Factors to remember about retail display in the digital age

Despite the rise of the internet, retail display remains a powerful tool to draw in customers. Even if they are predominantly online buyers, many shoppers actively browse stores on the high street first, offering retailers an opportunity to convert them into customers. To appeal to these customers, retail displays must become entry point to a multichannel retail experience, integrating your digital and physical retail channels and guiding the customer through a curated, experiential, retail journey. Here are five things to remember when crafting such a display:

1: Storytelling is key
Unlike the technology all around us, the human brain has not changed in the past decade. As a species, we are motivated by narrative structures – by stories. Retail displays should embrace key themes to exploit this factor.

2: Think about physical space
At P2, we are manufacturers, so we are very used to thinking in terms of physicality. This is also an important skill for designers, who must decide which plane each element of their retail display will sit on (very few displays, for example, are exclusively at eye-level).

3: Use surprise to maximum effect
We can produce a wide range of bespoke POS material to help capture shoppers’ attention. Depending on the brands involved, you could use elements like vinyl, free-standing display units, PVC banners, or free-standing cut-outs to make an impact.

4: Use targeted propositions
It is vital to ensure that your retail display, no matter how creatively designed or perfectly manufactured, remains targeted on particular products and customers.

5: Integrate offline and online
Retailers should consider embracing the trend towards ecommerce by integrating an online store with their brick-and-mortar one. This can be done by adding tablet devices, digital displays, and targeted incentives (such as online discount codes) where appropriate.

At P2, we can manufacture a wide range of bespoke assets to help you create powerful retail displays. Get in contact on 01455 288 922, or via our contact form to make an enquiry.

P2’s adds bonding and pressing workshop

P2 is very pleased to announce a significant addition to its capabilities thanks to a new bonding and pressing workshop. The great new equipment we’ll be using is extremely valuable in a world where the pace of business means time is precious. We’ll now be able to bond and press a wide variety of sheets in just minutes. That’s a massive improvement over having to wait for glue to set in its own time, and makes us not only faster and more agile, but also more versatile too.

Our retail display furniture customers will benefit from these improvements, as we continue to deliver the highest quality even more quickly. But we are also able to offer a bonding and pressing service in itself to those who require it.

Our simple adhesive spreaders can apply glue to both sides of a sheet in a single pass, and we can work with anything from MDF to chipboard, laminates to veneers – and everything in between. We can also supply a lot of these core materials: MDF, plywood, chipboard, and door blanks, as well as high pressure laminate (HPL) materials for bonding that’s more complex (such as Polyrey, Formica, Abet, and Egger).

If you are looking for a bonding and pressing service, get in touch with us via our contact form. We have the capacity to work with any number of sheets, of various sizes, which you can supply yourselves or purchase from us. We can also deliver you the finished product, right to your doorstep.

Posted in P2

P2 hits a high point in 2019 – and plans to climb even higher in 2020!

2019 has been a fantastic year for P2, seeing us go from strength to strength. As the holiday season approaches, we thought we’d fill you in on how we’ve grown over the past twelve months, and what our vision for the future is. We’re hoping that, as good as 2019 has been to us, 2020 will be even better!

2019 has seen us expand our workforce, adding valuable skills to the team including 2 new joiners and another computer-aided designer (CAD), who has helped us to ensure that our design capabilities stay at the cutting edge of the industry. In the New Year, we’ll be adding another CAD & Project Manager to help us manage our steadily growing workflow. We have also promoted from within, with one of our labourers becoming a CNC programmer and operator.

We hope to add another two joiners in 2020, boosting our capacity even further.

What’s driving our workforce’s expansion? Simple – a corresponding increase in the amount of work we’re taking on. In 2019, we’ve had repeat work from long-time clients (all very hush hush!), with builds in the likes of the newly refurbished JLP Peterborough, an iconic jeweller in London and Paris, as well as a luxury hotel in London. We’ve also won new contracts, with businesses within the travel retail sector.

As a reflection of this growth, we’re shifting our offices around. The reason is simple: we want to accommodate our bigger CAD and production offices. We’re also hoping to locate another suitable factory into which we can move our machine shop & Spray shop to create a bigger workshop. These facilities will be well stocked with a newly acquired heated press, drum sander, and (space permitting) a new CNC machine in 2020.

