19 Popular Retail Product Displays and When To Use Them

product display mannequin

Investing in retail product displays that help guide customers through your store is crucial to any retailer’s merchandising strategy. 

In-store shopping is still the preferred retail channel for 82% of millennials, even the ones who also engage in online shopping.

Your retail product display strategy is just as important as your Instagram feed layout design. 

There’s an abundance of retail product display options for today’s store owners. Knowing what they are and when to use each type can impact your retail sales revenue.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what retail product displays are, how to display products in your store, and the most popular types of product displays. 

What are retail product displays?

Retail product displays are the fixtures in your store that hold or promote your products. 

The look of retail product displays relies heavily on your visual merchandising strategy. Generally, the first interaction customers have with your products in-store is via your displays. 

If you have a brick-and-mortar store, retail product displays are a must. You or your visual merchandiser can create a planogram and arrange displays to showcase your products and increase sales. 

It’s also a visual merchandiser’s responsibility to manage and maintain your retail product displays over time. Fixtures may break or become worn down. 

After testing certain display types, you may decide to iterate on your strategy and implement new display designs to help boost sales.

Make merchandising decisions with confidence

Use Shopify’s analytics and reporting to make the right merchandising decisions at each of your store locations. Spot seasonal trends, see which products require promotion, measure your display's impact on product sales, and more.

How should you display products in your store?

There’s an endless list of ways you can display products in your store. It depends on what types of products you have, who your customers are, and how creative you want to get. 

Strategic placement of each retail product display can impact your sales. It’s key to keep your visual merchandising strategy in mind when choosing how to display your products. 

Here are seven quick tips to help you build better displays: 

  1. Think outside the box. Creative signage like “Insta worthy” wall art can get the attention of your shoppers. It can encourage people to engage with your products (and share a picture on their Instagram feed). 
  2. Use cross merchandising. You can merchandise by color, product type, or theme. Cross merchandising complementary products on the same retail display is one way to use secondary product placement to increase sales.
  3. Location, location, location. You can place displays that house new products and bestsellers in high-traffic areas. Smaller, impulse buy or add-on items can get displayed near the checkout counter. 
  4. Show pricing. If your customers can’t find pricing, they may assume the products are out of their price range, resulting in lost sales. 
  5. Change displays on a weekly basis. Changing retail product displays on a regular basis keeps your retail store looking fresh. It can also help your regular customers discover new products with each visit. 
  6. Add decorations. Go above and beyond to improve the shopping experience by adding decorative items that suit your customer’s lifestyle. For example, if you sell yoga clothing and mats, add plants, candles, and lighting on or near your displays to set the mood. 
  7. Maintain your retail displays. It’s important to always keep retail product displays clean, spaced, and organized so customers can easily find (and buy) products without feeling overwhelmed. 

What are the most popular types of retail product displays?

Every retailer’s visual merchandising strategy is different. Take a look at other stores to see how they set up their displays. We don’t suggest copying directly, but pulling different elements from displays you like is a great way to get started. 

Retail product displays can be broken down into three categories: standalone and point of purchase (POP) displays, store shelving displays, and clothing and furniture displays.

As you test your visual merchandising strategy, you’ll learn what your customers like and what you can avoid in the future. 

Let’s look at the most popular types of retail product displays by category: 

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Clothing and furniture product displays

Clothing and furniture can be displayed using standalone POP displays and store shelving, but there are also retail product displays that are perfect for these types of products. Creating product displays for apparel and furniture is distinctly different from grocery store merchandising. 

1. Garment racks 

Racks are a good way to display clothing. They come in several configurations, including circular, multi-level, and with shelves. Garment racks also come in a range of materials like metal, wood, and plastic. 

When you’re working with racks, it’s important to organize merchandise in a way that’s visually appealing, such as grouping items by color.

If you’re working with a multi-level rack or a rack that also has shelves, you can merchandise similar items together.

For example, use cross merchandising to display blouses with different pants to give customers an idea of outfits they can create.

2. Display table 

Display tables are great for creatively displaying items that could be purchased together.

