Peg, Slat, Grid

We’re working on designing a whole new interior merchandising system for a national retailer this month. As I’m working on the design for their new fixtures I found myself revisiting a common question the retailers and brands have been asking since the dawn of modern retail design.

What is the best route to go when merchandising product on hooks – pegboard, stall wall or wire grid?

Over the course of twenty plus years of designing retail solutions, I don’t have an answer for you. Like most everything in life: it depends.

Here’s my take on these three ways to peg product in your store.

Pegboard

Usually made from masonite or hardboard, sometimes plastic, pegboard is likely one of my favorite ways to merchandising hanging product. The holes are usually 1″ x 1″ on center, and about 1/4″ in diameter. The board thickness is usually a 1/4″ as well.

Pegboard may be painted any color you want, or covered with a durable paper coating to make it look like wood grain, or your favorite pattern. You can even direct print right on the surface. Often time retailers will use perforated cover sheets of paper to color block in-line sections of gondolas. Target started this trend about ten years ago, and now it’s everywhere.

Pegboard is a great looking, great functioning solution that works great on endcaps, in-line and outposts. It’s not as common on power wings, but you certainly can use the material for that application. There are a ton of pegboard accessories available. The one inch centers can make merchandising a challenge, when trying to squeeze everything in.

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Pegboard Skinz from Panel Processing turn white pegboard into a signage opportunity.

Slat Wall

Slat wall is typically viewed as “old fashioned” by marketers, retailers and brands. Which is a shame because it’s so versatile. The slats are usually spaced 3″ – 4″ apart, and offer unlimited spacing left to right, unlike pegboard.

It used to be that all you could get was slat that looked yellowed when it came out of the box. These days though you’re limited only by your imagination. Typically made from MDF, modern slat wall slats may be milled in a variety of patterns and spacing. Taking it a step further, you can get slat wall that looks like old barn boards, brick or faux distress metal.

Slat wall is heavy and cumbersome so you usually only see it fastened to real walls, and not on gondolas too often. But it’s a fantastic solution, if you can convince the marketing and retail peeps that it’s no longer old fashioned.

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Barnwood slat wall from Dimensional Impact

Wire Grid

Go into any store and I bet you the power wings are all wire grid. It’s a ubiquitous way to peg these displays that’s worked for decades. Less common is wire grid merchandising in-line or on outposts, but it’s out there. We specified tons (literally) of wire grid for merchandising gift wrap and party goods when I worked corporate.

The grid wires are usually an inch on center. Wire grid is almost as good as slat wall for limitless merchandising left to right. You just have to look out for the vertical wires. They make hooks that are notched for the vertical wires, which helps in fine tuning merchandising.

The down side of wire is it’s not the most attractive thing in the world. You can powder coat it any color you want. One cool trick: put a backdrop of a contrasting color or an image behind the wire grid to snazz things up a bit.

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Wire grid can be fun to play around with, such as the curved shapes on this battery concept. (designed by Chris Weigand ~2003)

Parting Thoughts

There’s a good chance you’ll be dealing with legacy issues – not wanting to throw everything out and restart from scratch. So you may have two or more types of hanging merchandising systems to contend with. I don’t think it’s too big a deal if you mix and match. Often power wings will only come in wire grid, and pegboard is pretty standard for in-line gondolas. Merchandisers are good at keeping track of accessories throughout the store, so they’ll know where their stash of pegboard hooks is.

Regardless of which route you go, standard hooks and accessories are prevalent for each system. And there are common sizing standards for each system, so if you do have leftover accessories you can usually continue to find a spot to use them. You can even find some hooks that work in multiple systems, such as peg hooks that work on slat wall.

For me, I make my selection on a case by case basis. All three can be made to look incredible and all are functional.

I hope this little snippet overview gets you thinking about merchandising, and that it was helpful. Cheers!

-Chris

Chris Weigand is president of Chris Weigand Design, LLC, a full service retail design consultancy based in northeast Ohio. Chris has been designing awesome hanging product merchandising, and other retail design solutions for two decades. He’s lent his expertise to many of the world’s largest retailers including Walmart, Target, CVS and Lowe’s. Contact him at (330) 858-8926 to discuss your retail design needs. He and his team would love to work with you.

 

Organic Seed Display

This week I spied this wonderful organic seed display at Lowe’s, and wanted to share it with you.

The display is clean and simple, with a nice higher end feel for a temporary display. It looks well constructed. It even spins. I like the repetition of four panels to create the display, which keeps costs down. It was around six feet tall, and easy to shop.

The header graphics take up an appropriate amount of space, showcasing the brand, and “100% Organic” message.

The seed packets are well designed with a high-end glossy finish. Bright color graphics of plants and vegetables allow guests to quickly navigate the display visually. A great example of letting the packaging do its job instead of relying on fussy, and expensive supplementary wayfinding signage. The packaging also was unique for it’s “zip-loc” like closure. Sometimes you want to save seeds for future use. The closure is a brilliant addition to seed packets, which are usually paper and once they are open they’re exposed to the elements, or could get lost.

