The Art of Creating a Successful Retail Display

Creating a successful display for your retail store can be tricky.  It has been said that it requires both artistic ability and scientific ability…something that many retailers don’t have the time or, sometimes,  ability to deal with on top of all the other responsibilities of running a successful business.  So, we’ve put together a list of 4 key elements that will simplify the process and have you displaying your products like a pro in no time!

Products – What is the purpose is of your display?  Base your purpose on your target market and customer’s needs.  Say, for instance,  you have guests that travel.  Then, travel products would be a great product choice!

Provide testers with your display that allow customers to try before they buy.

We suggest that you don’t display every product in your line. Typically odd numbers like 3 or 5 products are visually more appealing and, if possible, products with a variety of price points.1  In the example of winter travel products above, here is an example of a good product mix:  Pikake Travel Watermist, Tuberose Petal Soft Travel Lotion, White Ginger Travel Hydrating Body Wash, Tuberose Silky Body Oil, and Travel Tiare Lei Body Lotion.

Also feature testers and provide samples. Products that allow interaction increases because most customers will not buy what they cannot try.

Placement – Unlike what the pop singer Beyonce Knowles says, in the case of product placement, products placed “To the right, to the right….” of the entrance are the ones that  will get noticed!  Research shows that most customers look and walk to the right when entering a room, so your prime retail real estate should be reserved for whatever products you want to highlight.1

Your retail products should be the “Beyonce” of your display and the props should perform as the “back-up” dancers.                                  (Photo courtesy of February 2016)

Props – The most effective displays use the 80/20 rule of design: No more than 20% of the display should be props.1 Your retail products should be the “Beyonce” of your act (yes, we’re using her as an example again) and your decorations should be the back up dancers!  Select props that set the mood for your display. For example, if you are promoting summer travel products, cover the table with maps, leis, small suitcases and airplanes, or cruise ships.  If you have a winter travel crowd, try snowboards, gloves, or ski-lift passes.

Props can also add color, texture and height variation…so play around with it until you find the best look for your store.

Tokyo Fish2
A TerraNova retailer successfully uses shelf talkers to share TerraNova product information with their customers.

Promotion – Unfortunately, the theory “build it and they will come” does not apply here, you will also have to do a little promoting.  Educate your staff on the purpose and products on display and share product information with shelf talkers.  TerraNova offers several that you can download and print for free, including press mentions that help draw attention  and give information about the products you are displaying.

You can also create a  “don’t forget to pack me” list of the travel-size products you offer to give to your customers to put in their shopping bag (just because they don’t buy today, doesn’t mean they won’t buy in the future).

Finally don’t forget the power of social media!  Post photos and share information on the benefits of the products in your display on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram and invite customers to stop in and experience them.1

1  “5 Key Elements of A Successful Retail Display,” Skin Inc., February 2013,

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