Ultimate Guide to Product Display and Custom Cardboard Display Boxes


Despite the massive shift to e-commerce over the previous few years, retail stores are still incredibly important in the business landscape. Even with online shopping steadily increasing, physical retail spaces will not disappear anytime soon.

In fact, the State of Consumer Behavior report by Raydiant shows that 46% of consumers still prefer to browse products and shop in person rather than online. Another study by Nielsen also shows that 82% of consumers are now doing in-store shopping again after restrictions have been lifted. These statistics indicate that a significant number of consumers still crave in-store experiences.

However, changes in consumer behavior also necessitate retail space. Today, visual merchandising has become both an art and a science, as retailers go beyond aesthetics to deliver value to the customer and drive sales. 

Here, we’ll discuss product displays and how they can be used to help businesses boost engagement and sell more items. We’ll also share ideas on how to use cardboard display boxes for product display. Read on to learn more about transforming your retail shop and creating awesome customer experiences.

Why Product Displays Matter

Before we delve into the details, we must first understand what a product display is and why they remain important for a company.

Product displays are creative presentations of a store’s products or services. They are an integral element of merchandising and often serve as the first point of interaction with customers. 

In a retail environment, quality product displays engage the customer and entice them to make a purchase. They also contribute to consistent branding and can create a positive impression of what a company represents. Used effectively, they can significantly boost sales and help earn customer loyalty.

15 Common Types of Product Displays

1. Storefront Window Displays

Storefront displays are the first touchpoints of a company with a potential customer. These are presented in the front window of a store and are designed to attract passersby.

A storefront display must be striking enough to catch the attention of people within the few seconds it takes them to pass by the front window. An effective one can spark interest and compel a customer to discover more about the products inside the shop. It leaves a positive first impression that can advance a customer from the awareness stage to the consideration stage.

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2. Freestanding Displays

For larger items or products that need to be presented in a more organized manner, standalone displays are better than dump bins. Instead of putting the products in a single box, they are arranged on hooks or shelves in a freestanding display. 

This type of display is accessible from all sides and is great for cross merchandising. It can be placed strategically in the middle of aisles to break the traffic flow and engage shoppers.

3. Pallet Display

pallet display heavy items large quantities open spaces

Pallet displays are similar to freestanding displays, but they are placed on a pallet instead of directly on top of the floor. These are often seen in big box stores or wholesale clubs where large volumes of products are sold. 

Even with large quantities and heavy items, they can still be moved around with ease using a small pallet truck. They can be placed in wide open spaces with high traffic to encourage fast turnover of products.

4. Display Tables

Display tables are a bit similar to showcase displays, but they don’t have glass enclosures. With the open display, a customer will feel more comfortable taking a closer look at the products presented. 

Display tables are also perfect for showcasing items that form a set or have complementary uses, such as small home appliances, kitchen tools, or outfits with matching accessories. They also work great for seasonal items and holiday gift sets.

5. Dump Bins

For large volumes of low-price merchandise that need to be sold quickly, dump bins provide higher visibility and easy accessibility. These are point of purchase displays placed near the checkout counter or in a high traffic area where customers can conveniently grab the featured products. 

These counter displays are usually made with durable cardboard boxes printed with promotions or ads. Since the bins are relatively lightweight, they can be moved to other areas within the store.

6. Gondola Displays

One specific type of freestanding display is the gondola. Like other standalone displays, this is best placed in open areas with high traffic. A gondola display is typically made of steel frames with a peg board. The pegs can be adjusted based on the products being promoted. 

They can also be single-sided, double-sided, or wraparound. This versatility makes it a good option for brands with multiple product offerings to explore.

7. POP Displays

point of purchase POP Displays example cocomelon

Regardless of the type of retail space, there is likely a point-of-purchase (POP) display that highlights a specific product or announces a new promotion. 

POP displays are ubiquitous elements in in-store marketing. They are often made of cardboard and printed with ads, promos, or deals. A POP display can be standalone displays or small shelf inserts placed in any open space that can lead a customer to purchase certain products. Specific types of custom cardboard POP displays are also included in this list.

8. End Cap Displays

Also another type of display targeting customers at the point of purchase, end caps draw the attention of customers passing through the end of an aisle. These are shelves at the end of an aisle where new inventory or store specials are displayed to build product awareness and boost sales. They can be used also for cross merchandising complementary products of the same brand.

9. Inline Displays

For business brands that share shelf space in large groceries or box stores, inline displays can be used to create differentiation from other brands. They are placed on a regular shelf to make a brand stand out from other similar products. These work well in directing customers’ attention to small and easy-to-grab items.

10. Showcase Displays

Showcase displays are typically used for valuable high-end merchandise or high-interest niche items. The display cases are made from clear materials such as plastic, glass, or plexiglass. They are encased on all sides to keep the products on display secure. They are accessible from one side or from several sides but require the help of a store clerk.

