Countertop Displays: The Art of Encouraging Impulse Buys

February 27, 2012 by  Filed under: Marketing 

Impulse buys. We’ve all committed one of them at some point or another, whether it’s picking up a pack of gum while in line at the supermarket or grabbing that extra lip balm at the drug store because all of sudden your lips are feeling rather dry. For any store looking to increase their daily sales, impulse buys are a great place to start. But what sort of tools do you use to help encourage those impulse buys? The reason impulse buys are so successful is because they place the product directly in the customers’ line of sight when they’re stuck in line, waiting for their turn to check out. A captive audience, so to speak. The display tools in this article, one and all, help to place these impulse items directly in front of customers, grabbing their attention and encouraging them to purchase. There are a number of different styles out there to choose from, so let’s start with some of the most popular.

Acrylic Displays: The image that these stands bring to mind is one of the most enduring when it comes to countertop displays. They have a crystal clear construction that doesn’t distract but instead draws the attention to the item being shown off. You’ll frequently see items such as pieces of jewelry, elegant pairs of evening shoes, delicate figurines, and more being showcased with acrylic stands. What’s also nice about acrylic showcases is that there are many different models out there that can support a number of different items securely. Bar displays are ideal for jewelry and watches, while the pedestals are great for those little figurines. Bulk bins with lifting lids are a great companion to food items, and the lockable bins are ideal for electronics and sports memorabilia, giving you the ability to control who has access to the items. Acrylic is quite durable, but it’s also a lightweight material so you can easily move it around your store to find the best position to show off your items. The only problem with acrylic tools is that they have a tendency to be some of the more expensive display products around. You are getting high quality for that price, however, so you’ll have to decide what option works best for your establishment.

Wire Racks: Items such as books, post and greeting cards, DVDs, CDs, and magazines can be supported best in these classic wire racks. They usually consist of shallow compartments that are perfectly shaped to handle those flatter items. Wire rack stands usually feature many of these compartments in multiple levels on one display and have the ability to rotate, allowing your customers to look through many of them in a short span of time. Some styles even come with special holders or slots to allow you to insert your own custom signage, letting your customers know exactly what you’re offering and how much it is. Wire display racks tend to be a bit on the larger side when compared to some of the other countertop showcases that are for sale. However, they still give you the ability to hold a great amount of material without taking up any more counter space than you need to. There are more affordable selections amongst these models, but there are also higher end choices as well.

Spinner Racks: These are kind of like the younger siblings of the wire racks above. They still have the wire construction that the above models do, but the products are displayed on tiers with peg hooks instead of compartments. The tiers can be adjusted up and down the central support, giving you the space needed to display larger items on the same display with smaller ones. As the name says, these tiers also spin around, letting customers easily flip through all of the items displayed on the peg hooks. The footprint is small on these models too, but you do need to take into account the room needed in order to spin.

Cardboard Displays: So you’re looking for countertop showcases, but don’t have a lot of money to spend on them. Never fear, that’s where cardboard displays come in. They’re made from colored corrugated cardboard, and come in a variety of sizes. There are models that are perfect for brochures and DVDs, but there are also larger styles that come with peg hooks or wide trays to fit a surprisingly large amount of product. It’s hard to find a showcase that’s less expensive than a cardboard display – we’re talking less than 50 cents an item here. This low price makes them ideal for purchasing in bulk, which I’d almost encourage you to do. Being made of cardboard they’re not going to last as long as a wire or an acrylic display will, and they’ll probably get damaged easier than the other styles will. However, replacing them at this price is an easy feat.

Wicker Baskets: If you’re looking for a stylish aesthetic, then these are the countertop displays you should look into. They come in both natural wicker and a synthetic polypropylene material that looks pretty much exactly like the real thing. The price differences between the two materials are pretty much negligible, so let the other qualities sway you over to their sides. The natural wicker baskets provide a very stylish look that’s great for higher end places like spas or boutiques. The synthetic wicker is sturdier and easier to clean, making them a better choice for food products such as fruits or baked goods in bakeries, supermarkets, and other places along those lines. You can also purchase wire racks to make a multi-level exhibit out of your wicker baskets, increasing your display space. On the whole the baskets are recommended for larger, less delicate items that can be piled up inside. The sides of the basket provide the only support, so this may not be the best display for a fragile item that needs to stand upright all the time.

Tabletop Easels: Want to show off one specific item without any sort of a frame or a prop getting in the way of the view? Try a tabletop easel. These tools are often made of slender steel wire, but are strong enough to hold such substantial items as a large book or a decorative plate. The easels can also be adjusted to different heights to accommodate many different products. When an item is displayed in one of the easels, it will usually cover up the entirety of the stand, placing your item front and center. They’re also one of the cheaper items in this article, which will allow you to purchase a number of them at once to set up displays throughout your establishment. However, since they are only able to support a single item, they may not be the best choice if you have a large amount of countertop space you want to fill, or if you just want to offer a lot of items at the register.

Specialty Holders: This is sort of a catch-all term for a number of displays. What all of these displays have in common is that they are able to hold one specific style of item. For instance, there are stands specific to sunglasses, panels that showcase pairs of earrings, necklace holders, gift card holders, cell phone stands, and more. If you’re looking to bring attention to that singular, specific product, say if you own a jewelry store or an electronics store, then these are the displays you want. These aren’t multi-taskers, however, which you should keep in mind as you’re deciding which displays are best to meet your needs.

These stands aren’t complicated tools, but oftentimes they’re just what you need to give your customers a nudge in the right direction and encourage them to make those impulse buys. Your countertop space will be used efficiently, your customers will be happy that they managed to pick up an extra item that they were wanting, and you’ll be happy to see the sales increase. How can you go wrong?

Elizabeth L. Iacono is an employee at George Patton Associates, Inc., in the marketing department. To view the products mentioned in this article, please visit Displays2Go.

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