Designing the Perfect Endcap Display | Canada’s Best Store Fixtures

Posted on December 24, 2021 by Bud Morris

Designing the Perfect Endcap Display | Canada’s Best Store Fixtures

Posted on December 24, 2021 by Bud Morris

Learn how to design a great endcap display. Discover what your customers are looking for and learn how to maximize sales with this marketing tool.

The art of merchandising is a key part of retailing. That’s because the design and layout of your store have a huge impact on how customers shop and behave.

As part of our ongoing series on impulse buying strategies, we recently shared a post on How To Maximize Purchases and Profits at Checkout. This week we’re looking at how you can design the perfect endcap display to feature items and increase sales.

Grocery and big-box retailers mastered the art of a great endcap long ago. But retailers outside of grocery seem to ignore or struggle with making the most of this marketing tool.

Designing the perfect endcap display considers colour, pricing strategies, and merchandising techniques.

In this blog post, we’ll cover all of these factors (and more) so you can develop the perfect endcap strategy for your store.

1. What is an endcap display?

Endcap displays are the perfect marketing tool for all retailers and brands. Quite simply, if you have aisles, you have the opportunity to build out end caps. These displays are placed at the ends of your aisles and are often the first thing customers see as they walk through your store.

Because end caps are prime real estate, you must grab customers’ attention and make an impact. Therefore, they should be eye-catching and have high demand, seasonal, or on-promotion products.

As you plan for the perfect endcap, ask yourself what you want your customer to do: are you looking for impulse buys or something more intentional?

2. How do I design a great endcap display?

Before you jump in, first put yourself in customers’ shoes. To grab their attention, you need to think like a customer.  What do they want? How can you surprise them with the unexpected?  How can you delight customers?  What brands or products are popping online and in-store?  What promotions can you offer? What’s seasonal?

Next time you’re in-store or as you research your options, ask yourself why certain endcaps make you take notice. The most effective endcaps are intentionally designed with a focus on:

  • Using colour
  • Having a clear message or offer
  • Being vertical, drawing the eyes from the top to the bottom
  • Leveraging lighting to really pop
  • Thoughtfully designed for the size/quantity of the goods/products they’re displaying

Like everything, success comes from focusing on the details. By understanding your customers, your products, and playing with your brand experience, you can effectively demonstrate the value of your product. And if that’s all too much, keep it simple with something big, bright, and unexpected.

3. What should I include in my endcap to maximize sales?

The best endcaps are strategically designed and purpose-built for their products. So you need to start by confirming your needs:

  • What are you displaying?
  • Is it a single product or multiple products?
  • What quantity of product do you need to stock?
  • Is it a single endcap or multiple endcaps?
  • Is it based on a theme, seasonality, or special promotion?
  • How can the endcap itself become an expression of your brand?

No matter how you answer the questions above, you need to balance these factors:

  • Clutter vs well-stocked – to avoid overwhelming customers, you want to avoid cluttering up your display with too many items. But at the same time, you need to keep the endcap well stocked and “full”.
  • Can’t ignore placement vs blocking pathways – you want your endcaps to have a strong footprint, something that can’t be ignored.  But you also need to make sure your endcaps don’t block pathways throughout your store.
  • Signs and messages vs product space – you want your brand or promotional message to captivate shoppers but you also need to hold space for the product itself.  This is where the rule of 3rds comes into play.  A good rule of thumb is to allow 1/3rd of the display to focus on signage or a brand message and the other 2/3rds of the display to hold products.

Here are some tips and tricks on the best way to get the most out of your endcaps:

  • Keep them full – as mentioned above, endcaps should look full. So as you sell through be sure to restock the display.
  • Avoid oversized items – we want to keep our endcaps looking full, and that’s harder to do with large items. Each time a customer grabs an oversized item, a giant hole is left in its place. Conversely, the empty space is barely noticeable when you have small items, making upkeep easier and less resource-heavy.
  • Make it interactive – if our goal is to grab people’s attention, we need to create showstopper endcaps. Interactive elements like a digital screen, social media integrations, QR-codes, free samples, demo products, or even a motorized cutout character all take the standard endcap to the next level.
  • Change, change, change – Your customers’ frequency or return rate will impact how often you turn over your displays. You want to give your customers time to see them before turning them over, but if it’s the same old same old with each visit they’ll learn to simply ignore the endcaps. Make sure you change them up often so your regular shoppers are greeted with an exciting new display.

4. Why does it matter how many items are displayed on the endcap?

Studies suggest that the strongest sales bumps come from single-item endcaps. But this boost in sales comes at a cost: inventory. Single-item endcaps require an investment in inventory to make sure every display can be stocked and restocked as products are sold.

So while it looks like multi-product endcaps may have a lower impact on sales, they also don’t have the same inventory requirements because as hot products sell out, slower selling items can be restocked to fill in the gaps.

5. What kind of signage/graphics should I have at the top of my end cap display to increase sales and make it more eye-catching?

The best endcaps have a top banner using colour, brand messages, and well-designed graphics. It’s something you’ll need to take advantage of.

Think of your endcaps’ banner like a magazine cover or the homepage of your website. It’s the home of your headline, your main message, branding, and promotion. Aside from the product itself, your banner is one of the most prominent features of your display. Create an eye-catching design and clear, prominent text.

As mentioned above, using the rule of 3rds is a great way to balance proportions. Your banner should occupy the top 1/3rd, and the bottom 2/3rds should be dedicated to the product. This not only places the attention-seeking banner at the top of the display but also allows your products to sit at eye level or lower, making it easy for all shoppers to access.

Keep in mind that some displays will be smaller than others; bigger isn’t always better. So make the most of the space you have.

6. How can I get my employees involved in designing an endcap?

Looking for ways to unleash your staff’s creativity? Or maybe just looking to reward them with a break from their regular duties. This is your chance to allow your employees to be creative – if they’re up to the challenge.

  • Get staff from all levels involved in brainstorming what products to feature
  • Have them build out Pinterest boards for inspiration
  • Give them the freedom to be creative by playing with products, colours, and themes
  • Hold a friendly design competition by giving each staff members a chance to design/build their own end cap, then vote
  • Hold a (not so friendly) sales competition by tracking sales from the end-caps they design, complete with revenue targets, leaderboards and big rewards.

What about your endcap displays?

Endcap displays are a powerful sales and marketing tool. So whether you need help designing an endcap display or want some ideas on how to make the most of what you already have, we’ve got plenty of tips and tricks for getting the most out of your space.

We even offer design services if you don’t feel like tackling it yourself. If you’re ready to take things up a notch with your endcaps, contact our retail display design team today and let us know how we can help so we can get started right away.