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Store Floor Success: Retail Floor Design for the Real World

Theory and practice are two different beasts in retail display design . Sometimes, the fresh ideas we deem revolutionary fall flat when it’s time to actually implement them. If the display set-up is time-consuming or store employees damage it because the set-up is complicated, it may never leave the back room. That means a lost opportunity to serve customers and make a sale.

5 Retail Display Trends Standing Out In-store

So, which display trends are taking hold in 2022? And what’s actually converting on the retail floor? No one knows better than the folks making the sale. So, we went to the store floor to find those answers. Tom Tran, a Dick’s Sporting Goods assistant store manager for footwear in Sacramento, CA, has made a name for himself on LinkedIn with his take on retail. In a recent interview with Tran, we got the scoop. We think his counsel is one that can make a difference whether you’re transitioning into brick-and-mortar from eCommerce or opening your hundredth store. 

Interactive Displays

Tran shared that Dick’s has begun implementing interactive displays in his store.

“For the brand Theragun, we have a display that has a monitor explaining what the item is. We’re also starting to use them in baseball, explaining the difference between bats.”

Though an explainer display isn’t necessary or optimal for every type of product, it can be a game-changer for those items that require a lot of education at the point of purchase. Products that are revolutionary or new to the market are great candidates for these types of displays, since they can serve the dual purpose of capturing customers’ attention and educating them, which can move them closer to buying.

Going Big

It’s easy for shoppers to get confused or overwhelmed by the number of options available these days, and one of the most impactful solutions we’re seeing is big, clear signage. Tran describes the shoe section at Dick’s as having large signage for each of the major brands, with Crocs being one of the most eye-catching displays featured in the store.

“There used to be two plain-colored racks, but now it’s a 12 by 12-foot wall of bright colors. Customers ask if that’s all we have—but it’s a lot! It’s the entire wall.”

Prominent, branded signage like this can encourage customers to explore brands they hadn’t even considered before, making it a solid strategy for standing out in a competitive space.


Speaking of competitive spaces, new brands have a huge mountain to climb when they’re vying for attention in a large retail environment. Having an amazing product simply isn’t enough for latecomers, since they’re competing with companies that often have a cult-like following with decades of loyalty to their names. So, let’s say you have a shoe company that’s just starting out, and you want a store like Dick’s to offer your product. Where do you start? Tom Tran from Dick’s has solid advice:

“First, I’d want to make sure there’s good enough signage, and that it’s somewhere the customer can see it when a new SKU is competing against Nike and Adidas with 45 different SKUs. It gets lost in the shuffle. One of the reasons this happens, besides not having proper signage, is that there’s no story to it. I always tell people there has to be a story to whatever you’re selling.”

 If your brand has a unique history, founder, or purpose, it can be a major catalyst in attracting new buyers and designing displays that stand out.

Third-Party Installation Teams

With more complex retail display designs on the market these days, there’s a bit more risk involved with do-it-yourself installation. Tran reflected on a previous role at another sporting goods store where employees would accidentally damage fixtures due to lack of experience or a lack of installation instructions.

“At Dick’s, we actually go through a company that will come in and build displays themselves,” Tran said.

When you’re shopping for a display design partner, ask about their installation instructions and if they offer assistance in putting your displays together. At IDD, for example, we provide very detailed install instructions to help you avoid damaging the displays you worked so hard to develop—and we provide full installation services, as well.

Building a Lasting Bond

With big-box competitors like Amazon continuing to ramp up, it’s no secret that traditional retailers have to bring something special to the table if they want to compete in 2022. For shoppers who don’t experience brand loyalty or any kind of connection with their retail stores, there’s nothing stopping them from using your store to explore products and make a decision before ordering the same product on Amazon for potentially less.

Tran’s opinion on differentiating from the Amazons and the Walmarts? It’s all about delivering exceptional customer service—being less like a warehouse of goods, and more like the bar where everybody knows your name.

“For our store, we challenge each other to know the product a little bit better. We want to give each customer a one-on-one experience that will make them come back.” 

At Dick’s, the saying is “giving the extra 1%”, meaning the baseline is giving each customer 100% of your effort while throwing in an extra one percent to “wow” them.

“If you're looking for a shoe we don't have at our store and I can't substitute it, I'm going to do that extra 1% and try to call another store or try to find it online. If it's my last customer in my shift, I’ve got to make sure I still give them my all. I shouldn't downplay my customer service if I'm tired.”

Passion from Start to Finish

As much as retail store display design impacts customer experience, the number one success factor we believe will always prevail is passion. Tran agrees: he sees his purpose in retail as solving customers’ problems, and he has a true passion for it. We’re the same at IDD. We’re a bunch of tinkerers behind the scenes who really enjoy taking unusual and complex requests and developing creative solutions that delight our customers (and their customers).

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