, these displays also come in a wide variety of custom options, including:

  • Rack displays
  • Bin displays
  • Pallet displays
  • Endcap displays
  • Floor displays
  • Retail displays
  • Multi-tiered displays
  • Corrugated displays

These displays, which are often comprised of cardboard and other lightweight materials for easy shipping and setup, help businesses have some control over how their product looks on the shelves. Typically, these displays are reserved for areas of high foot traffic in a store, such as at the checkout or sales counters, but they can really be placed anywhere in the store.

While early PDQs were created to help make stocking products easier and faster, they’ve evolved to provide much more value to businesses today. These unique customized displays function as both stocking space and advertising space.

Here are the key features of cardboard PDQ displays:

  • Easy to open and close for fast setup
  • Displays custom compelling graphics and signage
  • Keeps products and merchandise well-organized
  • Maintains ideal presentation
  • Prevents items from being knocked over
  • Quick to manufacture
  • Efficient loading of products by keeping everything together
  • Provides another option for marketing and packaging

What Does PDQ Mean in Retail?

In retail, PDQ displays are also known as Shelf-Ready Packaging or Retail Ready Packaging. PDQs displays are vital for helping you sell your products in retail spaces.

When writing their shopping lists, consumers probably don’t add brands next to each item. They might have a mental note of which brands they prefer, but pricing and branding can sway them. You can get your products in front of customers quickly and efficiently using PDQ packaging and displays. Improving your products’ shelf visibility can help them stand out and increase impulse purchases.

There are two main functions of PDQ displays — they fast-track product stocking, and they are advertising spaces. Most PDQ displays require little to no setup. You can stock trays, bins and racks with products before going to a retail store. Once you have arrived, all you have to do is place your display in its designated spot. The ability to set up multiple displays ensures your product can be in as many stores as possible.

Another element of PDQs packaging is that they provide additional free advertising space. The sides and backs of PDQs can showcase product pictures, extra product information for consumers and QR codes for your app or website. This is particularly useful if you run a competition or promotion where you can easily add callouts and information to consumers. If you want to host a tasting at a store, PDQs can reinforce your brand’s identity and offer consumers additional information. Providing customers with all this extra information can help you influence their purchasing decisions.

PDQs are a convenient way to stock your products and a powerful communication tool for brands. Used correctly, they can significantly impact your product’s sales.

What Are the Benefits of PDQ Displays?

What will a PDQ display mean for your product or merchandise? Aside from providing an additional space to advertise outside of your actual labels and logos, PDQ displays can put your product and brand on the map and encourage customers to buy. Here are the top advantages you can expect with custom PDQ displays:

1. Provides Easy Assembly

PDQ displays can be set up in seconds. This means store employees can spend less time assembling your product and more time selling it. Easy setup also means efficient restocking so your products are always available for customers who are interested.

2. Offers Versatility

Because there is such a wide variety of PDQ displays, you can use them for any unique products, designs or brand goals you have in mind. Many brands will have promotions or seasonal changes throughout the year, which PDQ displays can accommodate.

3. Maximizes the Space on the Shelf

There’s only so much space a store can hold for your product, which is why it’s important to use a display that works for smaller, limited spaces. No matter the size of your product, PDQ displays help you maximize every inch of real estate. 

4. Encourages Impulse Buying

Customers waiting in line at the checkout may see your product displayed neatly and make a last-minute impulse decision to purchase it. PDQ displays can easily turn your items into grab-and-go products that catch their eye and quickly relay what your product can do for them without having to think too much about it.

5. Offers Customizable Branding Options

Perhaps the most exciting benefit of using PDQ displays is that you can completely personalize them according to your brand or product’s visuals, logo, language and colors. These options make it easy to blend your stocking space with your marketing strategy to attract customers

Completely personalized PDQ displays

6. Applies to a Large Product Base

PDQ displays are ideal for many different industries and products. From beverages and food to pet supplies to electronics to home goods, you can display your product efficiently in an eye-catching corrugated cardboard display.

