Global Shop – The problem with power

March 29, 2006 by Dave Haynes

Well it is over, and if I never again have to help tear down a booth after a show, that's just fine.

Day Three was by far the slowest of the three, so if you are planning to go next year (think it is back in Lost Wages), plan to do other stuff on the Monday and avoid the crowds.

My big takeaway on this show was that the store design and fixture people who were here were almost exclusively interested in the shelf-edge and end cap solutions (particularly interactive or reactive) – with few asking about networked solutions. Now a lot of that has to do with the visual merchandising bent of the crowd. There were certainly people here and there asking about private networks for stores, but if I had a digital sign booth just focused on that stuff, it was probably pretty slow.

The thing that came up over and over again – the absence of power at the store shelf. It is a huge issue, and while there are some creative ways to get low voltage power through phone and network cables, they're still wires that have to be dropped down from ceilings in stores with very few support columns. New stores have power at the gondola, but the great majority of retail does not.

A few guys were peddling battery operated displays, but those will stay on for a day or so unless the battery pack is the size of a dishwasher. The premise that store staff can be trained to plug rechargeable battery packs in at night is pretty much wishful thinking. Retail ops guys would roll their eyes.

If someone figures this battery thing out for in store displays, the digital sign and visual merchading people will be all over them.

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