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Publication numberUS20030160060 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/342,127
Publication dateAug 28, 2003
Filing dateJan 14, 2003
Priority dateJan 14, 2002
Publication number10342127, 342127, US 2003/0160060 A1, US 2003/160060 A1, US 20030160060 A1, US 20030160060A1, US 2003160060 A1, US 2003160060A1, US-A1-20030160060, US-A1-2003160060, US2003/0160060A1, US2003/160060A1, US20030160060 A1, US20030160060A1, US2003160060 A1, US2003160060A1
InventorsRichard Hornblad, James Wiemer
Original AssigneeDci Marketing, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Merchandising system
US 20030160060 A1
Abstract
Systems and methods for merchandising products are disclosed. A merchandising system for containers of consumer product such as food stuffs, the containers each having a body and a feature, includes a base configured to be coupled to a structure with a non-invasive fastener, and a first retainer and a second retainer each selectively coupled to the base. Each retainer comprising a pair of opposed projections configured to retain the container duct. The pair of opposed projections forms an opening through which containers are received and retained by the pair or projections.
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Claims(25)
What is claimed is:
1. A merchandising system for containers of consumer product such as food stuffs, the containers each having a body and a feature, the merchandising system comprising:
a base configured to be coupled to a structure with a non-invasive fastener; and
a first retainer and a second retainer each selectively coupled to the base, each retainer comprising a pair of opposed projections configured to retain the container duct;
wherein the pair of opposed projections forms an opening through which containers are received and retained by the pair or projections.
2. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the first retainer and second retainer comprise clips.
3. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the opposed projections comprise flexible members.
4. The merchandising system of claim 3 wherein the opposed projections comprises a plastic material.
5. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the opposed projections comprise curved members.
6. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the opposed projections are configured to retain the container with a holding force developed by a spring action of the pair of opposed projections when a container is inserted into the retainer.
7. The merchandising system of claim 1 further comprising:
a first aperture provided in the base; and
a first pair of prongs provided on the first retainer configured to fit through the first aperture and selectively couple the first retainer with the base.
8. The merchandising system of claim 7 further comprising:
a second aperture provided in the base; and
a second pair of prongs provided on the first retainer configured to fit through the second aperture and selectively couple the first retainer with the base.
9. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the base is configured to be coupled to the structure in a substantially vertical orientation, and wherein the first and second retainers selectively retain containers at an angle inclined relative to vertical.
10. The merchandising system of claim 9 wherein the angle is between 15 and 75 degrees.
11. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the first and second retainers are configured to retain containers at the feature of the container.
12. The merchandising system of claim 11 wherein the feature of the container is at least one of a concave portion, a neck, and a necked down portion.
13. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the non-invasive fastener comprises a suction cup.
14. The merchandising system of claim 1 wherein the structure is at least one of a wall, a glass surface, a shelf and another merchandising system.
15. The merchandising system of claim 1 further comprising a treatment provided on an inside portion of the pair of projections, wherein the treatment is configured to provided enhanced gripping of the containers.
16. A display for presenting and storing product containers, the display comprising:
a base;
a first clip removably coupled to the base;
a second clip removably coupled to the base;
wherein the first clip and the second clip are each configured to selectively secure product containers;
wherein the first clip and the second clip are each configured to selectively couple substantially around the product container.
17. The display of claim 16 wherein the first clip and the second clip each further comprise:
a first arm portion; and
a second arm portion;
wherein the product container may be selectively secured to the clip by placing the product container through an opening between the first arm portion and the second arm portion.
18. The display of claim 17 wherein the product container selectively secured to the clip further comprises the first arm portion being provided on a side of the product container, and the second arm portion being provided on an opposite side of the product container.
19. The display of claim 17 wherein the first arm portion further comprises a first flange provided on an end of the first arm portion and the second arm portion further comprises a second flange provided on an end of the second arm portion.
20. The display of claim 16 further comprising a first interface provided between the base and first clip and a second interface provided between the base and the second clip.
21. The display of claim 20 wherein the first interface is provided on the first clip and the second interface is provided on the second clip.
22. The display of claim 21 wherein the first interface comprises at least one set of prongs and the second interface comprises at least one set of prongs.
23. An apparatus for displaying and storing product containers on a structure, the apparatus comprising:
means for supporting a product container;
a base selectively coupled to the means for supporting the product container; and
means for selectively coupling the base to the structure;
wherein the means for supporting the product container is configured to selectively retain and display the product container;
wherein the means for supporting the product container is configured to selectively couple substantially around the product container.
24. The apparatus of claim 23 wherein the means for supporting a product container comprises a clip.
25. The apparatus of claim 23 wherein means for selectively coupling the base to the structure further comprises a suction cup.
Description
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0022] Referring to FIGS. 1-9, various exemplary and alternative embodiments of a merchandising system (e.g., display system, rack, etc.) are shown.

