Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20100320109 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/488,713
Publication dateDec 23, 2010
Filing dateJun 22, 2009
Priority dateJun 22, 2009
Publication number12488713, 488713, US 2010/0320109 A1, US 2010/320109 A1, US 20100320109 A1, US 20100320109A1, US 2010320109 A1, US 2010320109A1, US-A1-20100320109, US-A1-2010320109, US2010/0320109A1, US2010/320109A1, US20100320109 A1, US20100320109A1, US2010320109 A1, US2010320109A1
InventorsAnthony Trumbauer, Diego Macchi, Steven Agalopoulos
Original AssigneeAnthony Trumbauer, Diego Macchi, Steven Agalopoulos
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method Of Shipping and Displaying Products For Sale To Consumers And Associated Product Display
US 20100320109 A1
Abstract
A pallet display with a plurality of product display sides, and preferably more than one product display side along a merchandising side of a display pallet or display pallet footprint. Products thus can be displayed adjacent one another but not aligned, thereby increasing the number of planogrammable areas. The pallet display may be modular so that the sections can be disassembled and fitted on half a shipping pallet, allowing two pallet displays to ship on a single shipping pallet. Portions of the display may also be disassembled and used as a separate and preferably different type of product display, such as a power wing or side wing. The display may be symmetrical about a diagonal of a display pallet, such that only one essentially triangular pallet display may be formed to fit within a triangular footprint.
Images(8)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(19)
1. A pallet display comprising:
a plurality of independently formed product display units, each product display unit comprising a vertically extending tray having a plurality of product display levels vertically spaced from one another; and
a pallet display base shaped and configured to receive and to position said plurality of product display units with respect to one another to form an assembled pallet display fitting within a predetermined footprint with the boundaries of the predetermined footprint circumscribing said assembled pallet display;
wherein:
said plurality of independently formed product display units are dimensioned to be packed together, loaded with products on said product display levels, to fit within a fraction of the predetermined footprint.
2. A pallet display as in claim 1, wherein said plurality of product display units are dimensioned to be packed together to fit within half the area of a predetermined shipping-pallet-sized footprint.
3. A pallet display as in claim 2, wherein said plurality of product display units are dimensioned to be packed together with a pallet display base and pallet filler materials to fit within half the area of a predetermined shipping-pallet-sized footprint.
4. A pallet display as in claim 1, wherein:
each said product display unit has a depth extending in a first direction and a width extending in a second direction substantially perpendicular to said first direction; and
the predetermined footprint is a right quadrilateral with a first dimension no less than three times said product display depth, and a second dimension no less than the sum of said product display depth and three times said product display width.
5-7. (canceled)
8. A pallet display having a first merchandising side and a second merchandising side adjacent and transverse to said first merchandising side, said pallet display comprising:
two product display sides facing toward each other and extending along and facing said first merchandising side; and
two product display sides facing toward each other and extending along and facing said second merchandising side;
wherein:
at least one of said product display sides extending along said first merchandising side extends in a direction transverse to said first merchandising side; and
at least one of said product display sides comprises a plurality of vertically spaced display trays.
9. A pallet display as in claim 8, wherein at least one of said product display sides extending along said second merchandising side extends in a direction transverse to said second merchandising side.
10. A pallet display as in claim 8, wherein each product display side is formed by a product display unit having a vertically extending tray with a plurality of product display levels vertically spaced from one another.
11. A pallet display as in claim 10, wherein said product display levels of at least one of said product display units have aligned and coplanar front edges.
12. A pallet display as in claim 11, wherein all product display levels of all said product display units have aligned and coplanar front edges.
13. A pallet display as in claim 10, wherein two product display units have a back wall, said back walls of said two product display units backing against each other.
14. A pallet display as in claim 13, wherein said two product display units having back walls backing against each other extend along a diagonal of said pallet display.
15. A pallet display as in claim 8, wherein:
said merchandising sides are substantially perpendicular to each other and meet at a corner; and
said pallet display comprises at least one product display side extending across the corner at which said merchandising sides meet.
16. A method of shipping a pallet display in a predetermined shipping pallet footprint area and assembling said pallet display in a predetermined display pallet footprint area greater than said predetermined shipping pallet footprint area, said method comprising:
packing into a space of half the predetermined shipping pallet footprint a plurality of product display units each having a monolithic vertically extending tray with a plurality of product display levels vertically spaced from one another; and
unpacking said plurality of product display units and arranging said plurality of product display units in said predetermined display pallet footprint area.
17. A method as in claim 16, wherein at least two product display units have a plurality of product display levels vertically spaced from one another with aligned and coplanar front edges along a front face of the product display unit, said method further comprising arranging said at least two product display units adjacent each other with their front faces unaligned with respect to each other.
18. A method as in claim 16, further comprising loading each product display unit with products before packing said plurality of product display units into a space of half the predetermined shipping pallet footprint.
19. A triangular pallet display having a first merchandising side, a second merchandising side perpendicular to said first merchandising side, and a non-merchandising side extending between and at an acute angle with respect to said first and second merchandising sides, wherein:
products are displayed along only said first and second merchandising sides such that upon placement of said pallet display on a quadrilateral pallet footprint, products are displayed on only one side of the right quadrilateral pallet diagonal and no products are displayed along the other side of the right quadrilateral pallet footprint diagonal.
20. A pallet display as in claim 19, wherein said triangular pallet display comprises at least one product display side extending along and transverse to one of said merchandising sides.
21. A pallet display as in claim 8, wherein:
said first and second merchandising sides are greater than 180 degrees apart; and
said two product display sides of each of said first and second merchandising sides are less than 180 degrees apart.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a method of shipping a large quantity of promotional or base products to a retailer for display and sale to consumers. More particularly, the present invention relates to a method of shipping products on a pallet for display on such pallet (or a different display pallet) at a retail location for sale to consumers. The present invention also relates to a method of packing and shipping product display units efficiently to increase the number of product display units that may be shipped in a given shipment volume.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Pallets are commonly used to ship large quantities of products. For instance, manufacturers or client marketers may load products onto pallets for transport from manufacturing facilities to warehouses or distribution centers, and then for further transport from warehouses or distribution centers to the manufacturer's customers, such as retailers. Although retail stores generally stock their goods in purchasing aisles grouped by product category (e.g., pharmacy goods, cleaning products or supplies, paper goods, stationery supplies, foods, pet food and pet care items, clothes, toys, entertainment media, electronics, etc.), and may even have more specific category breakdowns for purchasing aisles (such as the following product categories under the more generic “pharmacy goods” category: oral care products, wound care products, hair care products, baby products, makeup, over-the-counter medicines; or the following product categories under the more generic “foods” category: cereals, beverages, dairy, meat, frozen foods, snacks, breads, baking items, canned goods), retailers may use the pallets on which products are shipped for in-store display of the products in the wider aisles that are generally not dedicated to a given product category. Such wider aisles of the store (commonly called “main drive aisles” or the “action alley” or “racetrack”) generally are predominantly provided for consumer travel to access the dedicated purchasing aisles.

