Retail POP Displays: How Non-Traditional Materials Can Make Your Display Stand Out

Most retail Pop displays use the same types of materials. The most common materials are sheet metal, metal tube, wire, MDF, solid wood, acrylic, PVC, and vacuum formed plastic. It’s always a challenge to stand out in a crowded, highly competitive retail environment. In addition to creating unique, eye-catching POP designs, one way to stand out is to use materials that are not typically used for displays. In this blog, we’ll look at 3 types of materials that you might consider for your next POP display.

The first material we’ll discuss is plastic lumber. This high quality, dimensional lumber can be used for a wide range of non-structural POP display applications. Most people think of plastic lumber for projects such as boardwalks, garden fencing, decks, and various landscaping projects, but it is very suitable for many types of retail display projects.

Plastic Lumper POP Displays - Bench

Made with 100 % recycled plastic, the molded-in color feature means no painting is ever required. Plastic lumber typically comes in a variety of sizes such as nominal sizes of 2” x 4” with actual measurements of 2-1/2” x 3-1/2”. Plastic lumber is very durable and is easy to work with. It can be cut, drilled, nailed, and glued using standard woodworking tools. And, unlike treated lumber, it does not leach out chemicals that pollute both surface and ground water.

The picture below shows a number of dressing room benches we recently constructed of Charlotte Russe’s new Lemon Pop stores.

Plastic Lumber Bench for Charlotte Russe

A second non-traditional material to consider is powder coated MDF. Although MDF is common, it is typically clear coated, painted, PU coated, or used with an HPL laminate or melamine. Powder coated MDF not only looks a little different, but it is significantly more durable than MDF with other types of finishes, and it won’t peel or warp. It’s also very environmentally friendly. Powder coated MDF is most commonly produced with a slight textured finish, but it is also available in an ultra smooth finish.

Because there are not many companies that have the technical skill and specialized equipment for MDF powder coating, it tends to be relatively expensive. The ultra smooth finish is more expensive than the normal textured finish. The picture below shows a robotic pool sweeper display we made for Zodiac Pool Systems. It was constructed of MDF with a powder coated finish.

Zodiac MX8 Powder Coated MDF Finish Pool Cleanr POP Display

Finally, we have discussed the many benefits of using bamboo in other posts. Bamboo is extremely strong, durable, dimensionally stable, eco-friendly, and very attractive. It can be milled, cut, sanded, stained, and glued like other hardwoods. It is easy to work with and does not require the edges to be finished. Bamboo comes in natural, carbonized, strand-woven, and chocolate varieties. It is most often available in 4’x8’ sheets and in thicknesses of ¼”, ½”, or ¾”.

edge grain bamboo plywood pop displays

We’ve made many displays using bamboo. Below is just one example of a front-end merchandiser that we constructed largely of carbonized bamboo.

Front End Merchandiser Bamboo POP Display

There are many other materials that can be used to make your retail POP display stand out. The 3 materials discussed here are a good way to get started with some unique material choices.

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