A Commitment to Solar Power Pays Dividends

Solar Roof - Great Northern Instore

In 2010, Rich Carrigan, then President of United Displaycraft, decided to take on a significant energy conservation initiative by implementing a solar array installation at its manufacturing facility in Des Plaines, IL. The solar solution was easy, maintenance-free, and provided such a quick return on investment that he decided to ‘double-down’ and expand capability in 2014. It was the largest solar array installation in the state of Illinois. The investment in solar has paid for itself multiple times over. Read More…

Learn about trends and insights from Back to School 2017 with Great Northern Instore

Great Northern Instore has completed our third annual audit of Back to School executions at retail. We utilized our Instore Vision app to collect data at over three dozen stores in the mass, grocery, drug and office supply channels across the country.

We recently hosted a webinar to share our findings with you. Here is the link to the recording of the webinar:

Back to School 2017 Webinar Recording

Or you can download the white paper in our Shopper Insights Library.



Great Northern Announces May Excellence Award Winner

Great Northern Instore is excited to announce that the winner of the May Instore Excellence Award is our Racine facility for the Purina “Ammonia Blocker” half and quarter pallet merchandisers.

The Instore Excellence Award is an internal competition between Great Northern Instore creative teams. Creative team designers and engineers are experts in concept development, ensuring creative and practical solutions that fit seamlessly into the retail environment.

The Racine team was challenged to create an engaging design that included dimensionality and possible interactivity to quickly communicate the “protective nature” of the odor blocking product.

The end result were merchandisers that create powerful in-store presence through the use of focused graphics and bright color. The Ammonia Blocker silver graphic, a printed clear vinyl shield and dimensional litter box were centrally located for maximum exposure and consumer engagement.

Great Northern Instore Given Top Performance Award

Keurig Green Mountain has awarded Great Northern Instore a Top Performance Award during their second annual Supplier Recognition Awards. A Top Performance Award is given based on high scores in quality, innovation, service and delivery, cost, and supply chain sustainability. Keurig Green Mountain cited Great Northern Instore’s strong performance during the onboarding of several new display projects with incredibly tight time frames. There have been no reported quality issues.

Read more about the award here


Great Northern Instore Announces August Instore Excellence Award

APPLETON, WI., September 29, 2016 –  Great Northern Instore is excited to announce that the winner of the August Instore Excellence Award is our Chippewa Falls/Swedesboro team for Bai All Natural Drinks.

The Instore Excellence Award is an internal competition between Great Northern Instore creative teams. Creative team designers and engineers are experts in concept development, ensuring creative and practical solutions that fit seamlessly into the retail environment.

The Chippewa Falls/Swedesboro team was challenged to create a family of hutches/case stackers that minimized the number of displays and maximized the number of configurations of product sold at retail. The displays needed to be structurally sound and easily assembled in store.

The team’s solution included four displays that maintained brand consistency throughout all four designs. The designs are upscale and clean, with 100% litho graphics. This was also the first project to use the patent pending, QuickSet™ Hutch as part of a full-fledged CPG rollout. In a matter of 90 days, Chippewa Falls/Swedesboro designed and produced over 15,000 turnkey displays!


Congratulations to the Great Northern Instore Chippewa Falls/Swedesboro Team!

Design of the Times Award Winners

Gold Award Winners

hot-wheels-make-it-epic-qp-dump-bin_-no-background Hot Wheels “MAKE IT EPIC” Dump Bin

This bin is a high impact merchandising destination, designed to drive impulse purchases of Hot Wheels™ cars, track sets and other track building components. The dramatic oversize track and bold colors of this display create a beacon for the targeted audience. The inclusion of actual track pieces around the bin created an additional level of excitement at retail.

pepsi-super-bowl-tower-display Pepsi Superbowl 50 Spanner

This themed merchandising vehicle promoted the purchase of cased and single serve Pepsi product, while reinforcing the company’s longstanding sponsorship of the event. The display is over 8 feet tall with an open area between the towers to create a dramatic focal point for the product. Elements of the spanner structure are pre-assembled to ease in-store execution.


Silver Award Winners

logitech-2 Logitech PC Gaming and Color Collection Pallet 

This compelling display program for Staples Canada, featured two completely different product lines while maintaining a visual link identifying they are both from the same product company. The display uses its unique shape and bright colors to command consumer attention.