As you can see, 2019 has been 12 months of success for P2. We hope you’ve been as fortunate. After all this activity, even we need a break, so we’re closing up our offices at lunchtime on December 20th. But we’ll be back in the New Year, opening as normal from January 2nd. Until then, there’s only one thing left to do: wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Posted in P2

How to dress your store this holiday season

With Christmas just around the corner, retailers are gearing up for what will probably be their busiest few days of the year. At P2, we always find ourselves busy in October, November and December, helping shops design festive window and retail displays. And let us give you one piece of advice: as people take to the high street to find gifts for the people in their lives, you want to stand out. When footfall is at its highest, you do not want to fade into the background. Here are our four top tips to help your store dress to impress over the holidays:

Focus on lighting
Light is key to making displays work in winter, when afternoons and evenings get darker earlier. As Christmas approaches, you want to stick to traditional themes. That means soft glows lighting up your displays, reminding shoppers of nativity scenes and nights in front of a roaring fire. And it means miniature lights: stick with white or yellow for high-end displays that focus on traditional themes, or go multi-coloured if you’re looking for something fun.

Colour matters – and it’s easy to get right
When it comes to design, colour is a big deal. And because the iconography of Christmas is so well established, that’s doubly true this time of year. For the same reason, though, it’s easy to get your colour palette right at this time of year. Christmas has an established identity – stick with seasonal colours: think holly, ivy, Santa, and snow. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something more modern, you can take a colour palette from Christmas-themed movies… Frozen or Home Alone, anyone?

Use props to tell a story
Everyone knows that Christmas decorations are a major part of the season. That means trees and baubles, fairy lights, and Santa hats. But you can also use props to create a narrative experience through your store. That could be snowy footprints leading to Santa’s Grotto, a “Christmas Party” themed mannequin display, replete with Christmas jumpers and mistletoe, or something led by product. Whatever you decide to do, the key is this: make sure there’s a pay-off for the customer. Christmas 2019 will see the trend towards in-store experience increase, not die down.

Use signage to create Holiday messages
Guess what – now is the perfect time to use signage to your advantage. Christmas is probably the only time of year when you can guarantee that most of the people coming into your shop aren’t just looking for a product – they’re looking for inspiration. That means they are particularly receptive to targeted messages. You can use signs (suitably festive in appearance, of course) to literally tell people what to buy… and they’ll probably be thankful for it. So feel free to label that perfume “the scent she’s been waiting for” or describe this whisky as “What every dad wishes Christmas tasted like” – you’re doing them (and you) a favour.

All retailers that take themselves seriously will be making an effort over the next four weeks to look their best. The tips above should help you to keep up, but if you really want to stand out, it pays to get in an expert. At P2, we work tirelessly each Christmas to guarantee that our clients have the best-looking festive stores possible. If you’d like to join them, please get in touch with us on 01455 288 922.

What it takes to make it at P2

Whether it’s from prospective hires looking to join us, or new clients who want to find out what they can expect from our team, we often find ourselves being asked: ‘what makes a good employee at P2?’ This month, we thought we’d take the time to make that knowledge public, offering clear guidelines for new members of staff, and putting our best asset (the people we employ) front and centre. Some of those people have been with us since we first opened our doors nearly five years ago – so we must be doing something right when it comes to picking the cream of the crop!

The first and foremost quality we look for in any member of staff is an ability to problem-solve. We can teach people how to think about problems, but the problem-solving mindset is something a person has to supply themselves. Because our work often presents unique requirements (to showcase products in a certain way) under equally unique limitations like time scales and design restraints that are non-negotiable. As a rule of thumb, all our employees should be able to think of a minimum of two solutions when a problem presents itself. As a team, we then expect them to pool their resources if necessary and work towards the best solution.

Teamwork is not only important when solving customer problems. If you can’t function as part of a team, then you are fundamentally unsuited for life in a workshop. For this reason, we take collaborative skills very seriously, and insist that our employees are able to work well with others. But that doesn’t mean compromising on what makes you unique. Individuality is a key factor in P2’s business. By embracing what makes you unique, you open the door to finding original solutions.

There are certain strengths that are advantageous in any job – and at P2, we expect all our staff to embody them. It is essential, for example, that employees have a healthy work ethic, as shop fitting and retail display are not easy areas to work in. It’s equally important that our employees are reliable – our clients have tight turnarounds, and if we want to guarantee that we’ll meet them, we need every person to do their part. We also expect our staff to be disciplined everyone needs to do the right thing… even when no one is looking.

There are only two more qualities that we consider “must-haves”. The first is a benefit to joiners in any industry – an eye for detail. The devil, as they say, is in the detail… that’s where you’ll find what turns a good piece of work into a great one. We’re proud of every member of our team’s attention to detail and ability to notice things others might miss. And the second is, in some ways, the most-important: a desire to improve. P2 is its employees – if they’re all getting better day-by-day, then so is the business. We encourage our staff to be proactive in this regard, and use regular reviews to help people stay on track – but again, no one else can be ambitious on your behalf. We want employees that yearn to be the best.

If, after reading all that, you think you’ve got what it takes to work with P2, please keep an eye on our vacancies page – eventually, we’ll want to hear from you. And if you’re in the market for retail display furniture or shop fitting and like the sound of our team, give us a call on 01455 288 922 to see how we can help.

