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Opinion: Quality counts

Six points to consider when choosing a retail display installation partner, by Dan Williams, founder and managing director at 100% Group

When you’re running product launches and promotions, retail displays can be your most valuable tool. A recent survey we conducted with 200 retail professionals provides proof of just how valuable retail displays can be: 40% of respondents stated that displays increased sales by at least 10%, 19% by more than a quarter, and 13% by over a half. 

With so much to play for, it’s vital not to miss any opportunity to maximise the impact of the display. You can’t afford not to show the product and brand at their very best. This means that a well-designed and made display is only the starting point. The way you manage installation and ongoing maintenance is equally important in ensuring the display then meets its full potential.

Any poor-quality element – from incorrect positioning through to a scratched support strut – will reduce customer interest and could also reflect negatively on the brand.  

To meet consistently high standards as you roll out the displays across multiple locations means overcoming a series of challenges. First, you must get every single display erected to agreed timescales, wherever in the world it might be. Second, each display must be positioned exactly as intended, assembled correctly, safely and without damage, and merchandised in accordance with the planogram. And third, you must find a way to ensure that each display looks as good on the final day of the promotion as it did on the first. The customer won’t know or care how long the display has been in place. They will simply judge the brand based on what they see.

“Any poor-quality element – from incorrect positioning through to a scratched support strut – will reduce customer interest and could also reflect negatively on the brand”

To achieve all of this means paying attention to quality across every detail of the installation, both during setup and throughout the life of the display. 

This is where your choice of installation partner becomes crucial. You’re putting your brand in their hands – how do you decide which is the right firm for you?  

A useful starting point is to consider the following six key issues:

  • Industry expertise
    Look for a firm that has an established reputation and is a member of industry association POPAI (and as such will follow industry best practice). The expertise of the installation teams themselves is also important – do team members have relevant certifications and accreditations?
  • Relevant experience
    Check that the firm has handled comparable projects in the past. For international projects, check the partner has the experience to handle logistics, language and legalities smoothly across the relevant countries. Without this experience, regulatory and cultural differences and language barriers can easily lead to problems, additional costs and delays.
  • Capacity and resources
    Ideally, you want one single firm to be able to manage the complete roll out for you. It’s the most cost-effective option – and it makes life a lot simpler. Once you start bringing in multiple firms, you increase complexity: multiple briefings with different people, repeated queries and conversations, inconsistent standards, multiple contracts and invoices.But it’s vital to check that the project won’t be too much of a stretch for your preferred partner. Do they genuinely have the capacity and resources to manage the job? Can they, for example, guarantee to provide installation teams in every location at exactly the time you need them – regardless of what are likely to be tight deadlines and inflexible installation time slots?
  • Project management arrangements
    A large-scale retail display roll-out is a major project. For greatest success with the least stress, you want to be working with a single project manager who understands what you want to achieve, will pull every element together, and will provide comprehensive reporting to keep key stakeholders informed.
  • Ongoing maintenance
    The job isn’t over once the displays are erected. Without ongoing maintenance, displays will deteriorate as time goes by, harming the customer’s perception of the brand and becoming less effective. Choose a firm that can offer a maintenance contract as well as the initial installation, and your display will be leveraging sales as powerfully at the end of the promotion as it did at the start.
  • Local inspections
    If staff can check up on other nearby installations when working on the new project, that will add value to the service provided. Some firms will do this as a matter of course; others won’t.

Choose your installation partner well, and you’ll have a team you can rely on, a stress-free roll out, and consistent high-quality installations that will help your displays deliver maximum return on investment.

Dan Williams is founder and managing director at 100% Group.