You can create a clothing display that showcases items grouped to create an outfit along with accessories. Or display home products that can be purchased together to complete a set. 

You can also merchandise display tables by theme to showcase seasonal items or holiday gifts

3. Mannequins 

Use mannequins to give shoppers a visual presentation of your products and how they go together. This is a great opportunity to promote add-on purchases and impulse buys.

Mannequin displays can help you show your customers items that match, in combinations they may not have put together themselves.

Create trendy outfits customers can visualize themselves wearing. And make sure the items are on racks or shelves nearby so they’re easy to find. 

4. Immersive product displays 

Make a lasting impression by immersing your customers in the environment or experience where they’d use your products. The example above of an apartment setting is simple and cozy. 

Shoppers can imagine themselves at home, picking an outfit, and getting ready for the day ahead. 

The following retail display design allows customers to visualize themselves jogging on a cold winter day. 

Both examples are simple, but follow a unifying theme that makes the overall effect powerful and persuasive. Immersive product displays pull people in and help them visualize using the products. 

You don’t need to build something extravagant. Use themes and simple fixtures to display products and personalize the customer experience. Tell a story your customers relate to and they’ll be compelled to stop and take a look.

5. Touch, feel, test displays 

Get your customers invested in your products with displays that encourage them to touch, feel, and test items.

If people are shopping in a brick-and-mortar store instead of online, they probably want a tactile experience.

For example, a furniture store may have various material options for the same sofa. Shoppers can test the product by sitting on it, and alternative fabric swatches can be placed nearby for people to touch and feel.

Give your customers the opportunity to put their hands on products to encourage them to purchase.

6. Upcycle materials to create unique displays 

Merchandising is all about creativity. Create a display that stands out by upcycling old items and turning them into functional pieces.

For example, you can display clothing items on a clothesline across the wall with shelves underneath to hold various sizes of each sample displayed.

You can use a wooden wine box as a bin to display small items on a table or at your checkout counter. 

Upcycling materials saves your business money on new fixtures and creates an eye-catching display that can lead to increased sales.

Standalone and POP displays 

A point-of-purchase display (POP) is an in-store display that is used to attract customers to a special offer or particular brand in your store. In some cases, the displays are made of cardboard and printed with advertisements. It’s more common to see printed POP displays in grocery or box stores. 

Unlike wall shelving, a more permanent retail display fixture. You can change POP displays completely—from the display itself to the merchandise it holds.

Standalone displays are a type of POP display that stand independently of common aisle shelves. These displays are usually seen in the middle of large store aisles, also known as “action alleys.” 

You can use standalone displays anywhere there is open space. They play a vital role in your visual merchandising strategy and require thoughtful design to make an impact.

7. Dump bins 

Dump bins are stocked with small impulse buy items. Consider using bins when you need to show a lot of low-price merchandise quickly. Bins can be accessed from all sides and are easy to move throughout the store.

They are usually made of cardboard and are simple for employees or vendors to set up.

Place them in the center of a high traffic aisle, near a checkout, or strategically near similar items.

8. Freestanding displays 

Freestanding displays are also simple to set up and can be made of cardboard or other materials. They are usually filled with larger items than dump bins and are more organized.

With a freestanding display, you can showcase products on hooks or shelves. They’re accessible from all sides and give you the opportunity to cross merchandise similar items.

9. Gondola displays

Gondola displays can be single-sided, double-sided, or wrap around. It’s best to place these standalone displays in open areas of your store.

Typically, they’re made of pegboard and steel frames. You can move the pegs around to adjust the display based on which products you’re showcasing.

Experiment with color schemes and similar products placed together to create a visually appealing display.

10. Display cases 

Display cases are usually encased on all sides in glass, plastic, or Plexiglas. They are standalone displays, sometimes accessible from one side, sometimes from all around. 

Customers usually can only access products in the case with the help of a store employee. These cases are used to securely display high-end merchandise.

You can also use these cases to entice shoppers with a beautiful product display and then store the products for purchase on a shelf or in a separate storage case nearby.