Oxfam’s new superstore is a clear example of retail’s continued evolution

This month, we saw the debut of something completely new on the retail landscape: the world’s first “charity superstore”. Oxfam’s new premises, situated on the outskirts of Oxford, is a bold new attempt to reinvigorate the charity retail sector, turning outdated perceptions of charity stores on their head. Will this particular evolution succeed? Only time will tell.

But a quick look around the store demonstrates what Oxfam sees as the future of retail: the space is about 12 times the size of Oxfam’s typical charity shops, and puts products on a pedestal. A long wall of display units draws the eye to Oxfam’s own branded merchandise ‘Sourced by Oxfam’ – an eco-friendly range that includes Fairtrade chocolate and coffee, Christmas cards, and bamboo coffee cups and lunchboxes.

Oxfam’s trading director, Andrew Horton, knows exactly what the charity is aiming for with its new property: “Our aim is for this to be an enjoyable and fun ‘destination’ shopping experience. Customers will be able to shop ethically, but we want this new store to have the wow factor. We want people to linger, to chat over coffee. We have a 10-year lease on this unit and if it is successful, we will roll it out in other locations.”

This idea – the idea of the retail “experience” – has become dominant on the high street over the past few years. That it is now being embraced by charity stores – typically, locations that eschew trends and sell themselves on principle and price – is a sign that the retail landscape has shifted dramatically. At P2, we have long catered to this “experience first” world: how you choose to lay out your store, how you curate displays, and how you enliven the customer experience.

But evolution doesn’t have an end point. Retail is evolving worldwide, as ecommerce platforms, social media, ethical concerns, and current fashions all intermingle to drive change. At P2, we keep up with that change – and we can help you to keep up too. If you’re planning a new product display, and need bespoke built units and guidance on how to use them to their greatest effect, contact P2 on 01455 288 922, or drop us a message via our contact form.

Department stores see first sales rise of the year

It’s good news for UK highstreets this month, as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that monthly retail sales have reversed a year-to-date trend and risen in July. Predictions were for a further decline of 0.2% – in fact, sales were 0.2% better than the same month last year.

The ONS was quick to highlight that growth overall was “only modest” – but department stores saw better-than average increases of 1.6%, largely down to clothing sales. Overall, ecommerce helped to boost statistics, as more Britons turned to their phones, tablets, and computers to finalise purchases.

For the quarter as a whole, retail sales growth came in 0.5% higher than the comparable quarter of 2018. However, when you look at online sales in isolation, that figure becomes 6.9%.

Rhian Murphy, the head of retail sales at the ONS, said: “Retail sales saw only modest growth in the last three months. Although still declining across the quarter, there was an increase in sales for department stores in July for the first time this year. Strong online sales growth on the month was driven by promotions.”

Gabriella Dickens, an assistant economist at Capital Economics, stresses that these figures are good news, despite their modesty. She told the BBC: “The rise in retail sales in July was encouraging and supports our view that the economy has picked up in [the third quarter]. Of course, the retail sector only makes up about 30% of total household spending. But spending growth off the High Street appears to have remained fairly steady. So, July’s figures leave us more confident that the economy avoided another contraction in Q3”.

With retail spending showing a slight increase, it’s important to ensure that products are displayed in the best way possible. For help with your display furniture and layout, give P2 a call on 01455 288 922.

Five retail display trends shaping retail spaces in the digital age

As digitisation continues to revolutionise retail, brick-and-mortar stores are evolving. The strong players in offline retail will continue to make their presence felt, even as more and more people buy their goods online. But to have a really good store today means rethinking the purpose behind it and amending your display space accordingly – here are five of the trends driving change, and how they can help you make sense of offline retail in an increasingly online world.

1 – It’s all about the sensory experience

You’ve probably heard about the importance of the “experience” but here is what it means: in a world where people can buy the same products online as they can offline, usually more easily and sometimes more cheaply, brick-and-mortar stores have to offer something different. That “something different” is an immersive experience that lets shoppers experience products with all their five senses – your displays have to make the most of the tactile and sensual elements of the products, which are still a vital element.

2 – Enable browsing, not just buying

The experience of shopping should be fun – and that means treating the transaction as a secondary element. You should be thinking about the way your customers will travel through your store, and using display spaces to create a uniquely curated experience. You can do this by creating different set-ups from your competitors, emphasising better product presentation, and offering the highest quality customer care. If you make your shop a fun place to be, your customers will be loyal to it.

3 – Be flexible in how you design retail spaces

If you want customers to keep coming back, you can’t leave the same displays up for months at a time. You should be using your space in novel ways, regularly shaking things up, and creating themed product presentations around curated collections. In some industries, that’s already the standard – but it will soon apply to all types of retail. Think about ways you can repurpose your display furniture and spaces, and don’t be afraid to try new things from time to time.

