How the Right Display Can Help Build Your Brand, Maximize Sales, and Separate You from the Competition
This 3-part blog series is about CBD displays and the 10 keys to merchandising success. In Part I, we likened the current CBD market explosion to the 19th century gold rushes that took place in a number of countries around the world. We discussed the highly predictable lifecyles of these gold rushes and argued that the CBD market will likely follow the same pattern. With this as background, we began to outline the key attributes of CBD displays that can help to build your CBD brand, maximize sales, and enable your product to stand out from the competition. We covered the first two keys to success: creating a display that can (1) support an educational sale, and (2) induce trial. If you missed Part I, you can read it here. You may also be interested in one of our related posts on Cannabis Displays and Keys to
Let’s dig into the next 4 key success factors for effective CBD displays:
(3) Create Perceived Value- Given that the CBD industry is in its infancy, consumers lack critical information related to CBD products, and brand awareness is very low (which is why supporting an educational sale is so important) . The of lack of information and low brand awaeness combine to make perceived value exponentially more important than might otherwise be the case in highly mature product categories such as laundry detergent or canned food items where consumers benefit from near perfect information and the market is very efficient.
So what is perceived value and how do you create it? In short, perceived value is a consumer’s opinion on what a product is worth to him or her. Although perceived value may have nothing to do with price, most consumers attribute greater value to a product that has a higher price point. Therefore, as long as the market is inefficient, it make make sense to price your product higher than the competition as one way to create higher perceived value in the consumer’s mind.
A second way to create perceived value is through superior packaging. Consumers automatically assume that products that come with higher-end packaging are, in fact, higher-end products.
By the same token, if your CBD product is well merchandised in a premium-looking acrylic display with attactive graphics and LED lighting, consumers will assume your product is more valuable than a competitor’s product that is merchandised in a chip box or corrugated display. An example of a countertop CBD display box that has an upscale feel and high visual impact is the vaping pen display shown below that we designed and manufactured for Vessel.
Using upscale natural materials like bamboo can also increase perceived value like the two examples we made that are shown below.
This truth is self-evident but is also consistent with out experience in the eyewear business. We discovered that if you take a $3.99 pair of sunglasses and put them in a locking case with LED backlighting, consumers attribute higher value to the glasses, even if the brand is relatively unknown. Conversely, if you take a $100 pair of sunglasses and put them on lower-end plastic sunglass display designed for convenience stores, consumers will attibute a significantly lower value to the sunglasses. A side-by-side comparison of two of our sunglass displays helps to illustrate the point.
When it comes to CBD products, our simple conclusion is that investing in a nice display box that can help to create perceived value for your product is a winning strategy.
4) Trust and Credibility- Since there are no longitudinal studies demonstrating the safety and efficacy of CBD products, it is critically important for brands to establish trust and credibility with the consumer. Many consumers still have negative bias against the the marijuana industry, particularly since it has been associated with criminal activity for such a long time, and recreational use continues to be illegal at the federal level. Furthermore, with recent media coverage about vaping-related deaths and illnesses, safetry continues to be a major concern among consumers.
So, how can CBD brands establish trust and credibility? One way is by being transparent about the source, ingredients, testing methods, production process, and quality control approach used to produce the product. This type of information can be shared on packaging, through brochures, in videos and as a part of the graphics that are incorporated in the POP display.
A second way to establish credibility and trust is by securing a well-credentialed spokesperson for the brand, providing endorsements from respected members of the medical community, professional athletes, celebrities or models (particularly for topicals, etc.). Customer testimonials can also go a long way in establishing trust and building credibility with consumers.
The third way is by creating a very tasteful and professional CBD display box that gives the consumer comfort about the company behind the product. In the same way that white lab coats have been shown to create an automatic level of authority, trust, and respect for doctors who wear them, a professional display can create an immediate sense of trust and credibility among consumers. Does the display communicate that the company is an established player that stands behind its product, or is it a fly-by-night company likely to put out an inconsistent and poorly tested product? Does the display incorporate endorsements and testimonials that are so important to establising trust and credibility as mentioned above? Is the display well designed, organized, clean and well maintained? Does the display and/or literature provide clear contact information for a customer to contact in the event of a question or concern?