[0023] Referring to FIG. 1, a merchandising system 10 comprises a base 20 and a support or retainer (shown as support 40). Base 20 (e.g. support structure, mounting structure, frame, backing, backing board, etc.) may have a generally flat or planar construction. Base 20 may include several rounded or curved portions 22. According to alternative embodiments, the base may be fashioned in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, profiles and configurations.

[0024] As shown in FIG. 1, base 20 interfaces, couples or otherwise attaches with support 40 via at least one aperture 24 (e.g., opening) provided in base 20. Aperture 24 is sized to allow prongs 42 on support 40 to pass through aperture 24. Aperture 24 is sufficiently small such that projections or points 44 on prongs 42 will secure support 40 to base 20. (See FIGS. 7 and 8.) According to a particularly preferred embodiment, two apertures are provided as a pair or set associated with each support 40. According to an alternative embodiment, one or two or more apertures may be associated with a support.

[0025] Apertures 24 may be provided in a variety of locations and configurations to allow flexibility in the display, orientation, and configuration of displayed products and product containers. The merchandising system may be provided in one or more units or separate modules which may have identical, similar or differing configurations or arrangements. According to any preferred embodiment, each unit will provide a base and at least one support for at least one product. (Similar or different products may be merchandised within a single unit or module or multiple units or modules.)

[0026] Base 20 provides sufficient rigidity and strength to support the weight of various product containers (such as snack food canisters) in addition to the forces associated with stocking, removing product, etc. According to a particularly preferred embodiment, base 20 is constructed from a rigid plastic. According to various alternative embodiments, materials such as wood, plastic, polymers, steel, metals, metal alloys, aluminum, composite, etc. may be used.

[0027] As shown in FIG. 1, base 20 also comprises one or more fasteners 26 for attaching, supporting or coupling merchandising system 10 to other merchandising systems or structures (including conventional or other types of articles or structures within a retail establishment such as walls, doors, shelves, racks, etc.). Fasteners 26 are shown as non-invasive fasteners such as suction cups, but according to alternative embodiments, may be hangers, bolts, mechanical fasteners, tie-straps, adhesives, clips, etc. Suction cups are advantageous in coupling merchandising system 10 to a surface such as a glass door 18 shown in FIG. 1.

[0028] According to various exemplary embodiments shown in the FIGURES, a merchandising system may be attached, coupled, or otherwise associated with a variety of structures such as support structures including existing merchandising systems. For example, merchandising system 10 may be coupled to an existing shelving system. As shown in FIG. 9, a merchandising system 200 may be coupled to a rotating or spinning display 16. According to other alternative embodiments, a merchandising system may be coupled to a cooler or refrigerated unit (including a glass surface or glass door on the cooler) or may be associated with the side of a shelving unit using fasteners including tie-straps.

[0029] As shown in FIG. 1, fastener 26 couples or coacts with base 20 via aperture 28. According to a particularly preferred embodiment, aperture 28 has a key-hole shape or configuration. For example, aperture 28 has a first larger opening 28 a and a second, smaller opening 28 b located above first opening 28 a.

