10 Problems With Manufacturing Offshore – Your Retail Display Project Can Cost You More Than Dollars

Just about any product you want to buy can be purchased from overseas sources, even your custom retail display, however, there are problems with manufacturing offshore. While buying products made offshore can cost you less money, you may end up paying in other ways.

Problems With Manufacturing Offshore - 10 Ways Your Project Could Suffer

  1. Lower Standards of Quality

    Offshore manufacturers may rely on unskilled, poorly paid workers and subpar materials. Quality control could be an issue. When standards are lower, the quality and appearance of your crucial marketing material may be at risk. Technical standards may not pass Canadian requirements.

  2. Different Laws and Customs

    Overseas manufacturers may not follow the same laws, customs and regulations that are standard here in Canada. Even if you sign a contract, your agreement might not be sufficiently protected. There may be import and/or export restrictions at either end of the transaction. Remember as well that Canadian consumers may balk if you use suppliers with shady business practices. In addition, you may find a correlation between prices and regulation levels.

  3. Project Delays

    If your carefully designed retail display arrives in poor condition or doesn’t look the way you expected it to look, you may have little recourse. Even if the manufacturer sends a replacement, your project could face significant delays. Likewise, your international shipment could be held up in transit or at customs. Your transaction may require freight forwarders or import agents, which may take the timeline out of your hands.

  4. Shipping and Insurance Costs

    You may incur significant shipping and insurance costs for goods travelling a long distance and across borders. Also, you will need to be sure to find out who is responsible for insurance costs at each stage of transit and who is liable if the product causes harm or loss.

  5. Communication Breakdowns

    If you are dealing with a supplier for whom English is a second language, you may have difficulty communicating via phone, email and printed materials. Communication breakdowns can result in misunderstandings and potentially costly errors.

  6. Time Difference

    If your supplier is in a different timezone, efficient communication can be an issue. While you and your employees are at work, your supplier is at rest and vice versa. This can result in project delays.

  7. No Face-to-Face Introductions

    Never underestimate the comfort of an in-person meeting. An on-site meeting allows you to look at the supplier’s previous work and judge the quality. You can also get a look at the production equipment and processes. This is often not a possibility when you’re dealing with overseas manufacturers. Having a local contact who you can count on makes doing future business easier.

  8. No Access to Work in Progress

    If your custom retail display is being built in China, you likely won’t be able to check on its progress in person. You won’t be able to detect any potential problems and the finished work may not be what you expected.

  9. Complicated Paperwork

    As with any important transaction, you will need to draw up a clear, detailed written agreement. This may be more complicated when working with overseas suppliers, because of language barriers and the need to include information about currency, exchange rates, payment methods, trading terms, conflict resolution, delivery and legal jurisdiction.

  10. Complex Payments

    Payment methods can be more complex for international transactions. You may have options such as payment in advance, with a letter of credit, with a bill of exchange or by invoicing. You will have to balance the risks against your supplier’s expectations. Avoid advanced payments or long-term contracts until you trust the supplier. In addition, currency prices can fluctuate between the time of the deal and time of delivery.

Middleton Group’s skilled sales staff and craftspeople are available for face-to-face meetings and facility tours. Dealing with us ensures that you are fully involved in the entire process of creating your quality retail display. Contact us today to set up a meeting.


Our Latest Project – Yamaha Headphone Display

Since 1887 Yamaha has been known for creating beautiful sound. Today, Yamaha has grown to be the largest manufacture of musical instruments. Aside from instruments, Yamaha Music is also known for its professional audio equipment, and the new line of Yamaha headphones is no different.

“Both a luxury and an investment, Yamaha's PRO 500 headphones deliver rich bass and a wide stereo field, easily earning our Editors' Choice award,” stated PC MAG, rating the headphones as excellent.

Launching a new line of luxury headphones is not an easy task, especially in a market flooded with competitors. For this project Middleton Group was asked to help produce a Yamaha headphone display that would not only sample two sets of headphones but also a DTA (Desktop Audio) component.

Using a combination of cost effective materials and high quality creative, Middleton Group created a lightweight cost impactful floor display that could be easily moved around the store and also allow the consumer to sample the headphones.

So, if you are in the market for a new set of high quality, professional sounding headphones, visit your local electronics store and test out the new Pro Series Yamaha headphones.



