Visual merchandising is all about optimizing how products are seen at retail. The old adage “Seeing is believing” is at the heart of visual merchandising. But it’s not just about seeing. It’s about creating an emotional connection between products and shoppers that is strong enough to convert shoppers to buyers. In contrast to things that are seen at retail, today’s blog is about things that are unseen. More specifically, our subject for today is magnets and how can magnets be useful behind the scenes to make better POP displays.
Made from rare-earth alloys, rare-earth magnets produce a strong, invisible magnetic field. Magnets can be used in a variety of practical ways in retail merchandising- from graphic and store décor applications to creating modular and configurable displays. Let’s look at just a few applications.
- Graphics– A great application for magnets is in creating relocatable graphics. Digitally printed magnetic graphics not only look good, but they are easy to interchange to keep things looking fresh. Magnetic vinyl provides an excellent surface for high-quality printing. We made the large format art frame shown below for Vuori. This is just one example of how easy it is to create and change out brand-building graphics. Hang the frame once and just pull off the magnetic graphic and replace it with a new one at any time.
In addition to wall art and other store décor applications, we often use magnetic graphics with POP displays. The Amplifi display below is one example. We constructed this display out of sintra and incorporated electrical outlets to showcase our customer’s home WI-FI mesh technology. We direct printed the sintra back panel, but we designed the slanted front lip graphic to be interchangeable so we added a sheet metal surface on the slanted front to hold the magnetic vinyl.
Similarly, printing graphics on sheet metal displays can be a challenge because the graphics need to be applied after the displays are welded and powder coated. The most common options are screen printing or applying a printed decal, each of which has limitations. Screen printing can work well as long as the number of colors is limited and the surface is not obstructed. Vinyl decals can bubble over time so they tend to be less permanent. Magnetic vinyl graphics can be a flexible solution since they stick well to sheet metal and are easy to change out. The EZVIZ counter display we made below is an example that shows how if can be used with cut-outs that fit the display.
- Modular and Configurable Applications– Using magnets to create modular and configurable displays is an ideal application. We typically embed the magnets in whatever material we are using and ensure they are flush with the surface. The Sun Bum modular lip balm display below can be configured in a variety of ways. Small embedded side magnets and top magnets enable the individual modules to be stuck together horizontally or stacked vertically. It is simple and clean.
A similar application is shown below. We made the CLE Cosmetics display out of acrylic. We incorporated sheet metal under the main surface and embedded magnets in the base of each of the product risers. We used strong enough magnets so the risers don’t move with ordinary product handling, but with a little force the risers can easily be removed, replaced, or reconfigured to accommodate new product introductions and product realignments. With this approach, the entire display does not need to be changed so it is one way of extending the life of the display.
- Component Attachments– Using magnets for display component attachments is also a way to save time and money. For example, attaching ancillary components like a brochure holder using magnets elimnates attachment hardware and installation time. The example shown below is an acrylic display we made for Hanky Panky. We embedded small magnets in the top of the display and in the header. It proved to be a clean, cost-effective way to be able to remove the header for shipping so it could ship safely in a smaller box, and it was easy to add to the top of the display in a second.
- Magnetic Doors– This admittedly is nothing new, but using magnetic latches on doors is practical and cost-effective. There are lots of applications for this such as cabinet doors, rear panel access doors on displays that contain digital media players or LED lighting, and other types of doors like the one we made on the Knesko Skin poolside cart below.
- Levitating displays– Although far less common, levitating displays can help grab shopper attention. The invisible magnetic field works to suspend a smaller platform in the air above a base similar to the visual below. It’s easy to place a product on the levitating platform to create an intriguing display that defies gravity.
As an example, we created the base with a lighted laser-cut logo and levitating product platform for Monogram.
There are lots of practical and cost-effective ways to leverage the magic of magnets in POP display. Consider incorporating them into your next POP display design.
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.