[0030] Opening 28 a allows a head of fastener 26 to pass through. Opening 28 b is large enough to allow a smaller shaft of fastener 26 to pass through but small enough that the head of fastener 26 will not pass through. As shown in FIG. 1, two fasteners 26 are provided. According to alternative embodiments, one or two or more fasteners may be provided. Other fasteners may include hooks, glues, adhesives, screws, bolts, or other fasteners. According to another alternative embodiment, the fasteners may be configured to attach to a variety of surfaces or structures, such as glass surfaces, racks, shelves, rotatable displays, wire racks, coolers, brackets, frames, etc.

[0031] Base 20 may further comprise aperture 30 to further attach, couple, or otherwise associate the merchandising system with a support structure or other existing merchandising system. As shown in FIG. 1, aperture 30 is configured to receive a mechanical fastener (shown as screw 32).

[0032] The base may be mounted in any desired fashion. The base may be mounted to a wide variety of support structures. The base may be mounted to the support structure using fasteners such as screws, adhesives, bolts, other mechanical fasteners, etc. The base and the support structure should be sufficient to support the combined weight of the base, the supports, containers, product, and any other associated forces.

[0033] Merchandising system 10 further comprises support 40. Support 40 may be a clip, container holding apparatus, container support, support, hanger, grabber clip, shelf, sleeve, bracket, resilient clip, etc. According to a particularly preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 6, support 40 is a clip. One or more supports 40 may be provided to hold, grasp, or otherwise support container 12.

[0034] As shown in FIG. 7, support 40 may have an open portion 46, formed by arm portions 60 and 62, which receives, supports or holds container 12 (e.g., support 40 may be an open retainer). Support 40 further includes opening 48 for allowing the insertion of product into support 40. Flanges 50 extend outward from arm portions 60 and 62 to facilitate or redirect the insertion of container 12 into support 40. Flanges 50 redirect container 12 inwardly toward opening 48 of support 40, and facilitates container 12 being easily inserted into support 40 for retention and/or support. According to a particularly preferred embodiment, arm portions 60 and 62 fit around opposite sides of a product container body 19. According to an alternative embodiment, a treatment may be provided on an inside portion of the clips (e.g., on the arm portions) to enhance a gripping action on the product container. For example, the treatment may be materials such as low-tack or low-bond adhesives, rubber or elastomeric materials, etc. or other gripping structures such as protrusions, ribs, etc. or combinations of structures and materials.

[0035] According to the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the containers and/or product may be selectively coupled or attached to support 40 by inserting the container through the opening in the front of support 40. Support 40 can be made of a material sufficiently rigid to hold the container, but sufficiently pliable or resilient to allow easy insertion and removal of the container. The arrangement and configuration of the supports (e.g. clips) may be done to complement the shape and design of the product. For example, as shown in FIG. 8, supports 40 are arranged by staggering the clips such that a convex portion of one container fits within a concave portion of an adjacent container. This advantageously provides a reduction in the amount of space required for displaying product. Correspondingly, the number or amount of displayed product in a given amount of space may be increased.

[0036] According to a particularly preferred embodiment, container 12 is received and displayed in merchandising system 10 by pressing container 12 (such as a container or canister) into support 40. Arm portions 60 and 62 flex open to enlarge the opening between the arm portions. Once the opening is large enough to allow passage of container 12, container 12 is pushed into portion 46, arm portions 60 and 62 flex back and close, thereby retaining container 12 with, for example, a retaining force such as a spring action or other coaction between arm portions 60 and 62 and container 12. According to a particularly preferred embodiment, the support couples or coacts substantially around the product container (i.e., the support interfaces with more than half of the product container perimeter). According to alternative embodiments, the support may be a shelf or sleeve, and as such, product may be received on the merchandising system by placing product on the shelf or in the sleeve. According to a particularly preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 2, merchandising system 10 is configured to receive a semi-rigid container 12 having at least one feature (shown as a curved profile with a convex portion 84 and a concave portion 86). Concave portion 86 may also be a neck or a necked down portion of a container. Support 40 is sized and configured to support and retain container 12 around concave portion 86. Alternatively, the support may support and retain the container around other features and locations.