4 – Even offline should go online

As digitisation creeps into the physical world, your store will have to follow suit. That means connecting the digital space with the analogue space – using connectivity (does your store have free WiFi?), showcasing your displays on social media (time to get that Instagram account going), enabling omnichannel retail (have you thought about fitting out your displays with a tablet?) and more. Your store shouldn’t be somewhere people go and find themselves cut off from the internet – it should offer something in addition to, or over and above, the online experience.

5 – Put your people in the spotlight, too

The focus on sensory experiences, fun, novelty, and added value all have one thing in common: they make the shopping experience more human. That means that your staff must move into the foreground, offering assistance navigating the beautiful spaces you’ve created. Every person you employ needs to be an expert at navigating the displays and presentations on offer, and also needs to be a customer-focussed person that has the willingness – and ability – to help. Without that human touch, even the best retail space will feel hollow.

If you need more help thinking through your next retail display, get in touch with us through our contact page. With years of experience, and a great track record, we can help you make your brick and mortar store truly competitive in the digital age.

Put quality first by working with P2

At P2, we put quality front and centre. How do we ensure we deliver this to our customers time after time? The simple answer is accreditation.

Accreditation offers a definitive guarantee that the people you employ offer a consistently high-quality service that meets the standards that are set by professional bodies. As a result, accreditation is essential at P2.

We pride ourselves on the consistent quality we deliver to clients. But we don’t expect people to take our word for it. That’s why we have earned and maintain a long list of industry accreditations – to offer you the peace of mind that comes from working with someone you can rely on.

Our accreditations:

  • CHAS: The authority for health & safety compliance, letting you know that our processes involve no unnecessary risk.
  • ISO 9001: The international standard for quality management, this accreditation demonstrates that we consistently provide products and services meeting customer expectations and regulatory requirements.
  • ISO 14001: This accreditation sets an international standard for effective environmental management systems, providing a framework for organisations to follow.
  • SafeContractor: SafeContractor offers a specially tailored health & safety accreditation that showcases alignment with SSIP requirements.
  • FSC: This certification guarantees all the timber used in our products is sustainably sourced from well-managed forests.
  • PEFC: PEFC certification is an additional demonstration of our commitment to sustainable timber, responsibly sourced.

As you can see from the above, there are a number of elements in this industry where proper accreditation is necessary to ensure that clients don’t get let down on safety, quality, or ethicality. Using a business that meets the standards of the accreditation bodies above guarantees you are working with legitimate contractors. And because the world continues to evolve, so does accreditation. At P2, we’re continuing to work towards a number of new accreditations in the near future that will offer our clients yet more assurance.

If you would like to work with a bespoke retail display furniture supplier who not only has photos and glowing testimonials to show you, but also official documentation that their work consistently meets high international standards, feel free to drop us a line via the details on our contact page.

P2 celebrates its fourth successful manufacturing year!

We started this year bigger and better than ever before, with more than 10,000 square feet of manufacturing and storage space, a development team with 2D and 3D capabilities, a project management team, and site teams that cover the whole of the UK, Ireland, and Europe.

P2 Retail Displays has been manufacturing for four years! It’s hard to believe that it was so long ago that directors Adam Phillips & Chris Pitcher (P2’s two ‘P’s) set out with two joiners to get the company up and running. Growth came slowly at first, but soon sped up. We added two more joiners, then another four, along with new equipment like a CNC & Edgebander in our first year alone.

By the end of our second year, we’d added two CAD developers and hired Adam Cooper as head of projects (a hire that, at the risk of embarrassing him, is still paying dividends today), and we’d outgrown our original set up, doubling the space to make way for the spray shop (now, an integral part of our business). It was also in our second year of manufacturing that we achieved the ISO 9001 & 14001, Chas, and safe contractor certifications.

Year three was another year of expansion, and we added yet more joiners along with something totally new: our first 3D developer. Later in that year, we also added a new head of development, and invested in greater automation in the machine shop. We also bought a new state of the art spindle moulder, drum sander and panel lifter.

In year four, we added a second 3D developer, a production manager and a site foreman and invested in a wide array of new equipment, such as a thickness planer, surface planer, rip saw, and overhead routers.

We’ve faced challenges in recent years: general elections, Brexit, and the so-called “death of the high street” – but it’s a testament to our 30 members of staff that these headwinds have spurred us on to ever greater service levels, letting us continue to grow and develop into a truly market-leading company.

P2’s evolution over the last four years has been incredible, and we now work with not only some of the world’s largest retail brands, but also its most iconic hotels, restaurants, and even museums! What comes next?

According to P2’s Head of Projects, Adam Cooper, the company is not one to “stand still” and yet more expansion is waiting around the corner. With a future he describes as “exciting” hovering on the horizon, our targets are set on continuing this incredible manufacturing growth story into a fifth year and beyond!