The playfulness of the yellow along with the pattern characters create a strong visual hook, while the rich black and electric blue combination gives this segment the high end techy look that Logitech is known for.

 speck Speck Floor Display

This display is two sided shoppable and uses bright colors to attract the consumers attention. Consumers are able to touch and feel the product in the top demo areas, which also highlight product attributes. Product is secured using retractable tethers to ensure security. The Speck displays ship pre-packed, increasing execution at retail.

endcap Logitech Office Depot Endcap

This unique, curving display attracts customer attention with bright product graphics, large billboard messaging, and a demo area that showcases the product. The endcap was placed at the front of stores, stopping consumers at the beginning of their shopping trip. The different structure style and clear messaging caught consumers eye and sales went up over 84% from previous promotions.

Bronze Award Winners

no-background_-kickstart-saddle-display Mountain Dew Kickstart Cooler Saddle 

This design created a larger and more compelling in-store presence for existing freestanding cooler units, particularly the ones merchandising the Kickstart brand. The “Saddle” merchandiser is the first of its kind in the beverage category. With mobile cooler displays being overlooked due to their low height, this display uses unique colors and LED lights to command the consumer’s attention and increase visibility.

pepsi_dump-bin-no-background Pepsi Emoji Campaign Merchandisers

This family of impactful merchandisers were designed for placement into nationwide retail environments to entice the purchase of Pepsi’s new Emoji covered 20oz bottles. Four merchandisers were developed for the program- two floor displays and two dump bin configurations. These units were specifically engineered for mass, drug, grocery and “C” store channels. Additionally, all of the designs provide some level of enhanced product visibility. The round floor stand provides 360 degrees of merchandising, while the square dump bin utilizes a clear front panel to improve product awareness and availability.

logitech1 Logitech Office Depot Pallet 

This Logitech pallet has foam core headers and backwalls, is adjustable based on product and can be run with a variety of graphics. 1,600 of these were run for Office Depot, which came fully loaded to stores. The dual sided shoppability, along with the ease of set-up made this a retail and shopper success.

Back to School Audits and Insights with Great Northern Instore

Great Northern Instore has completed its second annual audit of Back to School executions at retail.  Our mission states “We help our customers win by doing what others can’t or won’t.”  This includes providing timely insights into what is happening at retail.  With Back to School being the #2 sales season for retail, following holiday, it is important to understand the landscape.

The Landscape

The big retailers are all talking about “seamless shopping” or frictionless shopping.”  Walmart is bringing this to life instore with large, simple signs that are black-and-white (see photo below), utilizing simple fonts and icons (vs. lifestyle photographs).

Millennials are also the focus; and they are very budget conscious…a product of the great recession and our subsequent slow economic growth.  Finally, NRF’s 2016 survey shows that this year will be a strong sales year for Back to School (and it trends hold, 2017 will be down).  As far as where people will be shopping for back to school, there were no surprises that Mass / Discount is the primary destination and that online is growing.  It was surprising to see that Office Stores and Drug are two channels that could see growth in traffic this year.

Our Audit Focuses on Insights
This is a key season for retailers, built on a very specific trip mission:  for a parent to get all the necessary items for their children to start the school year on the right foot.  Who doesn’t want their child to succeed?  Surprisingly, our audits showed most retailers only evolved slightly from their 2015 campaigns.  Staples was a notable exception, completely transforming their experience.







The macro trend of authenticity was very apparent.  Without a major license this season (who doesn’t remember Minions last year), companies focused on various cause marketing efforts, supporting the donation of supplies to those that need them.

Echoing back to frictionless shopping; vehicles made sure shoppers could easily navigate their way to find the items on their lists (and hopefully a few more).  Windows on dump bins; color coding; bold, giant product images and logos were all used to help call out items.  And while there, savings messages helped close the deal.

Or course, it doesn’t stop at observations.  Our talented team of designers is ready to translate these insights into executions that will help you win Back to School 2017 (really, we’re already thinking about that).

More Shopper Insights:

What is Shopper Marketing?

Holiday Audits and Insights 

Retail Holiday Insights 

Great Expectations

Great Expectations is more than a tagline, it is an attitude. At Great Northern, customer challenges are met by an undying spirit to doing what others can’t or won’t. It’s in our DNA. And it is what our customers have come to expect with Great Northern.

How can we exceed your expectations?