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Acrylic: pros and cons
Acrylic is probably the most popular substrate for permanent in-store free-standing displays, counter displays, and brochure holders. There are definitely some draw-backs, being first and foremost, the brittleness of the product. The material has great structural strength keeping it straight/upright...more
Solid Substrates for Solid Displays
As display designers and manufacturers, we are often set challenging briefs by our clients. Balancing the issues of function, form and cost can be close to impossible at times. A reasonable number of these challenges arise when clients desire some 'body' or substance to their displays. That is, they...more
Fine Food 2012 – An Engaging Experience
Online sourcing, emailed newsletters/trade journals, and targeted search-related advertising have all put pressure on the traditional trade show model, and it's no surprise that many long running trade shows in Australia are struggling (Retail Expo, anyone??) One trade show that continually buck...more
2012 POPAI Awards - Our Favourites
The annual POPAI awards for 2012 were held at a gala event in Sydney last week. This years awards saw the largest amount of entries from across the marketing at retail spectrum, with those from members and non-members being accepted for the first time. The result was an impressive array of entries f...more
What’s behind the Cross-Merchandising trend?
Supermarkets around the world are embracing cross-merchandising. First, let's look at what it is in a supermarket-context. Cross-merchandising is when you sell one product with a complimentary product from a different category. A perfect example is salsa, fresh avocados, limes, spanish onions an...more
Loblaws named world’s best supermarket
London-based retail consultancy Echo Chamber ( has named Loblaws as the world's best supermarket. Partner and renown presenter (entertainer?) Howard Saunders says: 'This brand new Loblaws in Toronto makes the design of the mighty Eataly look pedestrian and begs the questi...more
Lessons from a chicken shop
Since returning from the Westfield tour I have been paying particular attention to how much Australian retailers tend to spend on their store fit out and how that impacts getting people through the door. Now I have no scientific methods or masses of data to back my conclusion up, but the answers ...more
Making the product the feature of Point of Purchase Displays
Too often in a bid for a stand-out campaign, justified on the basis that the display's first goal is to be 'eye-catching', the product itself is lost in the execution. Whilst it's important that the Point of Sale Display designer is innovative and creative, it's unlikely that they will surpass the i...more
The Retail Killer? Insights from a World Retail Study Tour – P
Without any doubt, the most widely asked question, or variation thereof to all the presenters we saw on the Westfield World Retail Study Tour was ‘How do you see e-commerce impacting on your business/the industry?” The answers were fairly narrow in their responses too and “Itâ...more
M-Commerce – It’s All About Location
Most retailers know they need to take advantage of the amazing trends in mobile commerce. They instinctively understand that smart phones in the hands of their shoppers can be either a huge threat or a huge opportunity, but determining which one depends on the retailer embracing the technology. The ...more
The complete package of retail services: a report from the field
REPORT FROM TONY GRIFFITHS (MILLS ACCOUNT MANAGER in QLD): "I’ve attached some pictures of a recently completed Qld project, for a multicultural style convenience store and café/bar which we assisted with from the very beginning. I thought it would also be a good one to share, as it sho...more
Insights from a World Retail Tour – Part 2
Customer Service Portobello Mushrooms. That was the one ingredient I needed to complete the culinary masterpiece I was throwing together last week and also the one ingredient I was not able to get at the supermarket. So I went over to one of a smaller chain of stores, specializing in produce. Sur...more
Insights from a World Retail Tour – Part 1
Recently, I was fortunate enough to participate in the Westfield World Retail Study Tour, taking in the cities of Tokyo, New York, London, Paris and Milan. Along with 41 other tour participants, who represented the breadth of the Australian retail industry, I was able to see countless examples of...more
WAVFLO - the latest in shelf management solutions
WAVFLO is the very latest in shelf management solutions. Unlike current models on the market, WAVFLO is a complete system, including gravity fed, and pusher components. It means that on the same shelf, different solutions can be combined depending on the product characteristics. And the most excitin...more
Harbourside Market - Gold Coast's sophisticated gourmet food and
Harbourside Market in Gold Coast's Biggera Waters sets a precedent for a differentiated and culturally-rich shopping and dinning experience. Fine dinning restaurants and coffee houses will inject a new zest into the area, as Harbourside Market becomes the place to be and the place to be seen. The...more
Retail Consultant Analysis: WWs Majura Park
Today was written an analysis of Woolworths 2015 format store, Majura Park. The promo said: ShopAbility finds a lack of 'new news' in the 2015 format store; Woolworths' 'response to Coles'. (See the full article here.) To quote them, 'sure it was big, sure it was neat and tidy and well stocked' a...more
Security vs Promotion
These used to be mutually exclusive concepts. Either products could be secured or products could be promoted - but not both. As recently as a few years ago, batteries and razor cartridges were sold from behind the counter. It's hardly promoting a product when you go to the shelf to pick it up but al...more
Reduce Produce Spoilage with Banana Foam
In fresh produce, spoilage rates can present the largest single cost of goods, exceeding labour and even freight. Bananas, the most the popular produce item across Australia, are particularly prone to spoilage. Fast ripening bananas are one of the most visible and noticeable (in terms of smell) of f...more
Globalshop 2012
Globalshop Presentation Click on the above link to see a collection of the most interesting products we found at this year's Globalshop in Las Vegas. All in all, it was an excellent show, with many visitors and exhibitors calling it a concise summary of the more renown Euroshop. We definitely ...more
