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Opinion: considering installation early helps designers save money for retail clients says Mike Houghton of CJ Retail Solutions

Few retailers or brands would turn down a cost saving of £40,000 when managing their in-store marketing campaigns, especially if it could be achieved with a minor tweak to a humble display component, such as a hinge. But the fact is that every day retailers and brands pay over the odds for the most basic retail display fixtures because installation specialists are not included early enough in the display design process.

Installation experts are able to suggest minor changes to displays that result in significant savings. For instance, by suggesting a simple change in specification from a fixed bracket to a hinged bracket on a recent display stand, we were able to transport six times as many units per van - saving the client over £40,000 in distribution costs.

The unit was also packaged much more effectively, reducing the risk of damage. These small adjustments to a display’s design and construction can not only deliver huge efficiencies and savings, but also ultimately result in a superior display on the shop floor.

There are countless other examples of how specialist knowledge of in-store environments and retailer estates, as well as practical logistical considerations, can streamline costs and also ensure a hurdle-free campaign. These can include store audits to check access restrictions.

This knowledge allows the design agency to make adjustments to the fixtures for these stores, enabling field teams to take them apart, to fit them into a lift for example, and put them back together on the shop floor. This prevents the issue from impacting on budgets and timings. If the timings go off the rails the consequences can be huge, especially when the in-store activity is part of a multi-million pound integrated marketing campaign.

The bottom line is that if designers want to add real value to their offering and differentiate themselves from their competitors they need to be working more closely with retail display installation experts early in the design stage. This will give them access to a vast amount of store data, which in addition to an installation specialist’s industry experience, can inform and influence the design process in a positive way.

Another important factor for design agencies to consider is how easy their solution is to install. This has a major impact on the overall cost of installation so it is well worth speaking to a specialist to ensure the finished design is as straightforward as possible to construct without losing any of its visual impact.

Looking more long-term, it is also beneficial for retailers if fixtures are durable, easy to maintain and keep clean, which again can depend greatly on their design. A minor upgrade in the specification of the materials used may add a small cost to the manufacturing process but be more than recuperated by lower maintenance costs.

Good quality packaging that is specially designed for a fixture will help to better protect it from damage in transit and also cut down on packing and unpacking time, again enabling retailers to get more mileage from their in-store marketing budgets. In addition it would reduce wastage, supporting the retailer’s sustainability aims by virtually eradicating the need to throw away any of the packaging.

So the design of a retail display really is just one factor in ensuring the success of an in-store campaign. While creativity and innovation are crucial, the practicalities of a display’s design contribute massively to the return on investment a campaign delivers. The bottom line is that by having a more in-depth understanding of the practicalities involved in an installation – something that a retail display installation expert can provide - designers can differentiate themselves from their competitors by providing their clients with an impactful solution that delivers added value on many levels while driving results.

Mike Houghton is marketing director of CJ Retail Solutions