Effective Store Displays: Top 5 Ways To Engage the Ad-weary Consumer

With the astounding number of advertisements vying for consumer attention today, effective store displays are a crucial tool for any business that wants their product or service to stand out from the rest. And what business doesn’t?

When you’re creating point-of-purchase-displays, you no doubt hope to engage passersby and create curiosity about your product. You can succeed by incorporating these proven elements for effective display merchandising.

Top 5 Elements of Effective Store Displays

1. Proper Positioning

Place the largest item in your store displays first and then place the other items around it in an eye-pleasing fashion. Resist the urge to balance objects symmetrically. Asymmetrical placement is less boring and will attract more attention. Take time to experiment with position and ask others to stand back and offer opinions.

2. Colour

“In most cases, store display colours are dictated by a company’s branding,” notes Middleton Group designer Thomas Bonnick. “Like all company communications, merchandising displays are best produced in corporate colours. If a company hasn’t yet selected specific colours, I’ll look to previous communication materials and the business website.”

In general, displays are created using one or two colours, with variations in shades. Middleton Group’s Thomas the Tank Engine retail display is an example of this. The entire display is mainly red and blue. The colour scheme, combined with Thomas’s friendly face as a focal point, makes for eye-catching retail merchandising.

While adults tend to be comfortable with familiar colours, children haven’t developed as many colour associations. They respond to bright primary colours. That’s why these colours are so often used by successful children’s retailers.

3. Focal Point

While you want consumers to see every part of your carefully designed store displays, make sure you have a strong focal point. The focal point will grab people’s attention, so they are motivated to look at the rest of the display. You could choose an item that is currently popular with shoppers or a product with an attractive discount. Depending on the type of product you are highlighting, you can create a focal point using riser pads or varying heights. As a general rule, an item closest to the viewer or in the centre position will be the focal point.

4. Lighting

Accentuate your focal point with lighting. Create a glowing effect by lighting a product from below or try a spotlight effect by directing a light from above.

5. Simplicity

While you want to stand out from the crowd, remember that less is more. Don’t overwhelm the eye by placing too many different items in your store displays.

While these general rules are a good place to start, we all know that rules are made to be broken. There’s an art to retail merchandising that can’t always be explained. Find out how Middleton Group’s artists can help you with your retail merchandising by contacting us.

Large Format Graphics - How Big is Big Enough

Large Format Graphics: How Big is Big Enough?

When it comes to the size of large format graphics, the sky’s the limit. While a large format piece is generally considered to be anything 3-feet by 5-feet or more, our printing capabilities allow us to create graphics that are much larger.

In the store or out on the street, a sign is only effective if people notice it. When creating impactful signage, you have several tricks at your disposal, including emphasizing key words with colour, including different letter sizes and choosing appropriate fonts.

But you can create all of the eye-catching design elements you want – if the sign is too small, none of these other features will matter. Whether indoors or out, you want your advertising pieces to be large enough for optimum visibility. There’s no question large format pieces can be effective sales tools. But how big is big enough?

How to Size Your Signs

Although there are no hard and fast rules, signs should be sized appropriately for the expected viewing distance. Most large format pieces are viewed from afar. They might be high up on a store wall or seen from a moving car. If a passerby is unable to read a sign quickly and easily, they might just give up trying.

When sizing your large format pieces, consider who is going to be reading your sign and how far away they will be. Will they be on foot or driving a car? It’s a good idea to consider how crowded the area surrounding your piece will be and whether it will be near to any competing advertising. You’ll want your piece to be big enough to ensure that your audience gets your message.

Think about how many words and letters you’re using. As a rule of thumb, you’ll need about an inch of letter height for every 10 feet of viewing distance. So, your viewer should be able to read a 5-inch letter from 50 feet away. Once you know how big your smallest letter should be, you’ll have a better idea of how large the piece must be to accommodate your text and graphics.

Need Help?

Obviously the size of your large format pieces will affect the price. We can help you determine the appropriate size for while working within your budget.

Our state-of-the-art printing equipment means we can print high quality, large pieces in no time at all. Fortunately for our customers, new technology means our limitations are few – we can print on virtually any material, from plastic to vinyl to metal to fabric.

For over 60 years, Middleton Group has been providing North America’s leading brands with quality large format graphics, including wayfinding signs, window and wall signage, banners and retractable banners. Our attention to quality, value, speed and service has earned us recognition as a leading supplier of screen and digitally printed large format graphics.

We would love to answer your questions. Contact us here.