The use of pallets in such manner provides various cost savings to both the retailers and the manufacturers. For instance, the pallet loaded with products may be deposited (e.g., by fork lift) directly at the display location in the store, rather than deposited in the stock room, back room, or inventory, thus freeing up space in the retailer's stock room. Employees need not expend time and energy transporting cartons of the product from the stock room to a shelf (or other display area) at a merchandising location, such as a home location or in-line location for the product (the essentially permanent location for the product at a given retail location), unloading the cartons, and stocking the shelf with the product. Because larger quantities of a product may be displayed on a pallet than on a typical store shelf, less time and effort is expended in re-stocking the display for the product. In fact, products typically are shopped down from a pallet and not restocked. Moreover, because larger quantities of a product may be displayed on a pallet than on a typical store shelf, all products remain on the pallet and the retailer need not dedicate stock room space to store products (as would be the case if such products were displayed on a shelf which cannot accommodate the full pallet-load of products). Once the display is largely sold down/sold through, the stock from a promotional display may be placed in the home location of the product.

Manufacturers benefit from having their products displayed on a pallet because pallets typically draw consumer attention by virtue of their mass and stand-alone location along the wider aisles or main drive aisles of the store generally traveled to access the purchasing aisles. The display of products on pallets positioned in a main drive aisle induces impulse purchases, not only because such displays tend to grab consumer attention, but also because the product is positioned for higher visibility. More particularly, there is more foot traffic (and thus a greater number of potential shopper pass such display) in a main drive aisle because consumers typically circulate through the store by walking the perimeter or main drive aisle. Moreover, normally products are only seen if a consumer is in the “home” purchasing aisle for such product. The main drive aisle is not the home location for any particular product category, but, instead, is traveled by the consumer to reach a desired product category aisle. By definition, products on a pallet in a main drive aisle are not in their home location. Thus, even if the consumer passes over the home purchasing aisle for a given product (without walking down such aisle), if such product is displayed in a main drive aisle, the consumer likely will view such product in transit to other purchasing aisles. Another benefit of pallets displaying products outside their home location is that the products generally are away from competitor products, since competitor products generally are not stocked on the same pallet (in contrast with the mix of competitor products in a planogrammed shelving area in the home purchasing aisle for that product category). The exclusivity a manufacturer gains from the essentially isolated display of its products is particularly desirable in that consumers are not distracted by other products and are more likely to buy the manufacturers' product over a competitor's product.

In order to enhance saleability and the attention-grabbing aspect, including the visual impact/aesthetic impact, stopping power, or signature—personality (see and remember quality) of displaying products on pallets, manufacturers may utilize pallet displays, which are a type of display designed to rest on a pallet (or at least to be set among other pallets used to display products). Pallet displays permit the efficient shipping and rollout to sales floors provided by simply displaying products on a pallet, yet also permit various additional benefits. One significant benefit of pallet displays is that they may be designed to have various features that attract consumers. For instance, pallet displays generally contain sufficient panels or “billboard” space or printable surface area for graphics, product imagery, branding (e.g., logos), consumer education, or other messaging and communications. Generally, more information may be provided on a pallet display than at the home location for the product (on a shelf in the aisle dedicated to the product category for such product). Structural elements may also be provided to enhance the display (such as by providing additional graphics, etc., or audio-visual effects, etc.). Likewise, the pallet display may have a unique shape or configuration enhancing display of the products. Pallet displays thus are generally more aesthetically appealing than displays of products merely stacked on a pallet.

Despite the above benefits, pallet displays still present several disadvantages. Because of the desire to reduce the time normally required by a retailer to stock and to display products, pallet displays often are designed to minimize if not to eliminate the need to reface products (to bring products to the front edge of the display shelf). Therefore, the depth of each display shelf generally does not extend to the center of the pallet, leaving empty, unutilized space at the center of the pallet. Also, because some products are not sold in sufficiently high volume, it is desirable to leave empty space in the middle of the pallet so that the pallet display maintains a well-stocked appearance over the time necessary to sell down the products in the pallet display. Because pallet displays are usually shipped in an already-assembled form, pallets carrying pallet displays also carry a lot of empty space within such pallet display. Approximately 25-50% of a given cubic volume dedicated to shipping products (such as on a freight truck or train) may be empty space captured by the display for the products.

Moreover, pallet displays often are not amenable to displaying different products. A GMA (Grocery Manufacturers Association) standard pallet is a 40 inch (101.6 cm)×48 inch (1219.2 cm) rectangle. If more than one product is to be displayed along one side of the pallet, there may not be enough space for the desired panels for providing messaging for more than one of the mix of products displayed on such side. Even a 48 inch (1219.2 cm)×48 inch (1219.2 cm) square pallet may not readily provide sufficient space to display more than one type of product while also permitting the desired messaging.

