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Top 5 Traits of a Great Custom Retail Design and Build Firm

After 21 years supporting Sprint and now T-Mobile and their retail store franchisees and private dealer network, Team IDD has learned a thing or two about what it takes to be a great custom retail display design and build partner.

We found it wasn't enough to produce a great prototype and then mass-produce it. We also had to make sure the final product arrived on time, in good order, and was easy to install even for store personnel not familiar with point-of-purchase (POP) retail displays. To complete the display cycle, IDD always kept an eye on making it simple and efficient to supply replacement parts due to the normal wear and tear experienced by wireless stores. Over the many years of our relationship with Sprint/T-Mobile, we added kitting, fulfillment, warehousing, and third-party logistics (3PL) distribution to manage display-related inventory. 

Five key traits guide how IDD builds relationships with our partners in wireless as well as animal health, sporting goods, cannabis, greeting cards, and other retail products that benefit from custom displays as a selling tool.

Trait #1: Be Fast

Our goal is to be the first to present a display prototype and price it within a 24-48 hour turnaround. We know that time is money, so we built our prototyping team and pricing process for speed. 

Trait #2: Be Available

Over the years, we found that more often than not, our clients needed us after hours. That's when they had time to think through the variables they were solving. With 1000's of locations and multiple formats to consider, IDD's willingness to always be available for impromptu meetings to brainstorm and problem-solve during the workday and beyond was how we stepped up to serve our clients. It's also how we developed empathy for our client's challenges, which enabled us to create solutions that hit home runs.

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Trait #3: Make It Easy

We pride ourselves on thinking through all the ways a display can go wrong once it arrives in store. We aim to make it easy for store personnel to unpack, set up, configure electronic components, load products, and correctly place within the format using important planogram instructions—always provided by our fulfillment team. Over the years, our partnerships grew organically. IDD also added third-party warehousing and distribution for items needing replacement in the life of a custom retail display. Co-packing enabled us to consolidate shipping, which reduced freight costs for our clients. It also reduced the confusion related to multiple SKUs associated with one display. 

Trait #4: Make It Modular 

Not every franchise retail store is the exact size and shape. Developing modular displays as well as ones unique to architectural anomalies and a location's footprint has been key to making displays efficient and visually compelling. Wherever we can build flexibility into the design, we do. From the historic Flatiron Building in New York City to the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC and on to flagship stores in Palo Alto, CA and historic South Beach, FL, IDD has been a part of many terrific collaborative display design initiatives. 

Trait #5: Bring an Even Better Idea

We listen to our client's interpretation of the problem, ask many questions, and then go to the drawing board to develop our recommendations. Our team then stands in the customer's shoes to bring that sensibility to our design. In addition to what our client has asked for, we always offer alternate ideas and designs to elevate the concept to the next level. With our quick turnaround prototyping team, our clients can touch and feel all of the options quickly as part of the decision-making process. There's simply no substitute for being able to touch, feel, and place ideas in context at a moment's notice. 

We've been fortunate to have many long-standing relationships with companies like Sprint/T-Mobile, Elanco/Bayer Animal Health, the NBA, and Hallmark. We've tackled many retail display challenges that have reinforced our commitment to our five traits, which make Team IDD a great custom retail display design and build partner. 

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