Origin Agency
The Wellspring of Creativity


Riding the Rails to Globalshop: Retail Display Trends 2018


Point of sale (POS) enthusiasts are no doubt already well-informed on the epic, once-a-year extravaganza that is Globalshop. If this is you, please skip this introduction. However, if you are not an avid fan of POS or haven’t heard of Globalshop, you are in luck. Globalshop is the LARGEST retail design trade show in the country. It combines store design, visual merchandising, display strategies, new retail technologies and shopper marketing into one 3-day, mind-blowing event.

It had been a few years since we’d been to Globalshop and we were ready for a refresher. Lance, Jenny, Elaine and Megan boarded a very early train to Chicago and spent the next two days exploring an enormous conference center filled with vendors ready to tell us all about their newest and most innovative processes. Herewith, the top five insights we gathered from our time at Globalshop 2018.


While it doesn’t make the sexiest of displays at retail, cardboard is still widely used, particularly in grocery retail. Over the years, vendors have become adept at using this inexpensive and accessible material in ways that make it sturdier and appear more premium. A few of the notable displays were created so that they actually held a good amount of product, rather than simply enhancing a product stacking. Cardboard was also used in conjunction with other materials (such as motion detectors, lights, and lenticular displays) to create massive, disruptive displays.


While there are a lot of cardboard pieces that get up, some vendors are showing more unique items to get display. Since clients have to continually look at the bottom line, that means using inexpensive materials. Eco-friendly pressboard, super-strong modular foam core and papers with new high-end finishes were prevalent on the show floor.



We made our way to a vendor that showed us how they can integrate cameras and sensors into displays to direct specific messaging to whoever is standing in front of the display, based on pre-selected demographics which the AI recognizes. This means that cameras really are everywhere, and they are analyzing us and at the same time, brands are able to adapt their messages to us. These are actually very useful (albeit slightly freaky) shopper marketing tools and we are excited to see how these will impact the retail space in the coming years.


One of the things we face, particularly with liquor and wine retail programming, is being able to break through the clutter of case stacks, case cards, posters, danglers and random brand characters scattered around retail spaces. The items that we were most drawn to weren’t the flashiest or the biggest – oddly, those can often be overlooked – but rather they were the items that were clearly strategically thought out and perfectly executed. Displays that took well-known brands in surprising new directions – like these oversize Pringles “lunchboxes” were some of our favorites. Of course, there is always a cost to this sort of design, however if you have a client that is open to spending a little more in order to see a better impact on the floor, consider looking at something other than the standard rack and case card display pieces.



When consumers are making a purchase decision, most of those choices are made while standing at the shelf. Many brands opt for shelf talkers, wobblers and bottle neckers with offers, but there are some new and interesting things that can be employed at shelf to entice a consumer to consider your product. Informational pull-downs and motion activated shelf talkers can engage a consumer further than simply the pack at shelf. Adopting these technologies while they are still relatively uncommon will allow products to engage with consumers in novel ways.

As our train carried us homeward, our thoughts raced on ahead – what’s our strategy for the next presentation? When is the next client meeting? How are we going to revise a rack design to fit a changed budget? Globalshop 2018 left us simultaneously exhausted (pack extra shoes next year!) and humming with inspiration. We’re excited to take the technology and trends we discovered and turn them into engaging retail displays for our clients in the coming year.

Megan Walkertrip, pos, display