Finally, pallet displays often are provided for promotional products that generally are available only on displays. Such promotional products, by their nature, do not have a home location and therefore should not or even cannot be placed on a retail shelf (or other more permanent display area) once the display is partially sold through. The retailer thus does not have a ready location available for a relatively small number of products left on a large promotional pallet display that has been mostly sold down/sold through. Such remaining products may be transferred by the retailer from their promotional pallet display to another location that does not receive much shopper traffic/visibility (thus reducing the likelihood of being purchased) to make room for a new, fully-stocked pallet display. The transferred remaining products may be sold at a significantly reduced price, resulting in losses both to the retailer as well as to the manufacturer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It therefore would be desirable to form a pallet display that reduces empty space typical of pallet displays while allowing ready and easy consumer access to products in the display. It would be further desirable to provide such pallet display in an attractive form that is visually appealing and catches shoppers' attention. Graphics, product information, or other messaging or visuals may be provided on the pallet display to encourage the consumer to choose the displayed product(s) over competitors' products.

Thus, in accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a pallet display is formed with an increased number of product display sides to permit retailer display and consumer shopping of more than one type of product, such as related products, along a given merchandising side of the pallet display. In accordance with one embodiment, at least two product display sides of a pallet display formed in accordance with the principles of the present invention are at an angle with respect to a given side of a display pallet (or at least a rectangular or square pallet footprint) on which the pallet display is positioned. Thus, a greater display width (lateral extent of products being displayed) may be achieved than if the products were displayed essentially parallel to the given display pallet or pallet footprint side. Moreover, because the front facings of the products on the angled product display sides are not aligned, the products may be viewed together, yet are visually differentiated by their relative unaligned positions.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention that need not be achieved by the above-described pallet display, a pallet display may be formed in accordance with principles of the present invention to display products along only a portion of a standard pallet, such portion being other than a half or quarter portion of a standard display pallet or pallet footprint. As such, only a customized corresponding pallet display can be used on the remaining display pallet or pallet footprint. In accordance with one embodiment, a pallet display is formed in accordance with principles of the present invention to occupy a substantially triangular area, with products backing up along a diagonal of a standard display pallet or pallet footprint.

In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention that may be achieved with either, both, or neither of the above-described inventive pallet displays, a pallet display may be formed in accordance with principles of the present invention to be disassembled and packed in a more compact disassembled form. More particularly, a pallet display that occupies the area of a standard display pallet or pallet footprint is formed in accordance with one aspect of the present invention to be disassembled and packed in an area half that of a standard shipping pallet. Thus, at least two pallet displays may be shipped on a single shipping pallet, and then assembled into a full-sized pallet display occupying the area of a full-size display pallet.

In accordance with yet another separate and independent aspect of the present invention, a pallet display may be formed in accordance with principles of the present invention to have at least one portion that may serve dual display functions. For example, at least a portion of a pallet display in formed in accordance with this aspect of the present invention may be disassembled from the pallet display and used as separate display element. More particularly, such separate display element may be a power wing or side kick used to display products at an end cap. Such dual function provides a home location for promotional items displayed on a pallet display and which otherwise would not have a home location if moved from the pallet display for display elsewhere.

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will be readily apparent from the following detailed description of the invention, the scope of the invention being set out in the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The detailed description will be better understood in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference characters represent like elements, as follows:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary pallet display formed in accordance with principles of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the exemplary pallet display of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an exemplary half-pallet display formed in accordance with principles of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a perspective of the parts of an exemplary pallet display disassembled and packed into the area of half a shipping pallet footprint;

FIG. 5 is an exploded view of parts of an exemplary pallet display formed in accordance with principles of the present invention and in the process of being assembled;

FIG. 6 is an exploded view similar to that of FIG. 5, but at a later stage of assembly; and

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a portion of an exemplary pallet display disassembled from the exemplary pallet display and in use as a power wing or side kick.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A pallet display may be formed with one or more separate and independent inventive features in accordance with the principles of the present invention. Each feature, at least alone, has unique benefits which are desirable for, yet not critical to, the present invention. Therefore, the various separate features of the present invention need not all be present in order to achieve at least some of the desired characteristics and/or benefits of the present invention. One or more separate features may be combined, or only one of the various features need be present in a pallet display formed in accordance with the principles of the present invention. Moreover, throughout the present application, reference numbers are used to indicate a generic element or feature of the present invention. The same reference number may be used to indicate elements or features that are not identical in form, shape, structure, etc, yet which provide similar functions or benefits. Additional reference characters (such as letters, as opposed to numbers) may be used to differentiate similar elements or features from one another.

An exemplary pallet display 100 embodying various principles of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a pallet display 100 may be formed from a plurality of product display units 110 having a plurality of product display shelves 112 on which products are displayed for purchase. Preferably, each product display unit 110 resembles a bookcase with aligned shelf front edges and a substantially planar vertical back wall. Each product display unit may be described as formed from a vertically-extending tray having a plurality of product display levels vertically spaced from one another, a product display shelf 112 being formed at each level. Such a product display unit 110 may also be referenced as a multi-level display tray, as the term “display tray” is commonly used to reference a typically non-permanent structure holding products for display. A “non-permanent” structure holding products for display is to be contrasted with a store fixture (the structure that holds and displays the majority of the store's merchandise, such as a gondola, coffin, or freezer case), and may be used in conjunction with (placed on or secured or affixed to or otherwise associated with) a store fixture. It will be appreciated that the product display units 110 of pallet display 100 may be formed as separable units or as unseparable units, as will be further detailed below. Although the exemplary pallet display 100 of FIGS. 1 and 2 has five rows of product display shelves 112 (i.e., five levels of products), it will be appreciated that such number of display shelves or display levels may be altered depending on the shelf height needed for the product to be displayed, the overall desired dimensions for pallet display 100, the provision of information panels between display shelves (occupying space that would otherwise be occupied by the display height DH of a product display shelf 112, or a fraction or multiple of display height DH), or any other factor contributing to selection of dimensions for a product display. If desired, rather than loading products directly onto a product display shelf 112, products may be placed on a separate product display tray 113 for placement on a product display shelf 112. As is typical with product display shelves 112 of a product display (or product display trays 113, if provided, which may be removed and placed at a different location if desired), front edge 114 of each or selected (one or more, but not necessarily all) product display shelves 112 of pallet display 100 may have a front lip or panel 116 on which information such as product identifiers (e.g., brand names, tag lines, logos etc.), advertisements, promotional information, educational information (information provided to educate the consumer about benefits, use, etc., of the products), graphics, images, shapes, pricing, and/or other information (such information referenced herein as “display information” for the sake of convenience without intent to limit) may be provided. Product display units 110 preferably are formed of a sufficiently sturdy material such as paperboard (preferably corrugated paperboard) or cardboard to support products to displayed on product display shelves 112.

