Your End Cap Program Will Make or Break Your Product Release

Posted on January 15, 2020 by Michael Benarroch

Your End Cap Program Will Make or Break Your Product Release

Posted on January 15, 2020 by Michael Benarroch

Forget the product flop: your next end cap program needs to be impactful

A product release requires a considerable amount of attention at the retail level. When product releases flop, brands miss the opportunity to target key consumers, create a positive customer experience and reinforce core messaging. 

End caps are part of most brands’ toolboxes, and it’s the responsibility of brands to ensure their end cap programs are successful. 

Rolling out this program across multiple geographies is a huge challenge – optimizing the program, keeping it stocked, and determining if it’s working. We’re sharing a few of our top tips for your next end cap program so you can maximize the impact of a new product release.

Optimizing end caps for your target customer 

Your end cap must act as a brand destination, where the products are unignorable and positioned as must-buys. From the display and design of the end cap to its placement within a store, customer response varies dramatically based on the visual presentation. 

Here are a few key things to keep in mind when streamlining your end cap:

  • Make your display interactive – this will help catch and hold customer attention and differentiate your end cap from others in the store 
  • Keep them stocked, always – empty displays aren’t visually appealing to customers and encourage them to find products elsewhere, which could be your competitor’s product 
  • Make it visible – your new product needs to be as visible as possible to customers, which includes the colours, language, and graphics used in the design of your end cap 
  • Prioritize placement – where your end cap is positioned in a store has an impact on customer response, so carefully consider where your product will capture the most attention when partnering with a retailer to showcase it 

Making end caps as shoppable as possible 

This one might seem obvious, but how many times have you walked past an end cap and couldn’t easily find prices, or it was a pain to reach the product?

The products you showcase have to make sense for the customer, so the items you pair in your end cap should complement one another – like a new line of deodorants or toothpaste and toothbrushes. These items can be purchased together in larger quantities and make sense for the customer’s needs. 

You’ll also need to consider the visibility of pricing and reachability. If customers can’t see the prices of your products, or have to reach too high or too low to grab them off of the display, it can easily alienate them and discourage a purchase. 

Consider the following:

  • Don’t place products too low or too close to the bottom of the end cap – bottom shelves on the display can be used for storing additional product or even an advertisement for the product 
  • Avoid making customers reach – not every customer can reach a higher shelf, and if they can’t reach your product, or it’s a pain to grab it off of the display, they won’t bother 
  • Less is more – end caps don’t benefit from a large range of products, so keep product releases to a minimum when using end caps to promote them

Checking in on end caps 

You have to be diligent about checking in on your end caps, making sure they’re stocked, undamaged and properly placed in the store. If you leave your end caps to fend for themselves, they’ll fail. 

Part of your program has to include an approach to monitoring end caps at all locations where your brand will place them, the continuous stocking of items, and testing to see which ones are successful. 

The biggest challenge is ensuring your end cap program is taken care of to set it up for success. Here are a few ideas to help you achieve that: 

  • Appoint reps from your product companies, your store or reps from a merchandising company you hire (like Canada’s Best Merchandising Services) to be responsible for certain retail locations, where they will be tasked with monitoring end caps and keeping them stocked 
  • Test rear and front end caps to optimize product placement 
  • Obtain sales reports from each retail location to determine which end caps are performing the best, and consider removing end caps that aren’t selling product 
  • Update end cap marketing (like signage) based on performance

Case Study: End Caps in Target

Retailers like Target are a great example of big-box retailers where brands use end caps to promote products and capture customer attention.

  • Brands that set up end cap programs in Target use dedicated caps for trending or popular products, as well as new releases. For example, Casper uses end caps in Target’s home and bedding section to promote its proprietary pillows, while makeup brands (like Covergirl) use end caps to highlight new product lines in the beauty section of the store
  • You’ll see feature end caps in Target for specific product promotions, which encourages customers to shop in-store
  • Brands can scale their end caps across multiple Target locations, making the products featured in the end cap program shoppable and accessible to a range of customers at any given time

The greatest advantage to these end caps is product exposure, which also succeeds in encouraging offline sales. 


At CBSF, we can help you optimize your end cap program and ensure it’s a roaring success. With our sister company, CBMS we have the resources you need at your disposal to get your next end cap program off to a winning start. Interested in learning more about our services? Let’s chat!