11. Retail Shelf Displays

Retail shelves are fixed, and sturdy shelves are used to display a wide assortment and range of merchandise. These can be single-sided shelves placed along the walls or double-sided ones that form aisles in the store. These are the typical product displays we see in grocery stores, box stores, and big pharmacies.

retail shelf display fixed sturdy shelves for merchandise

12. Glorifier

A glorifier is a small clear box made from glass or plastic. It is placed on a standard shelf to highlight a specific product. It acts as a pedestal or podium for products being pushed for higher sales.

13. Countertop Displays

Countertop displays encourage customers to buy small items or products on promotion. These are best placed on the checkout counter to push impulse buys at the point of purchase. However, they can also be strategically placed on display tables and shelves throughout the store. They are best used for displaying and organizing small merchandise.

14. Mannequins

mannequins display products trending styles boost sales

Mannequins also display products. They help customers visualize how pieces of clothing or accessories look when worn. They can also be used to recommend items that can go well together and the styles that are currently on trend. To further boost sales, have the items the mannequins are wearing on a nearby rack or shelf.

15. Immersive Displays

Immersive displays elevate the buying experience by giving customers a more personal engagement with the products. They follow a central theme and tell a compelling story that customers can relate to. 

One example of an immersive display is a camping setup complete with an erected tent, sleeping bags, camp stove, and other camping paraphernalia. This image helps customers envision the environment where they would be using the products.

A Practical Guide to Product and Purchase Displays

1. Be Economical 

Although they are effective in boosting sales, there is no need to spend a huge chunk of your marketing budget on a product display. Utilize space and materials that are already available to avoid additional expenditure. Upcycle materials and fixtures to create one-of-a-kind displays. Resourcefulness and creativity are often the only things you need to build eye-catching displays.

2. Make Them Versatile

Many product displays are seasonal in nature but some can be used long-term. In creating these types of displays, strive to make them versatile so they can be used to exhibit almost any type of merchandise. Make them in such a way that they can easily convey different messages and fit almost any business theme.

3. Create a Multisensory Experience

Most people focus on the visual aspect of a product display. But aside from catching the eyes of potential customers, your display must also engage their other senses. So go beyond the visuals and create a multisensory experience. 

Play music that appeals to your target customer. Use scent marketing to stir positive emotions and trigger good memories. If you are selling food or consumables, offer free tastes or samples. The more senses you entice, the higher the probability of converting into sales.

4. Consider Both Demographics and Psychographics

Demographic data have been traditionally used in developing marketing strategies. Even in creating quality product displays, it is important to identify the age, income, education, geographic location, and other such data of your target customers. These help you understand them better. 

However, you must go beyond demographics and dig deeper into your customers’ psychographic information. Psychographics will tell you what their interests are, what drives their purchase decisions, and what type of lifestyle they live. Having a more in-depth knowledge of your customers will enable you to create displays that truly connect with them.

5. Keep the Price Tags On

keep price tags on POP display for products

Removing the price tags on a product display can lead to a lost sale. Some customers may not bother to ask about prices and just assume that the product is beyond their budget. If your product is of high-quality, they may even think that it is priced much higher than the actual price. So keep the tags on.

6. Placement Matters

Even the most attractive product display will not convert into a sale if they are not visible. The location of your product display would matter significantly. Make sure new products and bestselling ones are displayed in high-traffic zones. Accessories and small items can disappear from shelves, so place them near the checkout counter.

Another crucial area you must pay attention to is the decompression zone. This is the area inside the store right near the entrance. Use this zone to create a transition from the outside world to your store by placing a product display that showcases your company’s image. Keep the area free of clutter to make your store seem more inviting.

7. Use Your Displays to Educate

Aside from showcasing your products, use your displays to provide customers with more information about the items you offer. Indicate useful tidbits on unique features or functions. Illustrate how the featured product can be used. 

You can also share new trend ideas. Consumers are more likely to buy a product that they feel they have more knowledge of.

8. Keep Displays Clutter-Free

It may be tempting to place all of your new products or bestsellers in a single product display, but avoid doing so. Overcrowding your display can overwhelm customers. Instead of displaying too many disparate products, focus on a single point of interest. You can highlight a single product or use a unified theme that connects several items.

9. Keep Your Displays Fresh

Change your product displays on a regular basis—once a week, at the least. Having a new one every week keeps your store looking fresh and gives regular customers something to look forward to every visit. Frequent passersby are also more likely to notice your store if your storefront display changes constantly.

10. Maintain Your Product Displays

Most retail market stores have specific areas for their product displays. If you have a permanent location for these, make sure it is always clean and organized. Check the fixtures such as lighting and platforms as they can break or become worn down over time.