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, pallet display 100 has an increased number of product display sides 120 along each merchandising side 122. For purposes of description of the present invention, the term “merchandising side” is used to refer to a side along which products may be seen or “shopped” by a consumer (positioned for viewing together without need for the consumer to move to adjust his or her vantage point). In the context of a pallet display, a merchandising side may be considered to extend along a side S of a display pallet 124 on which the pallet display is supported, or along a side of a footprint the size and shape of a pallet if a supporting or display pallet is not provided. For purposes of the description of the present invention, a pallet display is dimensioned and configured to fit on a support or display pallet (such as exemplary pallet 124 illustrated in FIG. 1) typically provided by retailers to support a product display such as a pallet display. The dimensions of the support or display pallet on which a pallet display formed in accordance with the principles of the present invention is displayed are generally predetermined by the retailer. Thus, a pallet display formed in accordance with the principles of the present invention is not to be limited to specific dimensions, but, instead, may be adapted to meet external dimensional requirements independent of the various unique aspects of the present invention. Also for the purposes of description of the present invention, the term “product display side” is used to refer to a side along which product facings are aligned (i.e., the first product in each row/column of products is brought to the face or front edge 114 of display shelf 112 or product display tray 113, such front edge and the products faced along such front edge defining the product display side). Phrased another way, a “product display side” is defined by the plane lying along the front face of the product display (the front face being the front of the product display to which products are faced). Because pallet displays typically are rested on pallets in retail stores, the sides and dimensions and other features of pallet display 100 are described with reference to a standard square pallet, and pallet display 100 may be dimensioned to fit on a standard square pallet. However, it will be appreciated that pallet display 100 need not be rested on a square pallet, whether or not of standard size, and need not even conform to the dimensions of a standard pallet. Exemplary pallet display 100 of FIGS. 1 and 2 is dimensioned to fit on a square pallet 124, with more than one product display side 120 along each merchandising side 122 along a side S of a pallet 124 on which pallet display 100 is positioned. However, a pallet display formed in accordance with the principles of the present invention may be dimensioned and configured to fit on a pallet of standard dimensions, i.e., a rectangle with one pair of 40 inch (101.6 cm) opposite short sides, and one pair of 48 inch (1219.2 cm) opposite long sides, or other pallets having non-standard dimensions. Of course, it will be appreciated that a pallet display 100 formed in accordance with the principles of the present invention may be a free-standing display that can be placed directly on the floor of a store, or on another suitable surface, and need not have dimensions corresponding to the dimensions of a pallet.

Preferably, a pallet display 100 formed in accordance with the principles of the present invention has two or more product display sides 120 along at least one, and preferably along more than one, merchandising side 122. In the exemplary embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, each merchandising side 122 of pallet display 100 has three mutually unaligned product display sides 120. However, it will be appreciated that two, rather than three, product display sides may be provided, or more than three product display sides may be provided. In addition, the arrangement of product display sides 120 along each merchandising side 122 of a pallet display 100 formed in accordance with the principles of the present invention may be a repeating pattern (as in the exemplary pallet display 100 of FIGS. 1 and 2), or may be different for each merchandising side 122. As may be appreciated with particular reference to FIG. 2, the arrangement of product display sides 120 of pallet display 100 is symmetrical about a diagonal PD across pallet display 100 (and pallet 124 on which pallet display 100 is positioned or a pallet footprint within which pallet display 100 is positioned). As such, the arrangement of product display sides 120 along pairs of adjacent merchandising sides 122 a and 122 b, or 122 b and 122 c, or 122 c and 122 d, or 122 d and 122 a, are mirror images. Likewise, the arrangement of product display sides 120 along pairs of opposite merchandising sides 122 a and 122 c, and 122 b and 122 d, are identical.

Because the more than one product display sides 120 of exemplary pallet display 100 are not aligned (i.e., front edges 112 of the display shelves 110 of each product display side 120 do not lie along a straight line, and are not parallel to one another, or, in other words, are not 180 degrees with respect to one another), the more than one product display sides 120 are differentiated at least spatially from one another. Preferably, at least two adjacent product display sides 120 along a given merchandising side 122 are not parallel to each other. Products displayed on product display sides 120 that are less than 180 degrees apart from one another (such as product display sides 120 a and 120 b in FIG. 2) face towards one another so a consumer may readily view products on adjacent product display sides 120 at the same time, yet such products are physically separated or differentiated from one another because their facings along front edge 112 are not aligned. As such, the differentiated product display sides 120 permit ready display and physical differentiation of different products displayed in pallet display 100. It will be appreciated that the front edges 114 of the display shelves 112 or product display trays 113 of a given display unit 110 preferably are aligned and substantially coplanar (thereby forming a substantially uniformly coplanar front face of the product display unit 110). In other words, all shelves 112 and/or individual product display trays 113 of a given display unit 110 have the same shelf depth dimension SD (see FIG. 6) such that the display unit 110 has a uniform overall unit depth dimension UD. If desired, shelves of varying depths may be provided in a given display unit instead, although such variation in shelf depths may result in a reduction in product display capacity.

