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Freestanding vs Island Display and why only ONE of them is HIGHLY PREFERRED by all retail members

freestanding vs island display

1. Differences and challenges between Freestanding vs Island Displays

When creating displays, freestanding is king. Rather than settle for the display that attaches to the shelf, the idea of investing more money in a freestanding display to get noticed and make a bigger impact is frequently considered… if the marketing team can make it work. The most commonly overlooked factor is freestanding displays versus island displays. What’s the difference? The biggest difference between freestanding and island is the amount of retail space that is actually required.

Everyone knows finding floor space for displays is a constant challenge.

One of our clients in the building products industry asked us to create two types of freestanding displays. The first display (on the left, island) needed to feature multiple product stories and display full-size door products, while being conscious of space.

The second display (on the right, freestanding) was to be for multiple product stories only while being conscious of space.

trade show displays

Both were created and presented to our client’s retail members. A survey was conducted to see which display was of more interest to determine how to roll out a program.

Result: The freestanding display was highly preferred over the Island display.

As long as the story content ignites customer inspiration and education, having multiple full-size products are not always necessary.

2. Why does Freestanding work better than Islands?

We had three main targets to hit when designing the displays: A. Include all environments B. Space conservation C. Consistent story-telling that helps better educate the customer to make the right choices for the home and family.

What were we able to achieve?

  • Freestanding Displays that accommodate ALL store environments: Yes… Large and Small spaces!

Our client has a unique issue regarding their retail environments. Some have showrooms, some have racking, some have gondolas, some have a mix of all three and vary in store size. If you are in retail, this is normally an extremely common and challenging problem to solve.

  • Freestanding Displays containing ONLY the products sold in the specific location

Another issue is that each independent store/dealer could choose which manufacturers were to supply product being sold at their locations. With these types of scenarios, the manufacturers of these products often supply their own displays to support the retailer. This is great if you have one manufacturer supplying that particular product. However, when you have multiple suppliers for a product, this means multiple displays branded by the manufacturer that focus on telling their story. Moreover, with varying size and mix of retail environments having these vendor focused displays, every store looks completely different from the next. The store environment becomes busy, confusing and customers become reliant on sales associates who should have the training and the answers (when most lack knowledge or training themselves). The big picture here is: now you have a mish-mash of displays that present only partial stories of all options available to the customer. This meant that our displays had to be flexible, modular and be able to walk the customer throughpurchase process via the brand of our client, not the manufacturer of the products.

  • The freestanding spinner display takes ONLY 10 sqft of floor space including walking distance!

The first display (island), having to accommodate full-size doors for showcase and therefore, could only be ever so conscious of the space conservation. The display dimensions were about 3.5x3.5’ and is able to accommodate up to 7 doors while telling six product category stories by integrating our MiniPivot™ system.

The second display (freestanding spinner) could feature four product category stories utilizing our MiniPivot™ system in a freestanding spinner. Spinner dimensions were 2’x2’. The greatest difference was the walk around area that was required for each display format. The island display required an extra 3’ all around to allow customer interaction on all sides. And so, the island format with communications and door display required 81 square feet in total floor space because it was an island. The spinner display only required a total of 10 square feet of floor space because you could spin the display on the spot to access all of its sides. Unless the retail member needed a door display, the freestanding spinner was the most preferred among the client’s retail locations because it was a display that took up an absolute minimal footprint. If necessary, the spinner could be broken into single panel modules that can flush up against any flat surface.

3. Improving customer experience and promoting the brand, not the manufacturer

Result # 1

The client now can better support their retail members with a display program that creatively conserves space to virtually a zero footprint while accommodating all retail environments of any store size.

Result #2

The client has taken back control of their brand and retail environments from manufacturer focused stories to now having the ability to tell the full story on behalf of the customer, covering all options available to them. Not only can the customer better educate themselves and make the right decision, the displays act as training manuals for retail sales associates enabling better service for the customer.

Result #3

The client now has a modular display program that is easy to update, helps cross-sell and can be shipped fully assembled for quick and effortless installation.

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