Ultimately, the best way to establish trust and capability is to get the consumer to try the product and have a good experience with it. An effective display will be designed to induce trial as discussed in Part 1 of this series.
5) Visual Impact- Creating a display that has a strong visual impact is essential to make your brand stand out at retail. Visual impact can be achieved in numerous ways such as through lighting, digital media, breath-taking graphics, unique shapes and color schemes, display size, and off-shelf placement of the CBD display boxes. We could share many examples of visually impactful displays we have designed, but two that illustrate our point are shown below.
6) Balancing Security vs. Accessibility/Convenience- Understanding the tradeoffs between security vs. accessiblity and convenience is important before embarking on any CBD POP display design project. Because CBD products are often considered high-value products, many major retailers require that the products be displayed in a locking case. While this goes a long way in terms of preventing theft, it can also reduce sales, particularly in understaffed stores or in situations where consumers are too impatient to wait for a store clerk to open the case. In addition, because product awareness is generally low as we have discussed and there is likely to be multiple product choices, some consumers may feel uncomfortable or rushed to make a decision with the store clerk hovering over them while they struggle to read the labels and make a decision.
The bottom line is a lot of retailers require locking cases so you need to be prepared to offer a solution in order to secure placement. It will be importat to determine if the display needs to be locking from the front side, the back side, or both sides. We prefer a simple cam lock as shown in the picture of a very basic locking acrylic case that has been stripped down prior to adding graphics. The example below includes a removable header (without graphics) and embedded base magnets that enable the display to stick to a metal shelf. Note: It is good practice to include at least two keys and preferably more as stores lose them, have mulitple shifts, and they are a pain to replace after the fact.
The security vs. accessibility/convenience trade off needs to consider not only the value of the product but also the type of retail distribution channel. For example, the CBD displays that we design for convenience stores are generally not locking for a number of reasons: (1) The CBD products typically sold through convenience stores are lower value products compared to those sold through drugstores or mass market retailers. (2) By definition covenience stores need to offer convenience so people don’t want to wait around for a case to be opened. (3) Potential theft issues are easily addressed by closing off the front of the case and having the back of the case open and servicable by the clerk behind the counter. An example of a simple, generic acrylic case with an open back and stripped of graphics is shown below.
So far we have covered the first 6 keys to effective CBD displays. Don’t miss Part III of this series where we discuss the remaining 4 success attributes.
Jim Hollen is the owner and President of RICH LTD. (www.richltd.com), a 35+ year-old California-based point-of-purchase display, retail store fixture, and merchandising solutions firm which has been named among the Top 50 U.S. POP display companies for 9 consecutive years. A former management consultant with McKinsey & Co. and graduate of Stanford Business School, Jim Hollen has served more than 3000 brands and retailers over more than 20 years and has authored nearly 500 blogs and e-Books on a wide range of topics related to POP displays, store fixtures, and retail merchandising.
Jim has been to China more than 50 times and has worked directly with more than 30 factories in Asia across a broad range of material categories, including metal, wood, acrylic, injection molded and vacuum formed plastic, corrugated, glass, LED lighting, digital media player, and more. Jim Hollen also oversees RICH LTD.’s domestic manufacturing operation and has experience manufacturing, sourcing, and importing from numerous Asian countries as well as Vietnam and Mexico.
His experience working with brands and retailers spans more than 25 industries such as food and beverage, apparel, consumer electronics, cosmetics/beauty, sporting goods, automotive, pet, gifts and souvenirs, toys, wine and spirits, home improvement, jewelry, eyewear, footwear, consumer products, mass market retail, specialty retail, convenience stores, and numerous other product/retailer categories.