11. Window displays

Window displays are found in the front window of a brick-and-mortar store. This is a way to make a first impression with your shoppers. Make sure your display showcases your store’s merchandise in a visually appealing way to draw customers in.

12. Countertop displays

These freestanding displays are made in a range of materials, like cardboard, wood, metal, and plastic, and contain small items. 

They can be used at your checkout counter to encourage customers to buy impulsively. Or you can place countertop displays throughout your boutique on tables or shelves to showcase small products and add-on accessories. 

Store shelving displays

Store shelving displays refer to any type of product display that exists on a traditional store shelf. 

Shelving displays allow retailers to use space to showcase products, hang signage, and cross merchandise products to boost sales. 

13. Retail shelving displays 

Retail shelving is fixed and sturdy and can display a variety of different goods. Shelving is the core of many grocery and big-box stores. However, they are also a great option for boutiques of all sizes.

Shelving helps to direct the flow of traffic and display items in an orderly fashion. It can be single-sided and placed along walls or double-sided to create aisles. 

14. Isle displays 

Think of these displays as little islands of merchandise in the sea of your store. They are freestanding and accessible from all sides. In some cases, they rotate.

Isle displays break up the traffic flow and engage your shoppers. 

15. Shelf stoppers 

A shelf stopper is signage that highlights an item on a retail shelf. The signage sticks out perpendicular to the shelves and gives the item increased brand recognition and stopping power. 

Use shelf stoppers to highlight items you want to move. 

16. Power wings and sidekick displays 

A small pop-up display is called a sidekick or power wing. Like freestanding displays, they are an effective merchandising tool to increase basket size

They allow you to maximize space for secondary items on your end caps or shelves.

Sidekicks are often used to showcase new products that spark ideas, drive impulse buys, and highlight promotional offers. 

17. On-shelf displays 

These displays set products apart from other items on the same shelf. You can use additional branding, trays, or other items that break the visual monotony of shelves.

On-shelf displays can optimize your shelf space and set your brand apart from the competition. 

18. End cap displays 

The shelves on the end of an aisle are called end caps. Aisle ends are a great high-traffic area for displaying merchandise and draw plenty of eyes.

Shoppers walking the main alleys of your store and those walking around your displays will both be able to view items merchandised on end caps.

The shelving on end caps is sturdy so that you can display heavier merchandise on them. Use them to highlight specials or new inventory and cross merchandise complementary products.

19. Glorifiers 

A glorifier is a small glass or plastic box that stands out from a standard shelf and highlights an item. This is a unique and non-traditional way to showcase your products.

For example, if you’re selling perfume, you can use a glorifier to make each scent stand out from the shelf. Think of it as a podium for your products. 

Moving forward with retail product displays

Developing your visual merchandising and retail product display strategy takes time, creativity, and testing. The results can mean the difference between great sell-through rates and dead stock that you need to markdown. 

Deciding which retail displays are best for your boutique gives you a chance to roll up your sleeves and have fun. Use retail product displays to tell a story and help your customer discover new items. 

Whether you use garment racks, display tables, or shelving, the return on investment makes spending time and money on retail product displays a no-brainer.

The effectiveness of retail product displays is not dependent on how flashy they are. Keep it simple. As long as you keep your visual merchandising strategy and your customers in mind, the right product displays can increase sales. 

Make product display decisions with confidence

Use Shopify’s analytics and reporting to make the right merchandising decisions at each of your store locations. Spot seasonal trends, see which products require promotion, measure your promotions’ impact on product sales, and more.

Retail product display FAQ

What is a retail display?

A retail display is a physical structure or space used to promote and sell merchandise in a retail environment. Retail displays can be found in both physical stores and digital stores. They are typically used to showcase products in an appealing way, to attract customers and encourage them to make a purchase.

What are retail displays called?

Retail displays are called point of purchase (POP) displays.

What are the 5 types of digital product displays?

The five types of digital product displays are CRT, LCD, LED, plasma, and OLED.

What do you mean by product display?

Product display is the way in which a product is presented to potential customers. This can include factors such as packaging, color schemes, and labeling.