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Wide-format Graphics: Engineering POP displays

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Photos courtesy Poptech

By Peter Saunders
Point-of-purchase (POP) displays are one of the most commonly produced types of applications today in the digital wide-format printing sector. Both retailers and the third-party products they carry are constantly being refreshed, updated and rebranded, even when marketing budgets are cut, providing a more stable market than exists for many other promotional graphic formats.

Long-term success, however, depends on more than just the ever-increasing speed of on-demand printing. The best-designed POP displays not only showcase brilliant graphics, but are also easy to transport and easy for retail employees to set up on-site without damage.

‘Compliance,’ in retail parlance, is this very issue of ensuring merchandise is safely delivered to—and then properly presented and laid out within—each store in an overall campaign. And compliance is not a small issue; according to Point of Purchase Advertising International (POPAI), a global trade association, more than half of promotional displays never make it onto retail floors!

The resulting market demand has motivated companies like Poptech, based in Richmond Hill, Ont., to innovate in the design and engineering of POP displays that can help retailers better ensure compliance across large chains and small shops alike.

“Our buyers have seen value in significantly increasing their merchandising setup compliance,” says David Minister, president and CEO of Poptech. “The more complex a display’s design, the less likely it is to be set up properly and more likely it is to have something go wrong.

When a box isn’t just a box
Poptech, for its part, was launched 13 years ago by combining expertise in promotional printing and in structural design. At the time, as Minister puts it, the supplier base for corrugated POP displays was dominated 
by longstanding businesses and was tough 
to break into, as many customers—i.e. merchandisers and wholesalers—simply assumed “a box is a box.”

“We needed a major point of difference,” he says. “We began by designing a standee with a pop-up easel back, for which we acquired a patent. It could fold down to one-third the size of a standard display. As it hit the market and we met buyers who needed these standees to also hold actual merchandise, we added stabilizers, trays and shelves, but we continued to design the displays to ship as small as possible. Once we had our first few patents, we were able to open a lot of new doors.”

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