How to Make a Quality Product Display Case That Attracts Customers

How to Make a Quality Product Display Case That Attracts Customers

1. Make It Readily Visible

Visibility is a huge factor in the success of all promotional materials, including product display. Place your display case where customers can readily see it. Choose a location where there will be little space lag between the time a customer sees the display and the time they react to it.

2. Use Actual Products

Ideally, actual products should be featured in your product display case. However, there may be certain circumstances where this is not possible, such as when selling perishable food items. What’s important is that your display shows the customer what the product actually looks like in real life. Instead of using a flat intangible picture of your product, use a more realistic representation.

3. Be Bold

Your product display should help you stand out from the competition. Be bold and create contrast using eye-catching colors and images. Make your display case Insta-worthy by choosing a design that would make people want to snap a pic and share it online. Remember that there are currently over 3.6 billion people using social media worldwide, and many of them love sharing images and graphics that stir interest.

4. Be Innovative

Strive to be original with your design and think outside the box. Use modern techniques to make your displays standout.

5. Make Your Display Cohesive

Avoid a cluttered display especially when cross merchandising. Group related products in one display or have a single cohesive design that ties all the items together. Every item in your display products list must interact or complement the other items. 

6. Set the Mood with Lighting

Use lighting to set the tone for your product display. A spotlight can focus attention on a featured product. Soft lighting can be used to create a glowing effect that captures the eyes of customers.

7. Use Motion to Attract Attention

Anything that moves is bound to catch people’s attention. Incorporate some form of movement in your product display to draw more people in. Try a rotating carousel for small items on a display table or use a small fan to create breeze in a summer display.

8. Offer An Experience

33% of consumers prefer shopping in person because they want to interact directly with the products. They want to personally see and feel the products before purchasing them. High-tech interactive displays can enhance their buying experience, which in turn, can increase the odds of a purchase.

9. Make a Statement

Social media has made people more vocal about their advocacies and opinions. Use your product display to make a statement that your business stands for. 

Mannequins that are plus-sized or have dad-bods are now more common, as they help promote self-love and acceptance of one’s unique appearance. If your company promotes sustainability, make sure it is evident in your product displays.

10. Leverage Technology

We are now living in the digital age where technology plays a vital role. Leverage modern tools to amplify your product display. 

About 8 out of 10 customers enter a store because of a digital sign that caught their interest. Find ways to incorporate one in your storefront display. You can also use videos or interactive tablets in your in-store displays to capture the interest of your customers. 

What You Must Absolutely Avoid When Creating Custom Displays

1. Placing Unrelated Items Together

The human mind seeks order. It constantly looks for patterns and systems. This is why clutter and disorganized items create anxiety in many people. For your customers to have a pleasant shopping experience, do not place mismatched displays of unrelated items.

2. Displaying Too Much or Too Little

Although consumers look for variety, placing too many products or multiple product types can overwhelm them. It can make it more difficult for them to choose which one to buy. 

On the other hand, not displaying enough products can create the impression that your product portfolio lacks variety. Thus, balance is key to product displays. You must have just the right number of items that provide ample choices without causing confusion.

3. Focusing Too Much on the Display, Not on the Product

Product displays should look great, but keep in mind that the focus should be on the products you want to sell. Avoid displays that are too flashy—they can distract potential customers from the actual products. Your product display should enhance the products instead of taking the spotlight off them.

4. Using Dark Backgrounds on Window Displays

A dark background makes the glass behave as a giant mirror. A person who looks through a window with a dark background is bound to see his own reflection, too. This may steal attention away from the products on display. 

5. Filling Every Corner or Space With Displays

Resist the temptation to cram every available space on the walls, shelves, and aisles with product displays. Having a white, clean space where there is nothing but an empty spot creates a breathing room in your store. Far from being a waste of space, it actually helps highlight your product displays by creating a focal point in the store.

Choosing the Best Material for Product Display Boxes

A product display often involves the use of boxes made from different materials such as plastic, metal, wood, or cardboard. The best material for your product display will depend on what products you are showcasing, where you will be placing the display, and how long you plan on using it. 

In choosing the material for your display boxes, consider your intended use, specific requirements, environmental impact, and cost.

Comparison of Different Materials for Display Boxes


  Metal Wood Plastic Cardboard
Cost Expensive Expensive Depends on type of plastic used Very affordable
Turnaround Time May take long depending on design and quantity May take long depending on design and quantity Relatively fast Relatively fast

Lasts several years,



Semi-permanent to permanent Lasts long but fades and cracks over time Temporary seasonal use

Much effort required,

tools needed (screws and bolts, etc.)

Much effort required,

tools needed (screws and bolts, etc.)

