US 20090039040 A1
This invention relates to a product display system for packaged products, also known as a merchandiser, for storing and displaying products, and more particularly, to a merchandiser with extendible product drawers that can be pulled out and tilted downwards without the back product pusher to facilitate restocking of products in the merchandiser. The merchandiser includes a pull-out drawer or product holder secured to the shelf and capable of downward rotation in a restocking position by a restrictor means in the form of a U-shaped ring located either on the product pusher or the product holder. The display system further includes a nesting tab for securing the display in the display position on the shelf, and a product pusher in biasing relation with the front edge of the shelf for improved access in the restocking position.
1. A product display system comprising:
a stationary support having front and rear ends; and
a product holder carried by said stationary support, said product holder including a plurality of panels each having a front end, a rear end, an upper end portion, a lower end portion, connectors linking the panels in spaced parallel relation, a product pusher disposed between adjacent panels in slidable engagement with the lower end portions thereof for movement between the rear and front ends of the panels, and spring means connected to the stationary support and the product pusher to displace the product pusher toward the front end of the stationary support.
2. The system of
3. The system of
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8. The system of
9. The system of
10. The system of
11. A display system for products packaged in pouches, the pouches assuming a pillow shape when filled and having a height and a width, said system comprising:
a stationary support having front and rear ends; and
a product holder carried by said support, said product holder including a plurality of panels each having a front end, a rear end, an upper end portion, and a lower end portion, said upper end portion being spaced from said lower end portion at a distance about equal to said height, connectors linking the panels in parallel relation and spaced apart at a distance about equal to said width, a product pusher disposed between adjacent panels in slidable engagement with the lower end portions thereof for movement between the rear and front ends of the panels, and a spring means connected to the stationary support and the product pusher to displace the product pusher toward the front end of the stationary support.
12. The display system of
13. The display system of
14. A product display system comprising:
a stationary support having front and rear ends; and
a product holder carried by said stationary support, said product holder including spaced-apart side panels each extending from the front toward the rear of said ends, a product pusher disposed between the panels in captive slidable engagement therewith for movement therebetween, and a spring means connected to the stationary support and the product pusher to displace the product pusher toward the front of said ends.
15. The product display system of
16. The product display system of
17. The product display system of
18. The product display system of
19. A product display system comprising:
a stationary support having front and rear ends; and
a product holder carried by said support, a product pusher captively disposed in said product holder for movement relative thereto, a spring connected to the stationary support proximal the front end thereof and to the product pusher to displace the product pusher toward the front end of said stationary support, and a restrictor means affixed to said stationary support and to one of said product holders and said product pusher enabling said product holder to be moved from a display position between said ends to a loading position wherein a portion of said product holder extends beyond the front of said ends with said product pusher remaining disposed between said ends.
20. The display system in accordance with
21. The display system in accordance with
22. A product display system for connection to vertically extending shelving fixtures, said system comprising:
a support frame having spaced front and rear end members, and a guide member extending between said end members; and
a product holder carried by said support frame including a product pusher captively disposed in said product holder for movement relative thereto, a spring connected to the support frame proximal the front end member thereof and to the product pusher to displace the product pusher toward the front end member, and a mechanism affixed to said support and to at least one of said product holders and said pusher to enable said product holder to be moved from a display position between said end members to a loading position wherein said holder extends beyond the front end member and is held in a downwardly tilted orientation with said product pusher remaining disposed between said ends.
23. A method for restocking a product display system comprising the steps of:
lifting a product holder away from a seating means for resting on the product holder on a stationary support;
pulling the product holder from a display position until a rear end reaches the front rail;
tilting downwards the product holder until the restrictor means 16 is locked into place;
restocking the display area;
tilting the product holder upward; and
pushing the product holder back to the display position until the rear end reaches the rear rail.
The present patent application claims priority from and the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/955,225, filed Aug. 10, 2008, and entitled Product Display System for Packaged Products and Method of Use Thereof, which prior application is hereby incorporated herein by reference.
This invention relates to a product display system for packaged products, also known as a merchandiser, for storing and displaying packaged products, and more particularly, to a merchandiser with extendible product drawers that can be pulled out and tilted downwards while the product pusher withdraws to facilitate restocking operations.
Display systems are commonly used in supermarkets, grocery stores, and other retail establishments as aids in the sale of various food and commercial items. One of the most commonly known uses of merchandisers is a display system for grated cheese pouches and small individually packaged roadside snacks. When perishable food items with limited shelf life are sold, special attention must be paid to the rotation of product. Semitransparent plastic pouches, expiration date markings, and efficient rotation of pouches are designed to prevent the sale of stale food items. In display systems, food items are often organized with the oldest product in front in an effort to ensure a first in, first out rotation.