Pallet display 100, formed with more than one product display side 120 facing but not co-aligned along a common merchandising side 122, as described above, may readily be used to display more than one product segment in a given product category. For instance, for the oral care product category, pallet display 100 can be used to display toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, and toothbrush product segments in a common pallet display 100 that physically differentiates the segments from one another by displaying the segments along unaligned product display sides 120. Similarly, in the wound care product category, wound cleansers, wound treatments (such as topical antibiotics), and bandages may be displayed together in the same pallet display 100, physically differentiated by being displayed in unaligned product display sides 120. Food product segments, such as cooked cereals, dry cereals, and breakfast bars, in food product categories may likewise be arranged in a common pallet display 100, segregated by virtue of their product display sides 120 being unaligned. Similar principles may be applied to other retail products or items.

In accordance with a related aspect of the present invention, a product display side 120 may be provided along more than one merchandising side 122 by providing a product display side diagonally across an intersection of two different merchandising sides 122. As such, the diagonally-intersecting display side may be shopped along either merchandising side 122 intersected by the diagonally-intersecting display side. For instance, diagonally-intersecting display side 120D1 (FIG. 2) may be shopped along merchandising side 122 a or 122 b. Likewise, intersecting display side 120D2 (positioned, in the exemplary pallet display 100 of FIG. 2, opposite intersecting display side 120D1, both of which display sides are along a diagonal PD across pallet display 100) may be shopped along merchandising side 122 c or 122 d. Even product display sides 120 that are more than 180 degrees apart from each other, yet which face towards a common merchandising side 122, such as product display sides 120 a and 120D1 in FIG. 2, permit a consumer to view products on such commonly-facing product display sides 120 at the same time along common merchandising side 122 a, even though the products are physically separated or differentiated from one another.

As may be appreciated, a pallet display 100 formed in accordance with the principles of the present invention permits a greater variety of products to be displayed than permitted by a typical pallet display. Pallet display 100 may also be formed to provide surface area for displaying information in an efficient manner which does not impinge on areas that may be dedicated to displaying products. As described above, front lip or panel 116 may bear display information. In addition, side walls of product display units 120 provide surface area on which display information may be provided either directly or on a separate panel affixed to side walls 130. Because a pallet display 100 having more than one product display side 120 along a merchandising side 122 allows products from different product segments or even different categories to be viewed at the same time while still being physically or spatially differentiated from one another, it may be desirable to provide display information concerning the connection between the various different products displayed. Products that may be used in conjunction with one another may be displayed on adjacent product display units 110 with product display sides 120 angled at an acute angle with respect to each other. A panel bearing consumer education-type information (such as use of the displayed products in conjunction with one another) may be provided near the adjacent product display units 110, such as along an exposed side face 130 of a product display unit 110 carrying the product corresponding to the information or a product display unit 110 adjacent the product display unit 110 carrying the product corresponding to the information. If one of the product display units 110 b has a back wall 132 b backing against the back wall 132 c of another product display unit 110 c, then a wider panel than possible along only one side of a single product display unit 110 may be provided across the exposed side walls 130 b, 130 c of the abutting product display units 110 b, 110 c (see FIG. 2). For instance, information may be provided pertaining to items that can or even should be used together with the intended purchase item. The provision of information panels near different product display sides that are distinguished or differentiated from one another allows the manufacturer/retailer to educate consumers and therefore improves the consumer's use of the intended purchase items, and increases purchase volume of different items or products which may not even have been purchased had the consumer not been educated as to the benefits of use of such associated products in conjunction with one another. A consumer that did not realize such different item or product is beneficial to use with the intended purchase item may not have intended to buy such different item or product but for their respective product display units 110 being positioned adjacent one another but spatially differentiated from one another, and, more preferably, with unaligned respective product display sides. Or, a consumer that had forgotten to purchase such different item or product as displayed on the adjacent product display units 110, or even had no intention of buying such different item or product, would be more likely to purchase such product thanks to the configuration of pallet display 100 and the orientation of the product display units 110 thereof.

Typically, it is desirable to design a pallet display to maintain its aesthetic appeal as it is shopped down (i.e., as products displayed thereon are removed for purchase). Accordingly, a pallet display 100 formed in accordance with the principles of the present invention may be formed to have a display shelf 110 with a shelf depth SD selected in view of the depth of the products to be displayed thereon to satisfy any of a variety of display considerations. For instance, because products on pallet displays generally are not “faced” (i.e., brought to the front of the shelf by store-keepers or clerks), the shelf depth may be selected such that the products are readily accessible (considering, without limitation, ergonomics, safety, and convenience) even if only one product is left on the shelf, at the back of the shelf. Additionally, or alternatively, shelf depth SD may be selected so that a product remains readily visible even if it is in the back of the shelf. Additionally, or alternatively, shelf depth SD may be selected so that structural stability is not affected if a given shelf is empty and the shelf above that given shelf is still loaded with products. Such shelf depth typically does not extend to the center of the pallet on which the pallet display rests, leaving empty, unused space at the center of the pallet display. As may be appreciated, it is concurrently preferable to reduce the amount of empty, unused space in the middle of the display. Thus, in accordance with the principles of the present invention, it is preferable to have at least one product display unit 110 with a back wall 132 backing onto a back wall 132 of another product display unit 110, as may be appreciated with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2. It may best be appreciated with particular reference to FIG. 2 that with products stocked up to abutting back walls 132 b, 132 c of abutting product display units 110 b, 110 c, substantially no empty space is left between product display units 110 b, 110 c and the footprint occupied by product display units 110 b, 110 c is efficiently and fully packed with products. In the exemplary embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, product display units 110 with abutting back walls 132 are arranged along a diagonal PD of pallet 124 on which pallet display 100 rests. Such arrangement advantageously permits more facings for products than in typical pallet displays, because the diagonal of a pallet or pallet footprint is longer than either side of the pallet or pallet footprint along which typical pallet display facings are provided. However, other arrangements of product display units 110 with abutting back walls 132 are within the scope of the present invention. In particular, arrangement of product display units with abutting back walls to reduce empty, unused space in the overall display is a principle of the present invention that need not be limited to a pallet display, but may, instead, be applied to other product displays, particularly freestanding product displays.