[0037] Support 40 can attach or couple to base 20 by inserting prong 42 through aperture 24. According to alternative embodiments, other fasteners such as glue, screws, adhesives, mechanical fasteners, etc., may also be used.

[0038] According to a particularly preferred embodiment, prong 42 includes two individual opposing members 52. (See FIG. 7.) Members 52 include an outwardly extending point or extension 44 to facilitate insertion into base 20, and upon insertion, hold support 40 in place. (See FIG. 8.) According to a particularly preferred embodiment, shown in FIG. 1, support 40 may be attached to base 20 by inserting prongs 42 through apertures 24. Prongs 42 may have sufficient elasticity such that they will flex inwardly when inserted into aperture 24, and flex outward, once sufficiently pushed in, such that prongs 42 retain support 40 (e.g. clip) in a retained position. In an exemplary embodiment, prongs 42 are pushed sufficiently far through the aperture such that points 44 engage on a back side of base 20. This allows supports 40 to be fully and easily inserted into base 20. However, a similar but opposite action will not allow supports 40 to be readily removed from base 20. According to a particularly preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 8, members 52 have an angled surface 72 to cause members to flex inwardly when prongs 42 are being inserted.

[0039] According to a particularly preferred embodiment, prongs 42 may be sufficiently spaced apart such that support 40 will not rotate after insertion. The distance between points 44 and a flat surface 74 on support 40 can be made to be approximately equal to the thickness of base 20 to further promote stability. Supports 40 may also be attached to base 20 using other fasteners including screws, adhesives, bolts, other mechanical fasteners, etc.

[0040] Support 40 may be made of a material that is sufficiently flexible to allow insertion and removal of product container. Alternatively, the support may be relatively rigid with respect to the product container. In an exemplary embodiment, the support is made of a polycarbonate material. According to alternative embodiments, a wide variety of material may be used including wood, plastic, polymers, steel, metals, metal alloys, aluminum, composite, etc.

[0041] According to further alternative embodiments, the support may have other shapes. For example, the support may be a square clip to hold square containers, etc. According to other alternative embodiments, the support may be a wide variety of other supports including shelves, sleeves, pins, racks, wire bins, other compliant or resilient structures clips, grips, other shapes or configurations to achieve a gripping or supporting effect, etc.

[0042] According to still further embodiments, any number and configurations of supports may be used in the merchandising system. For example, as shown in FIG. 1, four clips are arranged in a substantially vertical manner, with each clip being rotated such that the display product is rotated by approximately 45 degrees with respect to a vertical orientation. As shown in FIG. 9, six clips are arranged in a substantially vertical manner. Any number of supports, in vertical, horizontal, or other configurations and lay-outs may be used. Furthermore, the supports may be oriented in any number of angles, rotations, etc. Other configurations may be used to support the product. Additionally, other types of product retainers (e.g., bag clips, etc. shown schematically in FIG. 9 as clip 210) may be provided in combination with the merchandising systems shown.

