Retail POP Trends to Make Your Display Stand Out

Not all point-of-purchase displays are created equal. In fact, it’s rare for any two displays to be exactly the same. With the ability to be customized for nearly any store, product, location or functionality, POP displays are a major component of the retail experience for buyers and sellers alike.

Just as brick-and-mortar stores update their aesthetics overtime, POP displays change to offer more modern functionality, accommodate new products and offer-up a retail experience that buyers expect. For products as common as shampoo to those as desirable as an iPhone, a well-designed retail display can transform a consumer’s mundane errand into a memorable shopping experience. In this blog, we’ll discuss the top POP trends from a functionality and design perspective, recognizing that when the two elements are united, designers can successfully tap into the buyer psychology that encourages action. 

POP Trends for Functionality

Functionality means a few different things for POP: how the display works for products and how the display works for consumers. It’s a fine, but very important, line, between product function and consumer function that must be considered during the design stages. Consider these examples:

Cell Phone Display

For a POP display that holds valuable iPhones, the display needs to securely fasten the phone to the display to prevent theft or possible damage to the product if it’s mishandled, while also giving consumers the flexibility to hold, touch and interact with the product. For a display that keeps your product harnessed to the shelf or counter, you’ll want to utilize a PULLBOX® security tether which features a retractable wire harness for product positioning and theft deterrence.

Cosmetic Display

For a cosmetic display that holds lipsticks, the POP display will need to hold the products tightly and push the line of products forward as they’re purchased. The display also needs to allow shoppers to easily pick up the product and place it back neatly if they choose not to purchase it. To create this push effect, you’ll want to incorporate variable force springs, or V-Springs, into your design, which are used to push products forward, and automatically reduce force as products are shopped.

In these scenarios, achieving product function and consumer function objectives is a science and an art, which includes balancing product security with experiential design. This balance is a POP trend that’s more important today than ever, as the ability to physically see, touch and feel a product is the main reason a consumer would choose to go to a store, rather than order the product online; and with Amazon, and grocery-delivery services taking over, this principle applies to the everyday items as well.

POP Trends for Design

Beyond the ability to interact with and secure products, POP displays also need to attract and intrigue consumers. Professional design principles like use of whitespace and clever use of a brand’s visual guidelines are a good place to start, but even some of the best designers need further inspiration. Some of the top POP design trends are ones that blur the lines behind traditional and experiential design, like:

Stores Within Stores

Big box stores, like Target, are mastering the concept of “stores within stores”, which feature seasonal merchandise for back-to-school, Christmas and other times-of-year. The secret to making a store-within-a-store effective is for the theme to be clear, and for the merchandise to truly create a one-stop-shop that excites, delights and causes consumers to spread the word.

QR Codes for Details

QR codes continue to be baked into printed designs, keeping the display free of cluttering text, while giving the consumer a quick and easy way to get the information they want. Of course, QR codes also benefit the product’s parent company, as it gains valuable target market data like consumer location, time, device type and more.

Digital Promo Screens

Screens and videos are increasingly popping up in POP displays as digital signage is more apt to catch a consumer’s attention today than traditional print signage. Digital signage lets marketers easily change-out promotions to tout new ones while providing consumers with a diverse range of content including everything from explainer videos to testimonials and more.

How These POP Trends Impact Buyer Psychology

No matter the products being sold in your POP display, you can apply the basic tenets of visual merchandising to it through color and location. These two factors have a greater influence on consumers than others, for the simple fact that they’re always going to be included. Here’s what you need to think about when making decisions about the color and location of your retail display:

Color Psychology

Black connotes sophistication and is ideal for selling luxury products at a higher price-point. Green relates to natural elements, putting consumers at ease for hygiene or health products. Yellow is a food-related color with the ability to stimulate an appetite. Blue promotes confidence and can instill a sense of trust and comfort in a brand. Red, is last but not least, as it’s the most effective color when promoting sales for its bold pigment that encourages action.

In-Store Location

Once you’ve managed to blend function and design, as well as balance product security with interaction, there’s one last decision you need to make: the location of your POP display. To make this decision, consider proven consumer psychology data, which suggests that an end-aisle display will increase sales by 30%, simply due to increased visibility.1

You’ll also want to be mindful about the types of products that are in close proximity to your display—are they related products that may pique a consumer’s interest in yours? Or, are they contrasting? With as much as 95% of human decisions made up by the subconscious mind1, you won’t want to underestimate the power that physical product positioning can have on sales.

Putting These POP Trends Into Action

Now, you know what factors to consider when building your POP display—function, design, security, interaction and buyer psychology tenets, including color and location. As you set up out to design your next POP display, consider how you can do more for each of these factors. Ask yourself:

  • Is there something I can do to make this more functional for the product(s)?
  • What type of design, outside of the norm, will really help sell the merchandise?
  • How can I be sure that the product is safe from theft or mishandling?
  • Does my display give the consumer enough opportunity to interact with the product?
  • Which colors should I incorporate into the display to encourage action?
  • Where is the best place in the store to situate the display so that it’s positively received?

Whether you’re a display company, retailer or brand, Vulcan Spring can help you transform your POP display with variable force and pusher display springs for nearly any permanent and semi-permanent display. Most recognized for our invention of the PULLBOX® security tether and variable force spring, we’re always up for a challenge and are equipped with the in-house capabilities from concept to mass production to develop and distribute the right spring solution for any POP need. Contact us with questions or about a custom spring need for your POP display. Our responsive and helpful team is standing by.


  1. The Psychology Of Retail Displays, PDI
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