How to create sustainable visual merchandising displays like a pro


Sustainability is high on everyone’s agenda right now. We’re all much more aware of how our actions impact the wider environment, and it’s no different in retail. Shoppers and consumers are looking at brands and retailers with a closer eye, to make sure the products they buy are not going to have a negative environmental impact.

Brands and retailers need to meet these demands, as well as demonstrate a commitment to sustainability that goes beyond a box-ticking exercise. Equally, while it’s commendable to have a brilliant sustainability strategy, you do need to tell your customers about it! Letting them know what you’re doing, and what you plan to do, will help to build brand loyalty and make you very appealing!

And this commitment needs to be reflected in all you do. Claiming green credentials and then using decidedly un-green materials and practices for your retail displays is counterproductive and against the spirit of sustainability.

This is where we can help. Working with your visual merchandising, category design and retail planning teams, we can help you find the best ways to convey your brand and products while simultaneously showing your dedication to sustainability. We have an entire ECO range of sustainable materials that are perfect for in-store displays.

Point-of-sale and in-store displays are clearly essential drivers to bring shoppers in to make a purchase. So we need to think not about reducing display but about using it more smartly, changing the culture of the retail industry to prevent campaigns ending up in landfill.

So, how can brands effectively master the art of sustainable and strategic visual merchandising displays?

Use sustainable retail materials 

Fortunately, the world is moving away from unsustainable display materials as there are plenty of environmentally friendly options out there. We have tried and tested them all, and developed an exclusive range of ECO products.

Stretched fabric displays are perfect for point of sale and in-store activations. Here, being able to replace graphics and change campaigns quickly and easily is a big plus for brands and retailers. Our aluminium frames are 100% recyclable, and the fabrics are made from recycled bottles which can be recycled after use too, along with the welt-edge.

We’re really proud to offer PVC-free fabric graphics. Indeed, you won’t find any harmful materials or chemicals in our fabric graphics at all. While being better for the environment, these materials offer the same quality as traditional materials, an added benefit.

For signage, wayfinding and point of sale boards, our sustainable PVC alternative is UV resistant, won’t warp, fade, or discolour and can be easily recycled in mixed plastics. It’s also lightweight but extremely robust, scratch-proof and heat resistant.

These are just a few examples. We offer sustainable alternatives for all our most popular materials, including those to create window graphics, floor vinyl and magnetic displays.

We can also offer sustainable alternatives to visual merchandising props and decor, like Superdry’s snowy window display!

Superdry’s ‘Snow’ campaign used sustainable display snow to not only add to the theatre of the flagship store campaign, but also as a practical solution to hide cables on the floor. The display snow could be completely recycled after use.

Superdry Snow window display London

Recycle displays after use

Recycling graphics post-campaign is important. We’re working with several of our regular clients to recycle graphics that are removed from stores, returning them to our production sites in Essex or Hertfordshire every time we replace them with new ones. This means there’s no associated carbon footprint.

We can access a number of recycling channels from our premises (more than would be available direct from the store) so we can recycle more and divert as much waste as possible from landfill.

As part of Nike’s commitment to sustainability, their stores use several back-lit and front-lit fabric frames that, after use, can be recycled into equestrian menage and training ground chippings that create a smooth and shock-resistant floor covering for horses.

Repurpose retail displays

This is a great way of breathing new life into old displays. If you have any displays you’re decommissioning from store, before you get rid of them, ask yourself: could I repurpose these into our next visual merchandising display?

For example, if you have finished with any seasonal or campaign displays, could any of the features be reimagined to fit into your new campaign or the new season?

Another approach is to use permanent displays. These are essentially ‘white labelled’ which means brands can repurpose them easily and effectively for their new campaign. These robust displays are built to last within the in-store environment, too.

Upcycle materials into display props and features

Upcycling essentially means reusing or enhancing the old to create something new, a trend that has become ultra-popular with things like clothes and accessories. And one which is also easily applied to in-store display mechanics and visual merchandising displays.

Here’s a great opportunity to get creative and playful. Look to your raw materials: could you create a really enticing feature or podium to highlight your products and draw shopper attention? Or you could try mixing it up. Shoppers like surprises and placing something unexpected or unusual in your visual merchandising display is a clever way to disrupt.

Superdry is a great example of upcycling raw materials into visual merchandising props. In their flagship activation to promote their Neymar Jnr. X Organic Cotton range, the brand used driftwood suspended from the window rigging to create unique hanging rail displays.

Shout about being sustainable

Sustainable practices should be adopted by all organisations. But there’s nothing wrong with making it clear that you’re living your values. In fact, for brands, it can be a decisive way of attracting and retaining customers. Shoppers notice things that denote sustainability, however subtle: messages about recyclable/recycled materials, for example.

Much of the focus on sustainability has actually been driven by consumers. Brands would be unwise to underestimate the power of clear and well-communicated sustainability features in their products, supply chain and processes. In particular, the Gen Z consumer is driving this conversation, influencing their parents and grandparents in their sustainable shopping habits too.

With consumers from all generations now willing to pay more for sustainable products, brands and retailers need to make sure they keep sustainability firmly at the top of their agenda.

Partner with a creative retail display activation and large format print agency with a focus on ECO (that’s us!)

When it comes to sustainability in retail, there is nothing to lose and absolutely everything to gain. We have a strong focus on everything ECO and we’ve even developed our own recycling initiatives. Check out our ECO focus

By scheduling a meeting to discover our ECO range, we’re offering to plant a tree in your name using The National Trust’s planting scheme. We’ll present you with a certificate to let you know your tree has been planted and that you have contributed to The National Trust’s ambition to plant and establish 20 million trees by 2030. All you need to do is visit:

Make sustainable VM part of your DNA

Becoming, and staying, sustainable is now something that needs to be in the DNA of every organisation. We all have an obligation to play our part in protecting our planet, and with so many eco-friendly alternatives in terms of materials and processes, it’s not difficult for brands to make the switch to a greener solution. The commercial benefits are big, too, with an increasing number of shoppers actively researching the environmental credentials of brands and products before committing to buy.

Are you ready to create sustainable visual merchandising displays? Drop us a line on or call us on 01920 461244.

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