[0043] It is also important to note that the construction and arrangement of the elements of the merchandising system as shown in the exemplary, preferred, and other alternative embodiments is illustrative only. Although only a few embodiments of the present inventions have been described in detail in this disclosure, those skilled in the art who review this disclosure will readily appreciate that many modifications are possible (e.g., variations in sizes, dimensions, structures, shapes and proportions of the various elements, values of parameters, mounting arrangements, use of materials, colors, orientations, etc.) without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages of the subject matter recited. For example, elements shown as integrally formed may be constructed of multiple parts or elements show as multiple parts may be integrally formed, the length or width of the structures and/or members, supports, bases, connections, or other elements of the system may be varied, the nature or number of adjustment positions provided between the elements may be varied (e.g. by variations in the number of supports, size of the supports, type of engagement between the base and support, or between the support and the container or product to be held). The elements and/or assemblies of the system may be constructed from any of a wide variety of materials that provide sufficient strength or durability, in any of a wide variety of colors, textures and combinations. The merchandising system may be used in association with a rotating apparatus, or alternatively other, fixed and nonmovable apparatus or any of a wide variety of other surfaces in any of a wide variety of other applications. Accordingly, all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the present inventions. Other substitutions, modifications, changes and omissions may be made in the design, operating conditions and arrangement of the preferred and other exemplary embodiments without departing from the spirit of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013]FIG. 1 is an exploded view of a merchandising system according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0014]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the merchandising system shown in FIG. 1.

[0015]FIG. 3 is a front elevation view of the merchandising system shown in FIG. 1.

[0016]FIG. 4 is a front elevation view of the merchandising system shown in FIG. 3 with the supports removed.

[0017]FIG. 5 is a rear elevation view of the merchandising system shown in FIG. 4.

[0018]FIG. 6 is a side elevation view of the merchandising system shown in FIG. 1.

[0019]FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a support for use with a merchandising system according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0020]FIG. 8 is a cross-section view of the merchandising system shown in FIG. 9, taken along the line 8-8.

[0021]FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a merchandising system according to an alternative embodiment.

BACKGROUND

[0002] The present invention relates to merchandising systems. The present invention further relates to merchandising systems for the merchandising of products and/or containers.

[0003] Products, and containers for those products, may be provided in a variety of shapes, weights, sizes, packaging configurations, and other configurations. Products, including food products, food stuffs, snacks, etc. may be provided in containers such as bags, boxes, canisters, tubes, etc. Alternatively, products, such as food products, may be provided in durable containers, formed containers, recloseable containers, etc. in an attempt to meet perceived needs of consumers, such as enhanced convenience.

[0004] For example, perceived needs may include variety in the packaging of food products and their containers, or design of packages that may address certain considerations such as cost, weight, size, protecting contents, convenient to store, stock, handle or carry, attractive to potential consumers, convenient for consumers, etc. It would be advantageous to provide merchandising systems which can accommodate such package designs, and furthermore provide that attributes of the package and/or contents are presented for sale or purchase in an advantageous manner, such as allowing flexibility of placement of the merchandising system, removability of both the merchandising system and a package from the merchandising system, providing goods near other complimentary goods, etc.

[0005] Different containers may be utilized for various uses. Examples may include containers for food products suitable for use at home, at the office, for packing in school lunches, or a wide variety of other uses. A container used in the home may not need to be very durable because it only needs to sit on a shelf and adequately contain the food. In such an instance, a bag may be used as a container. However, a container used for carrying product while moving around, packed away, etc. may need to be more durable. Product, such as food product, may be provided in a variety of containers which are more durable such as semi-rigid containers, plastic tubes, etc. It may be advantageous to provide a merchandising system which would display, merchandise, support, stock, etc. a wide variety of product containers.

[0006] In a retail or merchandising environment, such as a store, merchandising outlet, etc., there may be a limited amount of display space available for the display and merchandising of product and/or containers. For example, a grocery store may have limited shelf, floor, or other space available to display food products and/or containers. Therefore, it may also be advantageous to display products and/or containers in a relatively compact space, and not using shelf space.

[0007] Additionally, certain products associated with other complementary products may promote sales of one or both of the products, for example, snack foods and soda or other carbonated beverages. A customer purchasing snack foods may also decide at that moment to make a purchase of soda; and sales of soda may similarly lead to complimentary sales of snack foods. Physical association between two or more product sets or types may be beneficial to sales of one or both of the product sets. It may be advantageous to provide a merchandising system which would facilitate the association of two or more products. For example, soda coolers filled with drinks may be provided proximate to a cashier for last minute purchases. It would be advantageous to provide a merchandising system that could easily be used in conjunction with the drink coolers to prominently display product such as food products which may take advantage of last minute purchases.