As discussed above, a pallet display 100 may be formed in accordance with the principles of the invention to maximize the number of products displayed within a given display footprint defined by a pallet. Thus, empty space is preferably significantly reduced. Any remaining empty space within the central area of assembled pallet display 100 may be covered or capped or filled with a pallet filler, as is typical in the art, and as will be described in further detail below.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a pallet display is configured for placement on a pallet or within a pallet footprint, but to occupy a footprint other than that of a full pallet. Although pallet displays have been designed to occupy half the footprint of a pallet, prior half-pallet displays have been designed to occupy a rectangular footprint, allowing another half-pallet display to occupy the remaining rectangular footprint on the pallet. For example, standard pallets are a 40 inch (101.6 cm)×48 inch (1219.2 cm) rectangle, and therefore standard pallet displays occupy a 40 inch (101.6 cm)×48 inch (1219.2 cm) rectangular footprint. If the manufacturer or retailer desires to ship or to display only half the quantity of products that would be held in a full-size pallet display, a half-pallet display may be used to display half a pallet's worth of products on a half-pallet footprint of 40 inch (101.6 cm)×24 inch (60.96 cm) or 20 inch (50.8 cm)×48 inch (1219.2 cm). In accordance with the principles of the present invention, in the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, and as may be best appreciated with reference to FIG. 2, exemplary pallet display 100 is symmetrical about pallet diagonal PD, each half occupying a triangular footprint approximately half the total footprint area of the pallet 124. Thus, a half-pallet display 102 such as illustrated in FIG. 3 may be formed in accordance with the principles of the present invention to occupy an other-than-rectangular and other-than-square footprint, such as by forming pallet display 100 with only the product display units 110 along one side of pallet diagonal PD as shown in FIG. 2. As such, when a half-pallet display 102 formed in accordance with the principles of the present invention is placed on a given pallet for display of products thereon, only a correspondingly-shaped half-pallet display can be readily placed on the remaining unoccupied space on that given pallet. Moreover, the products in a product display unit 110 lying along pallet diagonal PD may be loaded to back up against a back wall 132 lying along pallet diagonal PD, such back wall not displaying any products. Back wall 132 may back against a back wall of another product display unit of another triangular-shaped pallet display, thereby substantially eliminating empty space captured behind product display units.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, that is separate and independent from the above-described features, yet which may be combined with any or all of the above-described features, exemplary pallet display 100 may be formed from a plurality of product display units 110 that are movable with respect to one another. A pallet display 100 formed in such manner need not be shipped pre-assembled. Instead, the product display units 110 may be packed in a more compact manner, such as stacked or packed against one another, filling the otherwise empty space on the shipping pallet. Such modularity substantially eliminates empty space during transport, thereby significantly increasing transport capacities and efficiency overall, as will become evident with reference to the exemplary illustration of FIG. 4.

An exemplary manner of compactly packing a plurality of product display units 110 (not assembled together to form a pallet display) is illustrated in FIG. 4, in which the ten product display units 110 of the exemplary pallet display 100 of FIGS. 1 and 2, each product display unit 110 comprising a multi-level single (monolithic) display tray, are arranged to fit in a shipping footprint that is half the area of a standard shipping pallet 134. As such, two pallet displays 100 may be packed and shipped on a single pallet, thereby effectively doubling the number of pallet displays that may be shipped in a given shipping volume. In accordance with this aspect of the present invention, each pallet carries two pallet displays, so that the truckload capacity is thereby doubled as well. The increased shipping capacity results in cost savings because more products can be shipped in a given shipment, resulting in fuel savings as well as time savings (time required not only to ship a given number of products, but also loading time, since two pallet displays are loaded together).

The shipping footprint in which the ten display units 110 are arranged in the example of FIG. 4 may be a 20 inch (50.8 cm)×48 inch (1219.2 cm) area. Each display unit 110 thus may have a unit width UW of not more than approximately 14 inches (35.56 cm), and preferably not more than approximately 13⅜ inches (33.973 cm), and a unit depth UD of not more than approximately 6½ inches (16.51 cm), and preferably not more than approximately 6⅜ inches (16.193 cm). A shroud 140 may be provided to protect as well as to contain the display units 110 in the shipping footprint. Such shroud 140 may be a plastic film material (e.g., shrink wrap, such as made from polyethylene), such as commonly used to wrap around products stacked on a shipper pallet, or a paper-based material such as a heavy-duty paper like Kraft paper, or a more rigid paper-based material such as paperboard or corrugated paperboard or cardboard. [IS THAT WHAT IS MEANT BY “KRAFT” IN THE SPEC SHEET? HOW IS THE MATERIAL SELECTED? IS KRAFT PAPER NOT DESIRABLE FOR CERTAIN SITUATIONS? IF SO, PLEASE ELABORATE.] Preferably, sufficient space is left within shroud 140 to permit insertion of corner posts 142 or other desired shipping or packing materials to protect or to stabilize display units 110. Also, any pallet fillers 150 (material used to fill or to cap any empty interior spaces in the pallet display to be assembled from product display units 110) may be folded or otherwise compacted and packed to fit within the shipping footprint (such as by being packed on top of product display units 110). Further assembly materials 144 or assembly instructions 146 or other materials useful or necessary for the assembly of product display units 110 into an assembled pallet display 100 may also be packed within the compact shipping footprint to achieve the desired increase in shipping capacity.

Because pallet displays are normally pre-loaded with products for simple and ready placement on the retailer's store upon arrival, it is preferable that each product display unit 110 of the present invention is pre-loaded with products before being packed and shipped on a pallet. It is particularly preferable for a pallet display formed as in the inventive embodiment of FIG. 4 (to be disassembled and packed in a compact manner to allow two pallet displays to be shipped in a disassembled form on the same pallet) to be pre-loaded with products so that despite the added step a retailer has of assembling the pallet display, the retailer does not also have to load the display with products. Upon arrival at a retail store, one full set of packed disassembled display units 110 may be shifted to another pallet and unpacked and assembled into a pallet display 100. The other full set of packed display units 110 may be unpacked and assembled into another pallet display 100 on the pallet on which it was shipped, or on another pallet. If desired, adjacent product display units 110 c, 110 d (see FIG. 2) may be coupled together to form a foldable unit having at least two product display units 110 that may be angled with respect to each other. Such foldable unit shares a side wall that stabilizes the pair of units when they are moved, thus facilitating transport of two product display units together.

