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Are your displays aged, broken and stale?

By Jennifer Robison

Jennifer Robison 2011Hello 2015! Welcome, I look forward to this new selling season! In preparation for the new season I have to remind us all that now is the time to remove broken and aged display support items and update support tools we use for merchandising.

Here is a challenge I routinely face when working on display changes: 60 percent of brick and mortar stores do not have enough basic fixtures and display support items for the size of their showrooms. And yet others have the items, but they are mixed up and not easily accessible, and you have to spend more than an hour trying to harvest them from a back room, warehouse, or closet. You lose labor time, and you lose sales when you’re not prepared with visual merchandising support, which makes a big difference and yet gets little attention in the big picture.

Make it a priority this month to clean out your showrooms of stale and old brand displays!

  • If you’re still rockin’ the Fox display for 2001, and it’s mostly empty of goods, it’s time to sell it, trade it, or recycle it! Sometimes old displays can be reused. I would encourage you to do so, if you can make it look generic and fresh and not the brand it was.
  • Clean out broken hangers and broken aged acrylic shelves (helmet- and shoe-style shelves.)
  • Throw out or give away old brand signs. No brand wants its old logo to be in the showroom with new products. Please do us a favor, and let it go!
  • Toss old posters with images that are more than 2 years old, and yes, that means the 10-year-old ones too! It looks old and dated when old graphics are still in view of customers!
  • Fix and repair old displays that are still usable; make sure all the bolts are tight on four-ways and two-way displays.
  • Discard or give away old jacket hangers from brands you no longer carry. Using a Joe Rocket fat hanger on your KTM T-shirts is in poor display taste. Stop the madness now!
  • Stop taping signs to displays and walls. Spend money on a batch of acrylic sign holders for slat walls, grid walls and magnetic-based models for your displays. Now is a great time to start fixing the details! You can purchase these online or at retail supply stores for a reasonable cost.
  • Deep clean your racking, shelving systems, wall outriggers, showcases and any other larger displays. Cut the heavy dust and grime that accumulates over the year or years.
  • Especially clean the glass helmet cubes! Once a year (this time of year) is a good time to take them apart and clean all sides, so the product can shine. That yellow layer I see on the glass is incrusted and cannot be top wiped with glass cleaner or dusted in 3 seconds. FYI, half of the stores I visit annually rarely deep clean their glass. NOT COOL.
  • Clean the carpets! February is a great time to have your carpets cleaned deeply.
  • Remove any clutter, dead plants, broken mannequins, empty magazine racks and stale candy displays. If it’s old and not being used, remove and recycle it.

The most important thing is to have a staff member or two organize all of the display items in your back room or warehouse, so they are accessible and easy to retrieve. When I work with dealers on a merchandising project, it’s very common to find a mess of a dumping ground with hanger stock, peg hooks, shelves and more. It takes less time to change a floor plan if you can access your support items and know what you have. A poorly or non-organized back room can cost you labor in the busy season. Get organized now while it’s slower and fill in on support items you need so you are ready. If every owner, GM and parts manager went to inspect the display support goods, they would be displeased to see the mess and the lack of care used to manage these important items.

This is my challenge to you all: Don’t sit and wait for the season to bring in customers. Get organized, clean, sort and prepare. You will be better for it and ready. When the doors blow open, it’s going to be a very busy season!

Here is a list of basic retail support goods most brick and mortar retailers need.

  • 4- and 6-inch hooks for slat or grid walls (separate and sort into separate clear containers for easy retrieval)
  • 12-24 straight arms (most stores have an abundance of waterfall arms)
  • Make sure your hardware matches (chrome or black; separate and sort into separate boxes if you have both)
  • 12 each of 2-inch and 4-inch shelves with proper arms for support on slat or grid walls
  • A box of 100 clear or black hangers — 17-inch dress hangers (for T-shirts, tops, raingear and lighter duty products) Note: Try to keep all your hangers the same color!
  • A box of 100 clear or black clip hangers — 14-inch pant hangers (for rain pants, chaps and other pants)
  • A hanger stacker for behind the counter to keep the hangers more organized vs. tossing them into a box
  • 6-12 U-shaped hang rails in chrome or black. Note: They are great for changing wallscapes with moto gear or casual wear
  • 12-24 pieces of slat wall show shelves in clear acrylic or metal (depending on your inventory volume)
  • All-purpose slat wall or grid wall baskets for accessories like socks, hats and more
  • 1-2 rolling racks for moving received goods onto the show floor for apparel displays
  • 1-2 mirrors — Most stores with apparel need two mirrors; do you need a second one?
  • A stool for reaching higher spots
  • A tagging gun for any removed tags

You can find these items at Grand & Benedicts, Retail Resources and many more suppliers.


This image shows many old brand displays. Do your best to obtain the newest displays from brands you intend to support in your stores. Maybe you need a smaller display, or larger one, depending on how your sales have evolved. Now is the time to take a fresh step.


This display can be repurposed, but not like it is in this attempt to put out closeout goods. Use this rack and fill it—sale items should primarily be put onto round racks so you can blend many items.


Old Firstgear display from early 2000, this is stale, as is the product, old is old and people know when your products are not fresh! Hello its 2015!

One comment

  1. i completely agree with your statements in this section i recently started a new position in a store that needed this in such a bad way. i have been working on getting it whipped into shape and now it shows so much easier. the cleaning and sorting is a task, but the results are truly amazing.

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