[0008] It would be advantageous to provide a merchandising system which may provide for the presentation, storage and display of products and their containers. It would further be advantageous to provide a merchandising system which may be arranged or configured to associate products with, in or near a merchandising or display system for complementary products which may promote sales of one or both products. It would further be advantageous to provide a merchandising system to be associated with another existing merchandising system such that the merchandising system would not require additional shelf space of the existing merchandising system. It would further be advantageous to provide a merchandising system which may be configured to be provided by, coupled to, attached to, or otherwise associated with a variety of structures such as existing merchandising systems. It would further be advantageous to provide a merchandising system which may provide supports which may be removed and replaced, repaired, or reconstructed with different sizes, shapes, configurations, etc. of product supports. It would further be advantageous to provide a merchandising system which may be configured or arranged to merchandise, display, store, hold, etc. a variety of products (e.g. product within containers or containers of product) that maximize the effective use of space so that more products can be displayed in the same space. It would further be advantageous to provide a merchandising system that can easily be coupled to a structure near a cashier for complimentary (or “last minute”) purchases, for example to position snack food near a soda cooler such that shoppers can find both items in one location, and which would allow products or items to be easily removed or inserted from the merchandising system, for example by allowing customers to quickly grab the product or item and also allowing the store to easily stock the display. It would further be advantageous to provide a merchandising system that may not require additional shelf or floor space, and for example may be coupled to an existing structure to add merchandising space without adding shelf space or floor space. It would further be advantageous to provide a merchandising system that may include a support for product (such as retainers, supports, clips, shelves, grabber clips, etc.) and a base that may be mountable to a support structure, that is easily mounted in a variety of locations or associated with a variety of structures, such as existing merchandising systems, support structures, rotating racks, stands, shelves, coolers, wire racks, shelving stands, cabinets, etc.

[0009] Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide a merchandising system that may include any one or more of these or other advantageous features.

SUMMARY

[0010] The present invention relates to a merchandising system for containers of consumer product such as food stuffs, the containers each having a body and a feature. The merchandising system includes a base configured to be coupled to a structure with a non-invasive fastener, and a first retainer and a second retainer each selectively coupled to the base. Each retainer comprising a pair of opposed projections configured to retain the container duct. The pair of opposed projections forms an opening through which containers are received and retained by the pair or projections.

[0011] The present invention further relates to a display for presenting and storing product containers. The display includes a base, a first clip removably coupled to the base, and a second clip removably coupled to the base. The first clip and the second clip are each configured to selectively secure product containers. The first clip and the second clip are each configured to selectively couple substantially around the product container.

[0012] The present invention further relates to an apparatus for displaying and storing product containers on an existing merchandising system. The apparatus includes means for supporting a product container, a base selectively coupled to the means for supporting the product container, and means for selectively coupling the base to the structure. The means for supporting the product container is configured to selectively retain and display the product container. The means for supporting the product container is configured to selectively couple substantially around the product container.

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present application claims the benefit of priority as may be available under 35 U.S.C. §§119-21 from the following application: U.S. patent application No. 60/347,993 (“MERCHANDISING SYSTEM”) filed Jan. 14, 2002 (incorporated by reference herein).

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
WO2005070262A2 *Dec 7, 2004Aug 4, 2005Bic SocDisplay unit for elements which are to be assembled
Classifications
U.S. Classification221/256
International ClassificationA47F5/08, A47F7/28, A47F5/02
Cooperative ClassificationA47F5/08, A47F7/283, A47F5/02
European ClassificationA47F7/28C, A47F5/08, A47F5/02
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 30, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: DCI MARKETING, INC., WISCONSIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:HORNBLAD, RICHARD P.;WIEMER, JAMES A.;REEL/FRAME:014014/0910
Effective date: 20030327