An exemplary manner of assembling a plurality of product display units 110 from a disassembled packed configuration as in FIG. 4 into an assembled pallet display such as in FIGS. 1 and 2 is illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6. To facilitate proper placement of individual product display units 110, such as to insure desired spacing and angular relationships, pallet display base 152 may be provided. Pallet display base 152 may be formed from a unitary piece or from more than one element coupled together (with or without separate coupling or fastening elements). Preferably, although not necessarily, pallet display base 152 is formed of a sufficiently sturdy material, such as corrugated paperboard, to withstand relative shifting of a product display unit 110 with respect thereto, without deforming to a degree that pallet display base 152 cannot provide its placement-guiding role. In the exemplary embodiment of FIGS. 4 and 5, pallet display base 152 is formed from a receiving section 160 and an insert section 170.

Exemplary receiving section 160 of exemplary pallet display base 152 of FIGS. 5 and 6 is formed with one or more receiving platforms 162 shaped to guide the proper placement of a product display unit 110 thereon with respect to a pallet 124 or pallet footprint on which pallet display 100 is to be assembled from product display units 110. In the exemplary embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6, receiving platforms 162 are in the form of wells 164 having at least one upwardly extending side wall 166 and thus not only indicate the proper placement location for a given product display unit 110, but also guide proper placement of a given product display unit 110 in the proper location. Exemplary receiving platforms 162 of receiving section 160 guide placement of two pairs of product display units 110 to be positioned along pallet diagonal PD and at opposite corners of a pallet 124 or pallet footprint. Receiving platforms 162 not only guide the distance between such product display units 110, but also guide alignment of such product display units 110 such that front edges 114 of product display shelves 112 of the pairs of product display units 110 to be aligned with each other at opposite ends of pallet diagonal PD are aligned and substantially coplanar.

Exemplary insert section 170 of exemplary pallet display base 152 of FIGS. 5 and 6 is shaped and configured to be inserted into a first receiving region 168 in receiving section 160. A complementary second receiving region 172 may be formed in insert section 170 such as in the form of a cut-out area complementing first receiving region 168 so that insert section 170 and receiving section 160 can be coupled together such as by interlocking without further coupling or attachment elements (e.g., adhesives or staples). A spacer element 169 may be formed as a result of the provision of first receiving region 168, and may serve to stabilize the product display units 110 located at receiving platforms 162. It will be appreciated that if first receiving section 168 is downwardly facing, as in the exemplary embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6, then insert section 170 may be placed on pallet 124 or a pallet footprint first and receiving section 160 may then be placed over insert section 170. Exemplary insert section 170 has one or more guide walls 174 (preferably vertically extending walls) shaped and configured and positioned along insert section 170 to guide the proper placement of product display units 110 with respect to one another and with respect to a pallet 124 or pallet footprint on which pallet display 100 is to be assembled from product display units 110, as may be appreciated with reference to FIG. 6.

As noted above, pallet fillers 150 may be provided to fill empty space between the individual product display units 110 of pallet display 100. Pallet fillers 150 may be formed from a unitary piece or from more than one element coupled together (with or without separate coupling or fastening elements). In the exemplary embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6, pallet fillers 150 include fillers formed from elements that are substantially similar or identical to the elements of pallet display base 152. Formation of pallet fillers 150 from a receiving section substantially identical to the receiving section 160 of pallet display base 152, and an insert section substantially identical to insert section 170 of pallet display base 152 advantageously facilitates assembly of pallet display 100 by reducing the number of different elements that must be differentiated from one another and the different types of blanks required to be formed for assembly of pallet display 100. Accordingly, description of the formation of pallet fillers 150 is with reference to receiving section 160 and insert section 170 of pallet display base 152 of the exemplary embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6, with the understanding that other shapes and forms and configurations of pallet fillers are within the scope of the present invention.

Preferably, pallet fillers 150 are put into position over product display units 110 once product display units 110 have been arranged into the desired configuration of a completely assembled pallet display 100. With reference to the exemplary pallet fillers 150 of FIGS. 5 and 6, a receiving section 160 such as the receiving section 160 of pallet display base 152 has receiving platforms 162 in the form of wells 164 that may be placed over to receive the tops of product display units 110 which have been placed within the corresponding wells 164 of the receiving section 160 forming pallet display base 152. If desired, at least one of walls 166 may be contoured, such as by scalloping 167, to enhance the aesthetics of filler materials 150 as assembled over product display units 110. Spacer element 169 of pallet fillers 150 may assist spacer element 169 of pallet display base 152 in stabilizing product display units 110 whose positions are guided by pallet display 152. Insert section 170 may be coupled with receiving section 160 to form filler materials 150 in a manner similar to the coupling of such sections to form pallet display base 152. Although FIG. 6 illustrates positioning of filler materials 150 before positioning of product display units 110 with respect to insert sections 170 of pallet display base 152 and filler materials 150, it will be appreciated that all product display units 110 may be assembled with respect to pallet display base 152 before positioning filter materials 150 in the space remaining between the product display units 110 once positioned to form the assembled pallet display 100.

