Creating Point-of-Purchase Displays

Reprinted with permission from The Packaging Designer's Book of Patterns, 4th Edition
© 2012, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

By Lászlo Roth, George L. Wybenga

Die-cut three-dimensional displays first appeared in 1910, and photographic full-color displays made their appearance in the late 1920s. With the development of new plastic materials and techniques, point-of-purchase (P.O.P.) displays can now be produced in a variety of styles for practically all consumer products. With the rapid growth of many industries and the increasing variety of products, the point-ofpurchase display has become an ever more effective selling aid for retailers.

The expansion of self-service stores and changes in consumer buying habits have also contributed to the development of P.O.P. materials. The modern retail establishment is a busy place in which a large percentage of selling is accomplished through self-service; consumers choose merchandise themselves rather than having it brought to them by salespeople. Often, unplanned buying decisions are made in the store, and an effective, well-designed display may be the deciding factor in a consumer’s choice.

Planning and designing a P.O.P. display is a complex job involving a variety of materials and technologies. Paperboards, plastics, and corrugated boards all play an important part in the production of the display.

There are several categories of P.O.P. displays. Among them are display merchandisers, promotional displays, display shippers, counter displays, floor displays, and gravity-fed displays. (Large supermarket displays, permanent displays, wire displays, dump bins, and motion displays, all of which tend to be larger and more expensive to produce, are not discussed here.)

Display merchandisers play an important part in self-service systems because they are strategically placed in the store, usually near the cash register or checkout counter. The display merchandiser is sometimes called a promotional display because it is designed to be used only for the duration of a particular promotion.

Promotional displays have a short life, usually three to four weeks (i.e., the duration of the promotion). The material used is usually paperboard or E-flute corrugated, often combined with an inexpensive vacuum-formed (thermoformed) plastic platform to hold the product.

The display shipper is the most common variation of the promotional display. It is a shipping carton that opens up to form a display with a die-cut riser (or reader) panel for art and copy. Shippers are used in the mass merchandising of health and beauty aids, liquor, toys, novelties, pharmaceuticals, and books. The advantage of the shipper is that it combines a shipping carton with a display setup.

Gravity-fed displays are one of the oldest types of display systems. They are used for film, shoe polish, and small packages of various products.

What follows illustrates a variety of structural designs and patterns for P.O.P. displays.