Add the element of surprise to create engaging closed-case displays

By Margie Proctor
Hillphoenix Marketing & Design Specialist

Here’s a challenge for all of you store merchandisers tasked with building great displays behind closed-case doors. Surprise and delight your shoppers with at least one unexpected design element inside the case.

Imagine new possibilities

Small creative touches can add interest to your in-case merchandising. Here’s a great idea for showing off sandwichesSandwichesInTacoHolders in a taco holder. The holder creates the perfect angle for displaying sandwiches — upright but not fully vertical. Plus, the taco holder’s zigzag shape adds some playfulness.

Another easy idea is to display cartons of egg whites in a skillet and attach a paper-stuffed oven mitt to the handle. The skillet conjures up the idea of a hot meal, despite being in a refrigerated case, and the mitt gives shoppers a feeling that the product is being offered to them to try.

Promote picnics for dinner

We all know ready-made-meals are big sellers because they’re practical solutions for busy consumers. But don’t just tell that story. Make prepared foods fun — and even a little adventurous — by merchandising them as “picnics for dinner.” Create an in-case display using a picnic-style basket tipped on its side, and cover the shelf with a lightweight checkered tablecloth (make sure anything you add to an in-case display won’t restrict airflow). Show components of a prepackaged full meal: cups of cubed cheese and fruit for an appetizer, entrees in different portion sizes, desserts. Add some fresh grapes and a bottle of wine to complete the effect.

PicnicForDinnerOn the shelf below, display pre-packed shopping bags (adorned with a sticker or stamp featuring your store’s logo and a “What’s for Dinner” or “Picnic to Go” label). Attach a tag indicating what’s inside, including nutritional information, if possible. Shoppers will walk out the door with a convenient and healthy “picnic” that solves their what’s-for-dinner problem with a little whimsy.

Tap into inspiration

Inspiration can come from anywhere. This imaginative idea for using silverware holders to display string cheese came from an industry trade show. This display shows how shiny bowls and wooden cheese covers really dress up your shelves, too.

I love to repurpose Pinterest fans’ ideas for party foods. For example, displaying cups of cut fruit in a tiered serving plate fits right into a smart closed-case merchandising strategy. Start with a sturdy tiered holder that will allow cooled air to flow over the food on display. Reorganize shelves to create vertical space for a case centerpiece. Place cups of cut fruit (covered and priced, of course) on the tiered shelves. On the base shelf, where your tiered display sits, line up lots more ready-to-eat cups of fruit. That makes it easy for shoppers to buy product without dismantling the display — that is until you sell the very last item.SilverwareHolderRepurposedForCheese

Amp up the sales potential of a cut-fruit display by making it part of a breakfast-themed end cap display near the front of the store. Fill remaining closed-case shelves with other grabbable breakfast items — yogurt, fresh juices and bowls of whole bananas, apples and oranges — and voila! You’re offering healthy, convenient breakfast on the go.

Adding creative and surprising design elements turns your closed cases into storytelling spaces, allowing you to engage shoppers and drive food sales.

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