Retail Display Logistics: The 101 Guide To How It Works

Ethan Townzen
May 1, 2024
A retail display showing cases of beer assembled to look like a military tank.

Imagine entering a space where each product, though silent, tells a compelling story. This is the essence of a retail display. Offering a real connection to the brand’s narrative. However, there are many moving parts behind the scenes to create, build, transport, and efficiently assemble a retail display before arriving at a retail store.

What Are Retail Displays?

Retail Displays are more than mere product holders. They serve as a pivotal touchpoint for customer engagement. Imagine them as silent salespeople, providing a visual narrative that's both informative and persuasive.

  • Space Optimization: Arranged to maximize both space and product appeal.
  • Brand Storytelling: Each display conveys the brand’s message and values.
  • Unique Look and Feel: They stand out in a sea of uniformity.

Remarkably, studies indicate that customers are willing to pay up to 50% more for products on a well-designed display.

Retail Displays: The Logistics Involved In Execution

Prior to arriving at a retailer, there’s a whole orchestration of events necessary to build and assemble the display before arriving. To get a retail display and its components to the store, typically, a brand will employ a Third-party logistics (3PL) company such as Buske Logistics to physically create the retail display so that it can be quickly assembled at the retailer.

Step 1: Retail Display Design and Planning

A compelling retail display begins with a foundation of planning to support the flawless execution of retail logistics.

  • Retail Compliant Labels: Retail labels are important from the get-go. Logistics companies often use the UCC-128 or GS1 label. These are great for large-format graphics in retail displays. These are also preferred for precision cutting. It handles a wide range of materials with exactness.
  • Durable Material Selection: Choosing durable and appealing materials is key both for instore display and in transit. Recycled PETG is popular for its clarity and impact resistance. Eco-board is chosen for its rigidity and ease of printing. These materials come from reliable suppliers like SABIC and 3A Composites.

Step 2: Packaging

  • Retail Display Packaging: Understanding that packaging impacts customer perception, 3PLs will include protective and appealing packaging solutions of the display before shipping. These protective packaging solutions enhance the unboxing experience, setting the display builder (merchandiser or brand) up for success. These items can include corner boards for added protection, airbags to mitigate shifting mid-transit, organization of products for easy assembly and an instruction guide.

Step 3: Set-up

  • Inventory Management Prior to Production: Beyond simple storage, 3PLs executing a retail display build for retail logistics need a robust WMS. This is necessary for quick deployment upon the start of production.

Step 4: Production

  • Building the display: Many 3PLs like Buske Logistics will utilize a temporary staffing solution, such as Manpower, at our Springfield, Missouri, location to build displays. This allows us to stay lean with our workforce and remain competitive in our contract warehousing agreements.

Step 5: Shipping

  • Order Fulfillment: Once an order is received from a client at the warehousing provider, 3PLs will pick the previously-0built display and stage it for delivery.
  • Multifaceted Carrier Options: 3PLs need to tailor transportation solutions to specific to retailer needs. This ensures reliable and efficient delivery across various scales and geographies. For example, many retailers like Walmart will require specific carriers that can ship into them or use a retail consolidator like Buske Logistics.
  • Shipping Coordination: Once a carrier has been selected, 3PLs will manage the logistics of pick-ups and deliveries within tight windows of time at retail distribution centers. This coordination of retail logistics is essential for meeting the tight deadlines of retailers like Walmart and Whole Foods, which are typical in the retail logistics environments; otherwise, late penalties could result in a chargeback to the brand or carrier.

Step 6: Assembly at the Retailer

  • Building the Retail Displays: Once at the store, typically a 3PL or the brand will hire a merchandiser to build the retail display based on the instructions that were include in its production at the 3PL.

The 3PL Advantage in Retail Displays

Third-party logistics (3PL) companies like Buske Logistics can transform the retail display process into an optimized, seamless operation with value-added logistics services. Given many brands do not specialize in its logistics, large companies like Starbucks will enter into a contract warehousing and services agreement with a 3PL to build displays, which saves money.

Buske Logistics: Specializing in Retail Display Excellence

Buske Logistics isn't just another link in the supply chain. At Buske, we specialize in the logistics of retail displays, understanding every nuance from design to fulfillment. This specialization in VAL allows us to provide targeted services that deliver and enhance the retail display experience.

  • Specialization in Retail Displays: Our deep understanding of retail display dynamics, from design through to fulfillment, ensures that your displays capture attention and drive sales.
  • Value-Added Logistics: Buske goes beyond logistics; we bring your brand to life. Our value-added services include assembly, installation, and even old display removal, providing a comprehensive approach to retail display management.

Future Trends in Retail Displays

The future of retail display is shaping up to be innovative and sustainable, driven by advanced technology.

  • Printing Technologies and Sustainable Materials: The future of retail displays revolves around integrating advanced technologies and sustainable practices. Logistics companies are at the forefront, utilizing precision tools like the EFI VUTEk and Esko Kongsberg series to ensure high-quality production. Materials like recycled PETG and Eco-Board are chosen for their sustainability and durability, aligning with global environmental trends.
  • Digital Integration: Greater incorporation of digital elements such as touchscreens and augmented reality, tailored to engage tech-savvy consumers and provide interactive shopping experiences.

Retails Logistics and Displaying at Buske Logistics

Retail displays act as the silent ambassadors of your brand, subtly influencing consumer perceptions. With a proficient 3PL partner, these displays can powerfully communicate your brand's value, converting casual browsers into dedicated customers. Looking ahead, the role of companies like Buske Logistics in enriching these customer interactions becomes crucial. Driven by advancements in logistics, technology, and sustainable practices, the future of retail displays is extremely promising.