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How to Make an Aisle End Cap Display that Drives Sales

  • book T-ROC Staff
  • calendar Jun 4, 2020
  • clock 8 mins read



The Aisle End Cap: An end-to-end look at doing it right

Merchandising takes many forms, however, few have more potential to impact brand identity and product sales than the tried-and-true end cap. After all, in your average store, customers find themselves shopping aisle after aisle that look very much the same. Sure, there might be some colorful signage or graphic elements in place to promote special sale items or new products, but, for the most part, an aisle is an aisle.

However, that display space at end of an aisle – now that’s an opportunity for merchandising programs to shine. It’s also one that’s not always used as effectively as it could be by brand owners and retailers. End caps are an ideal place to introduce your customers to new products, market that big sale or seasonal brand offer, and even move those hard-to-sell items more effectively.

Don’t view the end cap as just a display at the end of an aisle. It’s much more than another place to fill with product. It’s a place to feature your biggest marketing ideas and to build your most dazzling displays. End caps are one of the best on-site sales tools a store has, and, they don’t cost a fortune to implement or optimize.

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Ends caps for sale: pure profit centers

One of the ways retailers and store operators boost revenue from end caps is to sell these displays directly to a brand or supplier. Once an end cap is sold, the brand or supplier becomes the primary merchandiser and assumes the responsibility for stocking products, creating eye-catching displays, and maintaining the end cap’s appearance. In other words, as a retailer, you generate added revenue without doing adding any more work.

On occasion, the brand or supplier who buys your end cap won’t find themselves in a position to maintain it. In this case, you might agree that if the buyer provides the product inventory, your store staff will create and maintain a visually compelling display. Of course, you will be compensated for the extra work!

End cap displays are a key component of effective store merchandising. However, end caps are only part of a great retail management equation. Ready to explore the whole enchilada of merchandising and sales?

For the purposes of this article, let’s assume that you’re the one solely responsible for all the end caps in your store. You’re going to want to get the most out of them because a great end cap can lead to big sales. However, an end cap that’s not done right is a lost opportunity and, worse, a wasted investment in time and money.

Remember, the whole point of an end cap is to catch the eye of customers browsing through the store, stop them in their tracks, and get them to explore products they most likely didn’t come to purchase. It’s about generating instant interest and converting shoppers into product purchasers on the spot.

So how do you get the most out of an end cap display? What follows are a few tips for a little end cap inspiration. Some many seem obvious. Others, however, might surprise you. All of them will help you produce more attention-getting endcaps, more impactful product displays, and more new sales. 

Use the end cap as an aisle preview

Endcaps are a great way to lead customers down an aisle. For example, a grocery store might feature a sale on its own brand of cola with a striking display that sits at the end of the soft drink aisle. Suddenly, the store’s brand becomes a featured option for customers who might have come to pick up a different cola brand. If the offer and end cap are compelling enough, maybe that customer bites. However, even if the customer doesn’t choose the grocer’s cola, he or she is pointed to the soft drink aisle, which adds convenience to the shopping experience.

Create a themed end cap

Themes are a great way to make an end cap stand out. They’re also a great way to group related items together. Let’s go back to our grocer as an example. When spring is in the air and everyone is eager to get back outdoors, they might want to create an end cap dedicated to the backyard barbecue? It could feature soft drinks, chips, baked beans, charcoal, coolers – any products that a customer might need to get ready for a family barbecue. Discount a few of the items for added impact and wrap it all up with a great display, and you’ve got a winning combination that’s sure to get attention, while reminding customers to stock up on springtime essentials. End caps are made for cross merchandising, so take full advantage of the possibilities.

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End caps used to promote products from a specific brand

Whether it’s your own brand or one that’s carried in your store, devoting an entire end cap to a number of different products from a single brand is great marketing. It introduces customers to products beyond the top sellers, and invites them to explore new options from a brand they already trust. These impulse buys are a sure-fire way to extend brand awareness and boost sales. 

Remember who you are? Because that’s who you’re end cap should reflect

What about the design of your end cap? These days there are virtually no limits to what you can build, beyond how much space you have and how much you’re willing to invest in design. But whatever you create, make sure your end cap reflects the voice, look, feel and persona of the brand. If you’re colorful, be colorful. If you’re a futuristic technology company, look the part. If you’re a value-driven brand, make sure your end cap evokes it when customers walk past.

Think like an artist

Remember an end cap isn’t there to simply shelve product. It’s there to entice customers and get them to engage. End caps are an opportunity to think beyond the aisle and create a display that is fun, exciting, fascinating, and impossible to ignore. Maybe it’s an oversized image or cut out display? Maybe it’s a crazy way to stack products? It could be a display that features moving parts or three-dimensional images. The point is, if an end cap winds up looking like just another typical aisle, then you’re not being nearly creative enough. Remember, your job here is to turn heads. So, go for it! 

Consider incorporating digital technology

Taking advantage of new advancements in digital technology is a great way to stop customers in their tracks. Whether it’s a high-definition video display showcasing the latest smartphone, or a touchscreen-enabled end cap that allows shoppers to explore different options, models, colors, or uses for a product, the digital age is here and it’s definitely having a big impact on store merchandising. Retailers are seeing the end cap with a full range of new possibilities that just weren’t available in years past.

You’ll find some great examples of these end cap tips being used by brands and retailers in an article by Kristen Wiley of Statusphere. 

The end cap is just one component of great store merchandising

While certainly among the more interesting and artful aspects of merchandising, end cap displays aren’t the only important sales influencers inside your stores. If you found this article helpful, you might find it interesting to dig deeper into the many aspects of effective retail merchandising and management – consumer insights, recruiting and staffing, customer engagement programs, leveraging digital retail technologies, and more.

A good place to start is by exploring the end-to-end retail management services of The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC). You can learn more at To keep with the latest news and happenings in the retail industry, subscribe to T-ROC blogs.

For now, we’ll leave you with one final thought about creating an end cap that works. Above all else, be creative and have fun with your display. Because if you think it looks and feels great, chances are your customers will, too.

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TROC is the leading provider of premier staffing outsource, software, managed technology services, and consumer insights for the top global brands, retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and distributors. The company’s distinctive solutions address the entire lifecycle of brick and mortar brand and retail operations by combining retail expertise, best practices, and technology to help its customers achieve sales and operational excellence as well as a sustainable competitive advantage. As a Retail 4.0 thought leader, T-ROC enables companies with high-value products in the physical world to thrive through the digitalization of the physical shopping experience. To learn more about T-ROC, visit

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