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Are Store Displays Becoming Obsolete?

No, store displays are anything but obsolete. In fact, retailers are utilizing new technologies and digital efforts to perfect in-store locations and maximize these important marketing tools.
Published September 13, 2017

Are Store Displays Becoming Obsolete?As long as consumers possess mobile devices or desktop computers, they're able to shop from pretty much anywhere. They don’t even have to leave their homes. With online and digital shopping's increasing popularity, some may argue that brick-and-mortar retail locations will soon be a thing of the past. If this was true, there would no longer be a need for in-store displays or showcases.

However, recent research finds that consumers aren’t turning their backs on physical stores just yet, if ever, meaning retail display cases are still important parts of businesses' marketing strategies.


The 2017 Retail Vision Study by IT company Zebra Technologies discusses how merchants are increasingly combining their digital and physical (or “phytigal”) efforts to improve the shopping experience for consumers, and ultimately, increase sales.

“Stores are increasingly turning to micro-locationing platforms to capture more data, accuracy and insight, identify which aisles and products customers prefer, and analyze the in-store dance—from lingering at one endcap display of hats to trying on seven wrap dresses in the fitting room—that leads to a purchase, or doesn’t," it states.

Rather than do away with brick-and-mortar stores, retailers are looking to utilize new technologies to promote these locations and make the shopping experience more personalized.

“The goal is to generate concrete, actionable insights on customer shopping habits and buying patterns by tracking customers’ movements throughout a store, and note where people tend to linger,” the study continues. “Retailers can leverage this behavior data to make smarter merchandising and marketing decisions, like boosting inventory levels of hot-selling products or measuring the effectiveness of displays.”

When retailers can determine how effective their store displays are, for example, they can then make the proper adjustments accordingly to improve results.


Some consumers research the items they are interested in online before going to the store. Others don’t necessarily bring a list of items with them. Either way, more than half of consumers still end up buying more than they bargained for.

According the 2014 Mass Merchant Shopper Engagement Study by global nonprofit trade association Point of Purchase Advertising International (POPAI), 34 percent of consumers don’t go to the store with a list—whether an actual piece of paper or on their phone—of items they are looking to buy. Additionally, 62 percent of shoppers say they make unplanned in-store purchases. This is an increase from the association's 2012 study, in which 55 percent of shoppers bought items they didn’t expect to purchase when they went to the store.

Such statistics suggest the continual significance of in-store marketing efforts, including product placement, showcases, and customer service. It’s imperative for retailers to keep these features in mind, as they are currently anything but obsolete, and unlikely to be heading that way anytime soon.


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