Note, in regards to organic seeds, it’s important that consumers purchase seeds that are free of neonicotinoids, a form of insecticides found in many commercially grown plants and seeds. The chemical is placed in the seeds and is subsequently in the plants that grow from the seeds. Neonicotinoids have been found to disrupt pollinators ability to navigate and ultimately survive. When buying seeds for your garden, we encourage you to purchase responsibly sourced seeds that are organic, free of harmful chemicals and are GMO free (i.e. non-genetically modified).

-Chris

Chris Weigand Design, LLC does not endorse Lowe’s or the makers of these organic seeds, or their display. But we do support any effort to create a healthy and sustainable environment for ourselves, our children and future generations.

North American Int’l Auto Show Roundup

We took the opportunity to visit the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan a couple of weeks ago. And I thought I’d share with you some of the things we found interesting there.

Auto shows are great venues to see the latest trends not only in-car design but also in color, textures, materials. And the cars are not the only attraction. For retail designers there are plenty of great displays and exhibits to get inspiration from.

If you can’t make it to Detroit, which is the premiere show in the U.S., visit one of the other big shows such as New York, L.A. or Chicago if you can. Otherwise find a show near you. The auto show in Cleveland is one of the largest in the country, and many of the cars and displays from the big name shows can be seen just up the road from us, here in Northeast Ohio.

Observations from Detroit:

  • hybrids and electric cards are becoming mainstream, and the design of their charging stations it unique opportunity for branding and design
  • matte paint finishes continue to trend. Volvo and Mercedes had a lot of matte cars
  • interactive kiosks were everywhere, even replacing the static info boards by the cars on display. (Also you can find them in car dealerships, by the way – was in a Jeep dealer this past weekend and they had kiosks all over)
  • the design of exhibits seemed heavy on hospitality with nice desks, benches and seating areas, including benches with tablets and headphones for listening to music
  • the Buick display stood out for its use of fine finishes and curves. Lots of curves and attention to details
  • great graphic design on display, both in exhibits and on cars
  • large video walls were prominently used. Infiniti, Scion and Chevrolet in particular. You could see through Chevy’s LED video walls.

 

Promoting the Use of Lesser-Known Timber Species

Tropical Rainforest Thailand --- Image by © Corbis

Tropical Rainforest Thailand — Image by © Corbis

Yesterday I read an interesting article in ‘International Wood’, an International Wood Products Association (IWPA) trade publication, about a topic I didn’t previously know about: the use of lesser-known timber species. I found the information to be well worth passing along to our readers. Here’s my summary, followed by some helpful resources on the topic.

Exotic, often times tropical, woods are much in vogue these days. As such there is high commercial demand for, or regulations regarding the use of, several species such ipe, mahogany, and ebony, which in turn drives up price and reduces available inventory. More importantly, there’s a chance many tropical woods, not just the ones mentioned, are not forested or harvested sustainably.

The wood industry is looking to promote lesser-known species (LKS) for several reasons, and designers would be remiss if they didn’t check out the various options and think about using them in future projects.

Reasons to Consider Lesser-Known Timber Species:

  • Large Selection – The IWPA lists nine LKS’s that have great potential for the US market, including garapa which is an attractive option for building exteriors and lattice-work. The World Wildlife Fund list over two dozen species to consider in their ‘Guide to Lesser Known Species’ (click here).
  • Design – Using LKS makes your design project standout. Many of these woods look great with no need for color altering stain. And because you don’t see them that often used at retail, they look fresher than the typical wood finishes you see in store interiors. Also LKS broaden your material palette. Garapa, tigerwood, and morado are all good species to consider.
  • Cost Savings – Because they are not utilized as often, the cost is often less than high-demand wood such as mahogany, while still providing excellent durability, color, and performance. All at a fraction of the cost.
  • Sustainability – Specifying LKS of wood promotes diverse forest eco-systems, reducing the pressure on forests that provide only high demand timber. Managed correctly, wood is a renewable resource that works well in retail environments. Always make sure the lumber you specify and use is FSC certified. No exceptions.

Here are some links for more information:

World Wildlife Fund’s Global Forest & Trade Network has a ton of info on sustainable forestry: http://gftn.panda.org

International Wood Products Association’s LKS page: http://www.iwpawood.org/?page=81

The UK Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) page on LKS: http://www.fsc-uk.org/lesser-known-timber-species.155.htm

The Amazon Alternative LKS page: http://www.theamazonalternative.org/news/en/news-july-lks

The World Wildlife Fund has a comprehensive guide to lesser-known species, get it here: http://www.worldwildlife.org/publications/guide-to-lesser-known-tropical-timber-species

The U.S. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) page: https://us.fsc.org

Have you used any lesser-known species of timber in your retail projects?

What are your favorites?

Join the discussion below in the comments.

Chris Weigand Design, LLC is committed to sharing our passion for a sustainable environment with our clients, our industry and our community. We encourage the use of sustainable materials and processes in retail design solutions. For more information on our commitment to the environment or to find out how we can develop innovative, sustainable solutions for your next retail design project, visit www.chrisweiganddesign.com or call 330.858.8926