To optimize the freshness of products on the store shelves, restocking of products is made by adding new, fresher pouches to the back of the merchandiser and pushing older products to the front of the display where the first in line should be removed and purchased by the consumer. Savvy consumers in search of the freshest product possible may scavenge to the back of the display system in an attempt to select food pouches with later expiration dates. A first design parameter of merchandiser is to thwart “back-grab” efforts of consumers without unduly frustrating them.
Merchandisers must also be restocked regularly. Restocking operations are generally conducted by employees after business hours or during hours of low activity. Cardboard boxes are pulled from the storage facility on flat trolleys and brought to the merchandiser location where products can be restocked. Employees are meant to conduct a visual inspection of the remaining food items in each section of a merchandiser, remove stale or damaged food items, and restock with fresh products. A box is opened and fresh pouches are placed on shelves, rods, or hooks rapidly and efficiently to expedite restocking operations. Some product displays, in an effort to prevent “grab-back,” secure pouches in the product holder using a long metal rod inserted in a hole in the top of pouches.
Because the front end of the rod must remain unblocked to enable removal of pouches by customers and so that products are allowed to slide to the front of the display system, the rod is attached at the back end where fresh products are restocked. Using this technology, employees who punch and align holes of pouches and manage product alignment on the rod experience a time-consuming operation. Other merchandisers simply let the pouches rest on the bottom portion of the product holder and include a product pusher mechanism to gently slide pouches to the front when pouches are removed for purchase. Product pushers are also designed to quickly fill in any gaps left by the removal of products from the display to prevent the replacement of the pouch by uncertain customers.
During restocking operations, the product pusher hinders the placement of fresh products because it must be pushed back using a first hand while the restocking employee is left with only one hand to remove fresh pouches from the box on the floor, inspect the pouches, and restock the product display. This second merchandiser design parameter often conflicts with the requirements of the design parameter explained earlier.
Third, stores generally own standard shelves with vertical uprights and legs. These shelves are designed to be easily adjusted to different heights. Once again, “grab-back” is hindered by limiting empty shelf space above products, but limited shelf space also results in unwanted obstruction to the restocking employee. When stocking product on such shelves, the old product must be pushed to the front. Such manual rotations are time consuming, onerous, and consequently not always performed by hurried employees. In addition, pouches may deform slightly under their weight when stored horizontally. The enclosed food item migrates to the bottom of the pouch, and as a consequence, thickens the average pouch. Fewer pouches can be restocked in a horizontal orientation compared to a vertical orientation. As a consequence, restocking employee may compact pouches by pushing them. For example, pouches with grated cheese may be boxed horizontally with only 5 to 10 pouches resting on the bottom pouch, each having a thickness of one inch. When the restocking agent opens the box and grabs pouches, the cheese shifts or settles to the bottom portion of the pouch, which changes the pouch to a thickness of one and a half inches when oriented horizontally. As a consequence, fewer pouches can be restocked, resulting in a loss of efficiency of the restocking operation. A third merchandisers design parameter, which often conflicts with the two design parameters described above, is to maintain the geometry of packaged food items during restocking operations or allow restocking employees better control over how food items are handled during the operation.
Merchandisers often promote the sale of specific trade items by having a front surface where a label or advertisement is displayed. Exclusive use of the shelving space is thus reserved by an advertiser of a specific food item at the cost of installing the merchandiser on a portion of a shelf. Alternatives include the use of the box as a display or a neat alignment of products on a shelf with labels displayed conspicuously. Costly or bulky merchandisers that cannot fit or replace existing shelving are an investment that often discourages merchants from using this technology. A fourth design parameter of merchandisers, often conflicting with the first three, is the obligation to create a cheap, light, modular system that can easily be implemented at a point of sale. This obligation may conflict with the experience of restocking employees, who work at night in hurried conditions and who may not be given adequate training on how to operate merchandisers. Accordingly, light, cheap, modular systems are often fragile and disfavored over expensive, heavy, fixed systems capable of withstanding conditions of heavy use in retail spaces. What is needed is a merchandiser that is light and cheap yet sturdy. The merchandiser must prevent “grab-back” without hindering restocking operations. The system must also be easy to adapt and install on existing or new shelves.
