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Stock vs. Custom POP Displays: How to Evaluate Your Options

It’s a big question for brand managers: are stock or custom point-of-purchase displays better for my products? In this guide, we’ll detail all of your options, share a few questions you can ask before committing to one or the other, and help you get the framework in place for your product merchandising campaign. Here’s everything you need to determine whether your brand merits a stock POP display or custom display.

About Point-of-Purchase (POP) Displays

Point-of-purchase, or POP, displays (also called point-of-sale displays) have been around as long as merchants have peddled their wares to the public. POP displays only continue to rise in popularity as shoppers become more keen on self-service selection. While a POP display one hundred years ago would’ve been relatively simplistic (a jewelry stand near the cash register, for example), they’ve become increasingly sophisticated through the information age.

These days, POP displays can be an entire “store within a store”, showing off a particular brand using eye-catching digital signage and interactivity. With technology and quick access to different materials, the sky’s the limit when it comes to your POP display!

Types of POP Displays

Point-of-purchase displays aren’t limited to the checkout counter anymore—they can live anywhere in your retail environment. As you start planning potential display options, check out the main types of POP displays to help you brainstorm:

Floor POP Displays

These displays can be standalone or end caps. They can be as big as a “store within a store”, offering an experience that you can walk into or through, or they can be compact enough to fit in the middle of an aisle. Floor POP displays encourage foot traffic to move in a specific direction within your store and can be some of the most eye-catching POP displays on the market.

Counter and Shelf POP Displays

A counter or shelf POP display is ideal for smaller products or those that need to fit into an existing fixture or display. Consumables, jewelry, gift cards, and other impulse purchases lend themselves well to counter displays. 

Wall POP Displays

A POP display doesn’t have to be discreet—in fact, what better way to capture your shoppers’ interest than to install a branded wall display at the point of purchase? If you have the wall space, this type of POP display can be both eye-catching and efficient in terms of the space it takes up (they’re easier to clean and keep clean, too, than floor or counter displays).

Digital or Interactive POP Displays

Consider how you might use technology to enhance your POP display. While not all products require interactivity to sell their value, high-end or complex products can benefit greatly from multimedia or digital videos played on loop to help shoppers understand their purpose.

Stock or Custom or Both?

Now that you’ve decided on the best style of POP display to showcase your product, what’s your next step?

There are three main paths you can take. Option one is a stock display, which is an out-of-the-box design ready for you to use as is. You can purchase these pre-designed displays online, or even at major retail stores. Option two is a custom display, which usually involves collaborating with a design partner to prototype a display that’s made uniquely for your brand. And Option three is a mix of stock and custom display elements combined together to create something unique and cost-effective.

Here are some questions to consider before making a decision:

Is your product an unusual size or shape?

Stock POP displays are typically standardized for cost-effectiveness, meaning they’re more likely to use simple shapes (think three-tiered shelving or rectangular acrylic display stands). If your product is unusually large or oddly shaped, you may struggle to find a stock solution that works. However, if your packaging features mostly right angles and isn’t unusually large, a stock display option may be perfect. 

Do you have a design style in mind?

If you already have some ideas for your POP display, you may be better off working with a design partner who can bring your vision to life. Even though it’s possible to customize an existing stock display to your specifications, it can often be more time-consuming and expensive to go this route—so get a few quotes from retail design companies before committing to the DIY route.

Is your display temporary or permanent?

The materials you choose for your POP display will depend on your merchandising goals. If you’re setting up a temporary or seasonal display, a cardboard design may meet your needs without breaking the bank. In the same vein, it may not make sense to create a completely custom design if your display has a short shelf life—so stock may be the right choice.

But if you’re in need of a permanent fixture for your store, a durable or eco-friendly custom design may be the better choice.

How many displays do you need?

Some vendors have minimum requirements for how many displays they can print or manufacture, so if you only need a single display (or just a few displays), you may be limited to either stock or custom depending on your vendor.

On the other hand, if you need hundreds or more, it may be worthwhile to compare the cost of purchasing stock versus a custom display. While some vendors may offer major wholesale discounts on stock displays, others may offer the same for custom—so consider your options. 

What’s your budget?

Contrary to what you might think, it’s not necessarily more expensive to do a custom POP design than it is to purchase a stock display. However, budget is an important consideration either way. Consider the cost of materials, design work, the time you or store clerks may spend assembling displays, and other labor associated with your POP design. If you need to add custom signage or accessories to your stock POP design, evaluate printing and shipping costs as well.

What’s your timeline?

If you need a solution tomorrow, you won’t have time to develop a custom display and may need to shop for something off the shelf. If you have a longer lead time, a custom solution may be just the ticket. For example, here at InStore Design Display, we typically design, prototype, manufacture, and ship a custom POP display within 4-6 weeks.

Taking the Next Step

Now that you have an idea of whether a stock, custom, or combo point-of-purchase display is best for you, it’s time to reach out to potential vendors or manufacturers to bring your idea to life. If you’re unsure where to start, book a free consultation with InStore Design Display. We’re here to help you learn more about stock and custom point-of-purchase displays options so you can get your product to market faster and make a splash.

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