In accordance with yet another aspect of the invention, which optionally, though not necessarily, may be implemented in conjunction with any or several or none of the above-described inventive features, a pallet display may be formed to permit at least one product display unit to be disassembled from the rest of the pallet display and to be used for another type of product displaying purpose. As illustrated in the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 7, an individual product display unit 210, similar to or the same as a product display unit 110 making up pallet display 100 of FIG. 1, of a pallet display such as pallet display 100 may be disassembled from the assembled pallet display and used as a power wing (also known as a side wing or sidekick, all such terms denoting a product display designed to hang from a store fixture). Product display unit or power wing 210 of the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 7 is illustrated positioned along the side of an endcap 202 (merchandising space located substantially perpendicular to and at the end of a store aisle 200, such as the free end of a gondola fixture 204 typically having shelving 206 along two longer sides extending along a store aisle). Such placement of product display unit 210 permits products to be displayed at an end of a store aisle, where products are typically positioned for prominent display (shoppers readily view products along endcaps while walking down the main drive aisle of a store, particularly when passing by, but not going down, a series of aisles). Thus, although, as described above, a pallet display is generally positioned in a prominent location for sales, when a pallet display formed in accordance with this principle of the present invention is shopped down, a product display unit for remaining products is ready for placement at another prominent location for sales. Product display unit 210 can be placed at the aisle which is the home location for the product displayed by product display unit 210, or at the end of an aisle for related products for cross-merchandising purposes. It will be appreciated that such multi-function capability of a product display unit 110, 210 to be formed into an assembled pallet display 100 as well as to be used as an individual display unit, such as a power wing as illustrated in FIG. 7, renders a pallet assembly formed with such product display unit a sustainable design (i.e., an environmentally sustainable or environmentally conscious design).

Although pallet display 100 of FIG. 6 need not be formed of product display units 210 that may serve the multiple functions of being a part of an assembled pallet display as well as being capable of functioning as a separate product display unit (such as a power wing for mounting at an endcap), FIG. 6 nonetheless may be referenced for illustrating one manner of assembling a sustainable pallet display formed in accordance with the above principle of the present invention to have a multi-functional product display unit 110, 210. Insert section 170, used in the embodiment of FIG. 6 in both pallet display base 152 as well as pallet filler materials 150, may be equipped with connection elements 176 configured for separable connection of a product display unit 210 thereto. Connection elements 176 may be in any desired form known by those of ordinary skill in the art as capable of achieving the desired purpose of securing a product display unit 210 in place yet also permitting removal of a product display unit 210 for use as a side kick 210. In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 6, connection element 176 may be a recess shaped and configured to receive a first end 177 of a mounting clip 178. A recess may be provided in back wall 132 of product display unit 210 for mounting product display unit 210 on a second end 179 of mounting clip 178. A similar manner of mounting side kick 210 at an end cap may be used. Specifically, mounting clip 178 may remain on the back of side kick 210 and hooked onto a horizontal portion of a wire cage at an end cap.

It will be appreciated that the dimensions (e.g., height, width, depth) of a pallet display or a separable product display unit (to be used as another type of product displaying element such as a power wing) formed in accordance with the principles of the present invention may be set by the retailer. Accordingly, the present invention is not limited to specific dimensions and the various principles of the present invention may be applied to conform to dimensional requirements imposed by the industry. The total weight of a pre-loaded pallet display formed in accordance with the principles of the present invention may also be set by the retailer or government standards. Accordingly, features of the present invention relating to the weight of a pre-loaded pallet display formed in accordance with the principles of the present invention (such as the weight-bearing capability of the material from which a pallet display or at least a product shelf is formed) also are not limited by the present invention, but, instead, by retailers and/or the industry in general and/or the government or other regulatory officials.

It will be appreciated that features described with respect to one embodiment typically may be applied to another embodiment, whether or not explicitly indicated. Moreover, various features of the exemplary embodiments are to be understood as exemplary and may be modified as desired without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. For instance, although scalloping is illustrated along the edges of one or more of the upwardly extending side walls 166 of wells 164, such edges may be straight or otherwise shaped. Likewise, edges illustrated as straight in the exemplary embodiments may be scalloped or otherwise contoured. The top edge of the front lip 116 of each product display shelf 112 or individual product display tray 113 may not be horizontal, but, instead, may be shaped to include more information or images (such as appropriate for the product being displayed). It will further be appreciated that the various features hereinafter described may be used singly or in any combination thereof. Therefore, the present invention is not limited to only the embodiments specifically described herein.

While the foregoing description and drawings represent exemplary embodiments of the present invention, it will be understood that various additions, modifications and substitutions may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. In particular, it will be clear to those skilled in the art that the present invention may be embodied in other specific forms, structures, arrangements, proportions, and with other elements, materials, and components, without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. One skilled in the art will appreciate that the invention may be used with many modifications of structure, arrangement, proportions, materials, and components and otherwise, used in the practice of the invention, which are particularly adapted to specific environments and operative requirements without departing from the principles of the present invention. For example, elements shown as integrally formed may be constructed of multiple parts or elements shown as multiple parts may be integrally formed, the operation of elements may be reversed or otherwise varied, the size or dimensions of the elements may be varied. The presently disclosed embodiments are therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims, and not limited to the foregoing description.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8108270 *Jan 3, 2005Jan 31, 2012Sap AgMethod and system for product layout display using assortment groups
US20130081311 *Sep 28, 2012Apr 4, 2013The Procter & Gamble CompanyModular Display System
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/386
International ClassificationB65D19/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47F5/10, B65D71/0096, B65D19/44, A47F5/0018, A47F3/004
European ClassificationA47F3/00F, B65D19/44, A47F5/00C, A47F5/10, B65D71/00P1A
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 10, 2009ASAssignment
Owner name: JOHNSON & JOHNSON CONSUMER COMPANIES, INC., NEW JE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:TRUMBAUER, ANTHONY;MACCHI, DIEGO;AGALOPOULOS, STEVEN;SIGNING DATES FROM 20090526 TO 20090616;REEL/FRAME:023087/0608
Jun 22, 2009ASAssignment
Owner name: JOHNSON & JOHNSON CONSUMER COMPANIES, INC., NEW JE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:TRUMBAUER, ANTHONY;MAACHI, DIEGO;AGALOPOULOS, STEVEN;SIGNING DATES FROM 20090526 TO 20090616;REEL/FRAME:022933/0532