7. Improves Visibility

The sooner customers can find your products, the faster you can make sales! PDQ displays include stunning visuals and icons to create a cohesive image, making it easier for customers to locate your items in the stores and develop brand recognition.

8. Provides Environmentally Sustainable Options

While you’re highlighting your brand’s best qualities, you can also boost your brand’s sustainability efforts by using PDQ corrugated displays made from cardboard. This means your displays can be reused, recycled or even used to produce more display units down the line.

Best Products for PDQ Displays

Smaller products work best in PDQ displays. You can stock them with any number of items, but you generally place merchandise in multiple rows or stacks. Anything from chapstick to earbuds to foil packs can work in a PDQ display. But it’s more than the product you’re selling — it’s also how you brand them that can make a difference.

Eye-catching colors and graphics, bright logos, quick, sharp one-liners and value propositions all make PDQs practical tools that grab customers’ eyes and educate them on the product while encouraging them to buy.

Best products for PDQ displays


Things to Consider When Designing a PDQ Display

Before you can get started with dreaming up your unique PDQ corrugated cardboard displays, take the following factors into account to make the process as seamless as possible.

1. Type of Product

The first element to consider is the type of product or products you plan to display. Corrugated cardboard displays often work best with smaller and medium-sized products, including

  • Cosmetics
  • Toys
  • Snacks/Food
  • Beverages
  • Candy
  • Gum
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lip balm
  • Accessories
  • Hair products
  • Batteries
  • Cleaning products
  • Greeting cards
  • Travel items
  • Earbuds

Try to match your PDQ display design to your product’s overall aesthetic and function for a cohesive look. For example, a display for batteries would likely look much different than a display for children’s toys.

2. Number of Units

The next step is to consider the number of units you will need for your product. Are you selling to local retailers only? Are you going nationwide? Either way, the number of units you require to fit all of your products will determine your overall costs for your displays, so it’s something to note.

3. Store Placement

In some cases, you may know where a store is going to display your product ahead of time, such as near the cash register, at the electronics sales counter or in the toy aisle. If your product can fit in a smaller PDQ display, you have a better chance of being put in an impulse-buying section, such as right before customers check out.

No matter where your item is placed, you can use the store placement to create a unique strategy for grabbing your customer’s attention by advertising in a visually stunning yet functional way.

4. Demographic

The customer base of your brand and specific product can influence where the display will be in the store. For instance, if you sell makeup, your product might be displayed in the cosmetic aisle or women’s care section. If you sell hand sanitizer or another grab-and-go product, your product will likely be in the checkout line.

You may also want to consider whether your customers are more male or female-oriented, their average income or anything else that can help you build a thorough customer profile. This can help you provide maximum benefits to your customers and set you apart from other retailers, creating loyalty.

Where Do PDQs Work Best?

PDQ displays are right at home in many different retail settings. Since they support all kinds of products, you can find them in everything from gas stations to car dealerships.

Some of the best retail spaces for PDQs include:

While PDQ displays work well in almost any setting, you’ll want to consider their placement within that setting. If your item is related to another purchase, such as coffee pods to go with a coffee maker, try putting them next to the larger purchase. Putting items next to the main attraction can also make them seem more affordable and remind customers of other items they may need. Placing your PDQ displays is just one part of the larger puzzle of maximizing their benefits.

Create Custom Cardboard PDQ Displays With Creative Displays Now!

Contact us for PDQ displays

If you’d like to learn more about PDQs and see how and if they can make a difference, contact Creative Displays Now or give us a call today at 1-855-284-6922. Our experienced team will help your design custom PDQs that will help get your products the attention they deserve, helping you drive profits.

Creative Displays Now has over 60 years of experience in the custom retail display business and has won over 100 industry awards. With the help of our team, we can tell you what will sell and use tested methods to sell your products. Speak to a member of our team today!

*Post was last updated on April 23, 2024 at 11:25AM EST*

Posted in Display and Packaging Design, Retail Display Examples

Need Some Inspiration?

Check out examples of our custom PDQ displays!

Learn More