Various systems have been developed over the years to facilitate automatic shifting of product toward the front of the store shelving, such systems typically employing product pushers such as that described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,450,969 assigned to Gamon International, Inc. Other systems, such as that shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,164,462, rely on gravity feeds or systems that allow for the free movement of products. Still other systems employ pull-out or extendible drawers to facilitate stocking of product and product rotation. These known systems require greater vertical clearance to allow the product to drop under its own weight and may allow a consumer to easily pull or push part of the system to grab the freshest product in the back of the display.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,123,546 discloses a pull-out product tray that is in slidable engagement with tracks affixed to a shelf. A product pusher is slidably mounted in the tray. A coil spring is affixed at one end to the pusher and at the other end to the front portion of the tray to displace product forward toward the front of the tray. When the tray needs to be restocked, it can be manually slid horizontally along the tracks to an off-shelf position. The product pusher is prevented from off-shelf travel by means of a travel stop so that as the tray is further moved the pusher remains at a static position relative to the shelf, thereby creating a gap between the pusher and the front of the tray so that new product can be placed in the gap. This mechanism suffers a number of drawbacks. No means of preventing consumers from gaining access to the freshest product located at the rear of the tray is provided. That is, the consumer can easily pull the tray out to gain access. Also, restocking is made difficult because the coil spring applies a retraction force to the tray when it is pulled off the shelf. Thus, the restocking employee must hold the tray in an extended position with one hand while attempting to add new product with the other. In addition, because the pusher no longer engages product as the tray is being fully extended, product remaining in the tray can tip and slide.
What is needed is a new product display system for packaged products and a method of use thereof that takes into consideration all of the above design parameters and failings, allows for easy restocking, prevents “back-grab,” and is implemented easily, quickly, and cheaply while maintaining sufficient durability and simplicity of use to withstand hazards of actual retail environments.
This invention relates to a product display system for packaged products, also known as a merchandiser, for storing and displaying products, and more particularly, to a merchandiser with extendible product drawers that can be pulled out, tilted downwards, and held in place under their own weight while the back product pusher remains drawn away to facilitate restocking of product in the merchandiser. The merchandiser includes a pull-out drawer, or a product holder slideably secured to a part of the shelf, that allows the merchandiser a partial downward rotation in a restocking position using a restrictor means in the form of a U-shaped ring located either on the product pusher or the product holder. The display system further includes a nesting tab for securing the display in the display position on the shelf, and a product pusher in biasing relation with the front edge of the shelf for improved access in the restocking position.
The invention may be best understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. In the figures, like reference numerals identify like elements.
For the purpose of promoting and understanding the principles disclosed herein, reference will now be made to the preferred embodiments illustrated in the drawings, and specific language will be used to describe the same. It is nevertheless understood that no limitation of the scope of the actual invention is intended by the description of suggested embodiments. Such alterations and further modifications in the illustrated device and such further applications of the principles disclosed as illustrated herein are contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which this disclosure relates.
The stationary support 4 as shown in
What is contemplated is the use of a restrictor means 16 attached to the product holder 1 or one of its components capable of preventing lifting of the part of the product holder 1 connected to the restrictor means 16 from the elongated member 6. In one embodiment,
What is also disclosed and shown, for example, in
In a subsequent position, the product holder 1 is tilted downwards as shown in
In yet another embodiment, the seating means includes downwardly projecting bumpers such as tabs 17, 23 located on the underside of the panels 11 that respectively abut the rear rail 8 and the front rail 30 when the holder 1 is at its normal or display position on the support 4. The restrictor means 16 operates in tandem and includes the elongated member 6 extending between the rear rail 8 and the front rail 30, as well as a loop member as shown in
What is also disclosed is a display system 100 for products packaged in pouches 300, the pouches assuming a pillow shape when filled and having a height and a width as shown. The system includes a stationary support 4 having front rails 30, rear rails 8, and a product holder 1 carried by said support 4 with a plurality of panels 11, each having a front end 120, a rear end 121, an upper end portion 122, and a lower end portion 123. The upper end portion 122 is spaced from said lower end portion 123 a distance about equal to the height of the pouches 300.
The display system 300 also includes connectors 34 linking the panels 11 in parallel relation and spaced apart at a distance about equal to said width of the pouches 300, a product pusher 12 disposed between adjacent panels 11 in slidable engagement with the lower end portions 123 thereof for movement between the rear end 121 and front ends 120 of the panels 11, and a spring means 13 connected to the stationary support 4 and the product pusher 12 to displace the product pusher 12 toward the front end 120 of the stationary support. The product holder 1 also includes a sign placed on the bent advertising surface 10 extending between said panels 11 near the front ends 120 thereof, wherein the sign extends from the lower end portions 123 of the panels to about one half said height as shown.
Persons of ordinary skill in the art appreciate that although the teachings of the disclosure have been illustrated in connection with certain embodiments, there is no intent to limit the invention to such embodiments. On the contrary, the intention of this disclosure is to cover all modifications and embodiments failing fairly within the scope of the teachings of the disclosure.