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Stock vs. Custom Displays: Which Is Right For You?

Making the Right Decision

The decision to create a custom retail display is a big one. Your product is special to you, and all the time and effort you've put into marketing it has paid off! It's time for your product to hit the shelves, but you don't know if it's going to have enough impact. It's time for an in-store display! But should you use a stock system or create something unique? This article will explore some of the benefits of both stock and custom displays and help you decide how to show off your product!

1. Stock Displays Save Your Time and Money The main factor in determining if a custom display is right for you will be your budget. Stock displays will likely be the cheaper alternative. Designing a prototype, one-of-a-kind display can become costly without the right team behind your project to select cost-efficient materials, etc. Think of the number of displays you will need over the next year and consider producing/purchasing extra units for future use to help offset costs. Does your display require engaging story-telling and purchase-process strategy? How will your displays be shipped, assembled and installed? Will you need an expert on hand to help set up or troubleshoot a custom display? Stock systems will likely arrive conveniently packed and in a smaller container. They will be easier for your team to put together and install, saving time and money in labor, logistics, and likely maintenance.

pivoting interior door display in showroom wall mount
pivoting exterior door display in showroom wall mount

STOCK DISPLAYS: Top pictures show our PivotWing™ pivoting door displays that can be used in any retail environment: rack to showroom to gondola. You can complement the display with add-ons: hand-hold graphics with product specs and detailed information or integrated graphic panels to help you with purchase process communications and inspirations. At Strath Elgin, we are building product channel experts, supported by over $1/4 million in existing and proven successful tooling.

2. Unique Benefits of a Custom Display Ask yourself what unique benefits a custom display can provide for your product. Do you require integrated security features? Do you want to educate your customers telling your brand story and lead them through easy and simply purchase process? Lighting and media players? Will it allow your product to be touched and held? Although you may not get every feature in one package, many of the benefits of a custom display can be found in stock systems. If your display just needs to look pretty and present product then a stock system will probably suit you fine. However, if you need additional functionality and other features incorporated along with inspiring story-telling, then a custom display may be necessary to reach your goals. Think of what implications a stock or custom display will have on your brand, too. Elegant stock displays can showcase your product without “stealing the show” and provide a familiar, non-threatening interface for learning about your product. On the other hand, custom displays can reinforce your branding and help engage customers and leave a lasting impression. Which is more central to your brand?

CUSTOM DISPLAYS: Left photo shows a custom paint display prepared for Behr, that includes over 190 color samples. Our MiniPivot™ 4wing is a self-returning panel system for light products and mounts in any retail environment. It has two styles: to protrude into the aisle or rest flush against any surface.

Right photo shows a custom merchandising display designed for Mitten, that accommodates 27 product lines and 3 different target markets. This interchangeable modular design can be used in-bay, on a gondola shelf, end cap or in the form of a freestanding display.

3. The Middle Ground – Part Custom/Part Stock

Choose your channel marketing/display strategic partner carefully. How well do they know your environments? How many flexible systems do they already have engineered and/or tooled that can be customized? Can they manage the entire process from concept to implementation, from story-telling to final production and rollout logistics?

Questions You Should Answer Your design firm should be able to balance your budget with your creative vision and provide a solution that you both feel good about. Do you need a custom system, or can the same effect be achieved using graphics and signage? What unique benefit is custom giving you that you cannot get from a stock system? How will the proposed stock or custom system impact your branding strategy? Answering these questions will help you determine which path is right for you, and allow you to make well thought out decisions on how you merchandise your product.

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