POP Displays: The 5 Materials You Must Know

In the retail world, “POP” refers to point of purchase advertising displays. POP displays can take various forms; shelf-mounted signs, standing floor displays, hanging posters or danglers, end caps, inserts for stanchions, contour-cut standees and countertop displays. These are just a few of the POP display options which maximize product visibility and impulse purchases. Since an estimated 70% of purchases are made within the retail store itself, point of purchase displays can have a dramatic impact on your brand’s sales.

Rigid Display - Food CityToday’s POP display printing technology provides creative and brand managers custom marketing advantages, as POP displays can be printed to the needs of local markets. It has never been more important for brands to use point of purchase displays to cut through the clutter and improve category performance. Unplanned consumer purchases are often the norm, so an effective, well-designed, gorgeously printed display or hanging graphic may sway a consumer to buy.

Planning and designing a point of purchase display and selecting its materials is a complex job. The right substrate for your POP display campaign is essential. There’s a lot to know about materials and the right mix of them can make or break a display.

Below we explore 5 types of rigid materials commonly used in short and medium-term retail displays. In Part 2 of this series, we’ll explore materials for long-term, durable graphics.

Gum Drop SignsStyrene – technically known as polystyrene, this resin-based plastic is commonly found in everything from packaging to toys to advertising displays. For printed graphics, it is available in thicknesses from 10 pt. to 120 pt. and comes in an array of opacities and colors, with white as most common. Styrene provides an excellent print surface and easily cuts to shape, providing excellent solutions for stanchion sign inserts, shelf talkers, ceiling danglers and aisle markers.

Wondering what “10 pt.” thickness means? A “point” is 1/1000 of an inch, meaning that “10 pt.” stock is 10/1000 inch thick. This is also referred to as 0.010 thick.

Foamboard – made of extruded polystyrene foam, sandwiched between paper liners. Often produced in white, it is ideal for tabletop signage with an easel back. Economical and lightweight, Foamboard comes in 3/16” and ½” thicknesses which makes it a great choice for contour cutout, life size standees. One of the most common uses is two-sided hanging displays in grocery store aisles.

Gatorfoam & Ultra Board – these two trademarked substrates are produced with a durable core of polystyrene foam. Gatorfoam, also referred to as Gatorboard, is bonded on both sides by smooth, moisture-resistant, manmade wood fiber veneer. Ultra Board has two thin sheets of styrene adhered with the foam core sandwiched between them. Either one is great for added stability and dent-resistance when compared to Foamboard. In addition to all white, these boards are available as all black and in various combinations of black core and white and black faces. Standard sheet size is 48” x 96” but they are also available up to 60” x 120” and in thicknesses up to 3”.

Expanded PVC – created from closed-cell polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the most common brand name is Sintra. This material is extruded with a matte finish, has a slight texture to it and is rigid, yet lightweight and durable. At half the weight of a solid PVC, Sintra has superior dent and scratch resistance, with thicknesses ranging from 1mm to 26mm. All thicknesses are available in white, with some also produced in color. Sintra easily cuts to shapes using the same techniques as Foamboard fabrication and can also be heat-bent to create self-standing POP displays. A superb choice for semi-permanent point of purchase floor displays, end caps and hanging pop displays, expanded PVC comes in standard and oversized sheets helping create larger than life displays.

Mario Kart - shopping cart graphicsHOT IDEA – Don’t limit your design to square-cut graphics. Only the most creative messages will get through to your customer. Unlike flat images, a contour-cut point of purchase display graphic can achieve a 3D appearance, commanding the attention your POP display deserves. Be sure your graphics provider utilizes a precision digital cutting system on their shop floor.

About the author: Peter Fradin is a 25 year industry veteran and a display solutions print specialist with BPGraphics. BPGraphics is a nationally recognized screen and digital graphics printer offering large, wide and grand format print solutions for 55 years. From fabric to vinyl – to rigid substrates of all kinds – big or small, BPGraphics’ knowledge and experience in the industry is unparalleled. You can reach Peter at 602-272-7907