Easily snaps or bolts together Easy to assemble but requires care
Mobility and Portability

Not very mobile,

heavy weight

Not as mobile,

medium to heavy weight

Lightweight Lightweight

Benefits of Using Cardboard Display Boxes

Cardboard is the most popular choice when it comes to product display boxes for retail marketing. Here are seven reasons why it is the most preferred material:

  • It is cost-effective. Cardboard prices are lower compared to wood, metal, and plastic.
  • It has a quick turnaround time. Cardboard boxes can be manufactured faster than other materials even with bulk orders. This quick turnaround time makes them perfect for seasonal marketing campaigns.
  • It is versatile. Cardboard is easy to cut and mold into unique shapes. Shelves, pockets, folds, and other details can also be easily integrated into its design.
  • It is easy to assemble. Most cardboard boxes are designed to unfold and fit together like puzzle pieces. They do not require tools and other materials for assembly.
  • It is easy to transport. Cardboard is the most lightweight material for display boxes. It can also be disassembled and folded flat for shipping.
  • It is durable. Cardboard may not last as long as metal or wood, but it can withstand use for an entire marketing campaign period.
  • It is environmentally friendly. While not all cardboard is eco-friendly, many of them can be easily recycled. Vegetable-based inks can also be used to print on them to make them more eco-friendly.

8 Common Types of Cardboard Display Boxes

Common Types of Cardboard Display Boxes

1. Counter Display

These are small and compact boxes designed to be placed on top of display tables or countertops. They are great for retail sales of small items, such as pens, candies, makeup, and other similar-sized merchandise.

2. Power Wings

Also called sidekicks, power wings are small displays on end caps or shelves. They increase a shelf’s basket size and allow brands to highlight new products or promotional offers. They are often used for small lightweight items, like sample-sized products, magazines, cosmetics, and OTC pharmacy products.

3. Inline Displays

Inline displays or on-shelf displays help businesses set themselves apart from a shelf full of competing products. These are usually trays or open boxes with additional branding to break the visual monotony of similar products lined on the same shelf.

4. Brochure Holders

Some businesses such as travel agencies, salon services, or B2B companies advertise their products and services but do not necessarily offer them in a particular store. Instead, they provide brochures which the customer can get while shopping or waiting in line. 

Brochure holders not only give their brand and message more visibility but also keep marketing collaterals organized. These are usually placed on the checkout counter, reception desk, or takeout window.

5. Floor Display Stand

Cardboard floor displays may have 2-7 layers of shelves where several products can be arranged on display. Some have pegs and hangers instead of layered shelves. Others combine both shelves and pegs for a wider variety of product display.

6. Pallet Display

Cardboard pallet display racks combine storage and display. The bottom part is often used to store stocks while the top rack is used to display the product being promoted. This type of display is lightweight and can be conveniently moved throughout the store.

7. Cardboard Trolley

Cardboard trolleys are ideal for mobile marketing campaigns. They combine the portable storage of trolleys and the visibility of display boxes. They are usually printed with ads and used in shows and conventions where mobility is required.

8. Dump Bins

Cardboard is also a low-cost material for dump bins. They can be easily printed with visually appealing designs and work great for seasonal promotions. Their lightweight materials also make them easy to move around the store.

Other Cardboard Promotional Items

shelf stopper retail cardboard promo

Aside from display boxes and custom packaging, cardboard can be used for other promotional items and POP displays.

1. Shelf Stoppers

Shelf stoppers or shelf takers are signs placed on a retail shelf. They are positioned perpendicular to the shelf to attract customers and to draw their attention directly to where a featured product is displayed. Cardboard shelf stoppers do not require floor space, are easy to attach to shelves, and provide brands an affordable way to increase product visibility.

2. Ceiling-Hung Signs

Like shelf stoppers, ceiling-hung signs do not require floor space and provide a low-cost way to increase brand awareness. These signs are hung from the ceiling to draw customers to the area where products are shelved.

3. Cardboard Standees

One way to gain more awareness for a brand is to use cardboard standees. These are 3D structures of the actual products or the product endorsers. They can also be designed to resemble free-standing product displays that have unique shapes.

Make a Statement with Customized Cardboard Display Boxes

Cardboard display boxes are customized according to the specific size, design, and style that a company needs. When having your display boxes customized, consider the products you will be showcasing. Having a product-oriented display ensures that the spotlight will be on your product and not on the box. Also make sure that the box has the physical integrity to support the product you will be displaying on it.

When featuring small items, like cosmetics, include dividers or pockets in your display box to keep the items organized. If the box will be placed in an environment exposed to moisture, opt for waterproof or water-resistant cardboard.

To get the best cardboard display boxes, partner with a manufacturer who is willing to talk with you about your customization options and go the extra mile to meet your requirements.

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