Mills plays pivotal role in NSW's biggest fridge controversy
Little did we know that the brouhaha between the Penrith Panthers and the NRL would draw us in. However, the key role the fridge has played in creating a bonanza of publicity for the Panthers' new major sponsor, and a very disappointed NRL and Telstra, has unwittingly made us a partner in the bigges...more
Pop-Up Retail
Consider 3 factors: the current retail rents in shopping centres the need for retailers to establish a fresh point of difference the nature of seasonal, opportunistic and limited-time promotions (think group buying sites, obsolete/surplus stock, and time-of-year activities) What turns the...more
Incredible Cardboard
POPAI, the worldwide association of manufacturers, agencies, FMCGs and Retailers dedicated to excellent in point-of-purchase marketing conducted it's annual award ceremony in Las Vegas this month. Over coming weeks we will showcase some of the more fantastic entries we witnessed at the awards, begin...more
Eco-friendly Melamine Range
Food service isn't what it used to be. Whilst chipped ceramics and gaudy plastic may have been acceptable in the past, modern food service products must achieve the difficult twin goals of making the food the main focus, whilst still being visually appealing and fresh in their own right. Delfin i...more
JB Hi-Fi delivers sales increase, profit decline
Whilst JB Hi-Fi would be disappointed that their stellar record of earnings growth has had a hiccup, their continued top-line sales growth is testament to the excellent offering and value the retail chain provides its loyal customers. JB' are pioneers of the 'cheap and cheerful' storedesign concept....more
Clik-clik: the world’s most economical and effective poster ha
Clik-clik in action (click here to view the demo on You Tube) Clik-clik is a revolutionary poster hanging system from Canada used throughout North America. It is now available in Australia exclusively through Mills Display. The system uses a pair of magnets and a simple grabbing mechanism on a li...more
Terminal 21 Shopping Centre
One of the world's most innovative and spectacular themed shopping centres opened recently in Bangkok. Themed floors include the Carribean, Paris (including streetscapes), London (including a mock Tube station), Tokyo (the Chatuchak market) as well as replicas of the Golden Gate Bridge and a lighth...more
Learning from Apple – Why we can’t
Many retail consultants point to the success of the Apple Stores as an example of the kind of thinking and changes which must take place for many retailers to survive. The problem is, few people if anyone really know why Apple Stores are a success. Pricing? Apple products are expensive compared to c...more
Supa IGA Footscray – unlike any other supermarket
Supa IGA Footscray opened in January after one of the most elaborate renovations of any independent supermarket in Victoria, EVER! Not content with a state-of-the-art continental deli with produce from around the world, and a market-style fresh produce section complete, the cherry on the cake has to...more
Comparing Coles and Woolworths
Obviously both Coles and Woolworths have reported very strong results in the circumstances of inclement weather, deflation and a poor economy. Woolworths continue to grow with 25 new stores opening, and Coles have achieved continued comparable store on store growth. They use different metrics (exclu...more
Dick Smith on the market
Everyone knows how tough it is in retail at the moment, and few would be surprised by Woolworths' decision to exit the Dick Smith business. Nevertheless, Dick Smith could hardly be regarded as a basket case. The stores look fantastic*, the product range is excellent, and the service is generally ver...more
Display Fittings Explained
Display fittings are all the items in store which makes merchandise scream ‘buy me!’ It should be practical, efficient and let the product do the talking. It should fill the space but not clutter. It should align with retail design and strategy and ensure merchandise remains the hero. Di...more
Las Vegas 2013. Touch Me, Swipe Me, Pinch Me or Leave Me
Steve Jobs and Apple have given a lot to the world, none of which is going to be re-covered here. Of all the great things they have done though, that which will have the biggest impact on retail environments is surely how people now interact with products. Touch, swipe and pinch have become so i...more
Digital Printing
Digital printing, especially wide format digital printing has continued to encroach on screen printing’s traditional purview. As ink costs fall, machines get faster for less capital outlay, the minimum run sizes before screen becomes economical continues to rise. Digital printing is based ...more
Display Rack
A good display rack is durable, functional and minimalist. Most commonly utilised in fashion outlets, display racks are freestanding displays, usually movable and often modular. Display racks refers to the racks fitted inside retail environments that are used to ensure the retail space is fully ...more
Pricing guns
Pricing guns are used by retailers to ensure their products are priced correctly, and they are essential to the success of a retailer’s business. Pricing guns label products with price stickers that generally dispense stickers from a roll. Pricing guns are a speedy way of marking items or re-m...more
Card Holders
Card holders are used by retailers to ensure their products are labelled correctly and are an essential product in the retail industry. Card holders are usually plastic or acrylic and can stand on their own to be displayed in any retail environment.  Card holders can come in a variety of sizes ...more
Plastic Fabrication
Plastic fabrication is the supply of plastic fittings for retailers, and can range from a range of plastic materials including acrylic for brochure displays to display racks in store. Plastic fabrication is usually used by retailers for all their shop fitting needs and can often be customised at the...more
Food Presentation
Food presentation is they key ingredient to retailing food (apart from the food itself, of course!) Always let the food be the hero, and the displays should never detract attention from the product. That doesn't mean the food presentation displays don't need to be durable, functional and vis...more