POP Displays: 10 Predictions for 2017

In 1993, Mission Viejo High School senior Michael Lee predicted that the Chicago Cubs would win the 2016 World Series. Under the caption in his yearbook photo, Lee wrote “Chicago Cubs 2016 World Champions. You heard it here first.” How a high school kid from California could have predicted 23 years in advance that the Cubs would win their first championship since 1908 is anyone’s guess. Against extraordinary odds, Lee’s prediction came true when the Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in extra innings of the 7th game of the 2016 World Series. With Michael Lee’s prediction as inspiration, we set out to create our own set of predictions for POP displays and the retail industry for 2017.

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Before jumping into our 2017 predictions, we would like to set appropriate expectations by reminding our readers that we admittedly don’t have Michael Lee’s gift of prophecy. Hopefully, however, we’ll do better than the “experts” who struck out on predicting the 2015 UK election, the Brexit referendum, the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, and Donald Trump’s election victory. Ok, so here are our 2017 predictions:

1. Google will emerge as the third major consumer electronics retailer, joining Apple and Best Buy.

2. Mobile payments processing (like Venmo) will explode, rendering cash nearly obsolete among Millennials and technology-savvy shoppers.

3. Several high-profile brick-and-mortar retailers, including Sears, GNC and at least one major fast-fashion retailer will exit.

4. POP displays for marijuana and marijuana-infused products will become the fastest growing merchandising display category.

5. Chinese manufacturers will flood Amazon Marketplace with their own branded products in direct competition with their own customer base.

6. Local stores with unique USA-Made products will flourish at the expense of national chains which will see declines in same-store sales as a result of a tired mix of commoditized products manufactured overseas.

7. Several forward-thinking convenience store chains will leverage their location and distribution advantage by becoming pick-up locations for higher value pre-ordered merchandise, departing from historical business models that rely on point-of-sale impulse purchases.

8. Leading large national chains will challenge existing suppliers by developing their own manufacturing and sourcing capabilities to improve margins in selected product categories.

9. Retailers will test hybrid retail/distribution models which combine smaller front-end store formats with larger warehouse/fulfillment backrooms, online ordering, and drive-through pickup operations.

10. Consumers will discover that there is no such thing as “free shipping.”  Delivery and shipping costs will increase, thereby jeopardizing the subsidized shipping costs that consumer have enjoyed.

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