Globalshop Chicago 2013 Success – Evidence of Retail a Merchandising Turnaround?

After a number of years in Las Vegas, Globalshop returns to Chicago, and the turnaround from the downfall of 2008 is finally evident. It was exciting to be there and, from what I could tell, companies are once again investing in retail merchandising.

Globalshop seems happy with ongoing turnaround as is evidenced by increased attendance over past years.

GlobalShop Show Director Tim Fearney said that 2013 marks the third consecutive year the show has seen double-digit growth in qualified attendance. Attendance grew by 11 percent in both 2011 and 2012. In 2012 GlobalShop was named the Fastest Growing Trade Show by Attendance by the Trade Show News Network (TSNN).

“New events and innovative features on the expo floor attracted a number of attendees this year who either hadn’t experienced GlobalShop before, or hadn’t been to the show in several years,” Fearney said. “They were treated to a packed exhibit hall with six pavilions and showcases highlighting different aspects of retail design. These included the Design Inspiration Showcase for retail design firms and the Retail Design Collective Showcase for suppliers with Manhattan showrooms.”

From my point of view, it was refreshing to see the efforts and creativity that were put into this year’s POPAI entries. Everything from temporary corrugated to full merchandising systems were represented. It was evident through the design and use of materials that budget is no longer the only concern when developing retail displays.

As a designer, it is very encouraging to see that companies are refocusing their marketing efforts when it comes to in-store displays. This is in part because retailers are allowing brands to create impactful displays and giving them the space to do so. Take a look at the gallery to see some of the highlights from the 2013 POPAI entries.

Another highlight from the show was this year’s visual merchandising contest which was to design a freestanding display that featured a current brand of headphones. The finalists were showcased at Globalshop and the designs were fantastic.

One of the most interesting entries was the Bob Marley Display. It was a great example of how a material can represent a brand, in this case OSB (pressboard) - an inexpensive material typically used in the construction industry. Other cool entries were a slim design for Bang & Ollsen, a bold entry for Tim McGraw by JBL and a condo-like design for a brand called Urbanears. Please visit the link to see the gallery of entries:

It’s a contest like this that really demonstrates the design and creativity skills in our industry. But I’d like to see one minor change. It’s my opinion that holding a contest using a brand with an upcoming product launch would generate more buzz for the event. The company could provide a detailed brief outlining guidelines and budgets. The finalists would build a prototype for the show. In this scenario the best design wins the production job. I think this could create some major excitement for the show.

For more information on Globalshop 2013 or the upcoming Globalshop 2014 in Las Vegas, visit

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