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In-store in Shanghai and Peking

We just came back from the world, where we went for another in-store adventure with the traditional goal to get inspired and check out new trends in P.O.P. communication. This time, we headed for China. First we visited C-star Trade Fair organized by Messe Düsseldorf that also organized Euroshop. And we also went to real Chinese stores. Our experience was completely opposite.

Where is Socialism

China nicely surprised us with its refinement, standard of living, plenitude of all goods and orderliness. In Shanghai, there are available all global brands, including the retail ones. You can see Starbucks and McDonald on every corner and smart phones in almost every hand.

Advertisements appeal to you every step, for example through LCD monitors. They are being installed even in headrests of old taxi cabs. Make you wonder what is actually socialistic in China. It gives an impression of totally consumer and capitalist society.

Part 1: At the biggest Asian Trade Fair of Retail Solution “Shanghai C-star”, Chinese disappointed with lack of innovations. The Trade Fair C-star excelled only with digital retail services.
“Shanghai´s International Trade Fair for Solutions and Trends all about Retail” – that was the full name of the Trade Fair that is supposed to be the biggest in Asia. There were 162 exhibitors from 23 countries. Approximately a third of them were companies from the world, mainly from Europe. The rest were Chinese.

Compared to Euroshop Düsseldorf or Globalshop Las Vegas, this event was much smaller. The whole Trade Fair took place in just one large hall. Chinese expositions were of a relatively poor standard. We reaffirmed ourselves in the impression of Chinese we had at Euroshop or Globalshop, where they were behind from the innovative point of view as to design and technologies. They could not create the atmosphere and make the impression of invested energy and creativity.

The only thing that interested us were digital retail solution services – CRM, logistic processes management, etc. The biggest innovation in the field of traditional hardware were just moving models and lighting technologies.

All the more we were surprised by the high standard of in-store communication in Shanghai stores when we went to visit them. You can read what we have exactly seen and how we can learn from China in the 2nd part of the reportage.

While C-star rather disappointed us, the standard of P.O.P. communication and sales culture in Chinese stores are surprisingly high, it seems that even appreciably higher than in the Czech Republic. Also globalization and consumerism are in full effort in China. We saw no deficit as to the offer or quality compared to Europe. It was similar in the case of prices. To see also Chinese in-store communication in practice, we visited Makro, Carrefour, Lotus and Tesco stores and several traditional local stores in Shanghai and Peking, and we will share our impressions with you within the lines below.


Well-arranged spaces. Shelves full of goodsSystematic execution of P.O.P. media. Smiling shop-assistants. Makro made a good first impression on us with all this. Spaces between shelves and aisles are spacious causing good feeling. So that sporadically dislocated P.O.P media do not obstruct anyone and excel with their oneness.

Ubiquitous navigation facilitates maximum orientation within assortment. It bothered us that this trend still did not arrive to the Czech Republic. As thought retailers think that despite researches disoriented customers buy more.

We were also impressed with discount mechanism. We saw only two such mechanisms in the store. The first one was “Buy 3 pcs and you get 5% discount” that they applied almost in every category. And the second one “Buy 1 and you get 1 for free” was applied for pastry packages, fruit or vegetables. There were no other discount prices communicated within the store.  

The whole Shanghai Marko was extremely clean. By the entrance, the staff even helped to put umbrellas into bags to prevent dripping water all over the store. The willingness of shop-assistants was great. We had no problems taking some pictures in the store. And there were enough of them to be nearby all the time. And when we asked the cashier how to get a taxi to take us to another store, she sent the other customers waiting behind us to another queue and ordered a taxi using her Samsung application to take us to Carrefour. Another reason China scored and made us to think of our domestic market.


Here, we saw a lot of P.O.P. media, but in the right places. Displays were almost always placed by sides of end caps having a temperate dimensions, or they created well-arranged groups of islands with decorated palette positions where there is space for them, they are relevant and do not obstruct. The whole store gives an intentional and refined impression. Media are being used for creating an atmosphere and can pinpoint an interesting offer.

Carrefour cleverly used pillars. Almost every one was used for marketing communication and sales. Goods in sales were positioned by the entrance to the store and later there were mainly offers of “membership prices” within the loyalty system. A set of monitors has been installed in the store to catch the attention of customers.

Everywhere, there were absolutely relevant parasitic exposures within ubiquitous cross category sales. Again, we were pleased by nice, fully supplied and systematically deployed palette decoration groups throughout the store. In delicatessen department, Chinese always have something resembling street fast food stands giving the proper atmosphere to the environment.

Also the section with fruit and vegetables looks more like a marketplace. Also thanks to nicely arranged high-quality looking goods and number of shop-assistants supporting customers.

In the confectionery department, they apply the concept “pick and mix” together with a permanent P.O.P. elements of brands within shelves. That is how the atmosphere of “sweet world of confectionery” is created.

The overall atmosphere of the store was as it should be. The store employees take good care of goods and environment. It gives an impression of confidence. It seems that Chinese are much closer to USA, the “cradle” of in-store communication, but they do everything on their own. Arts, orderliness, discipline as well as business are probably in the genetic code in Chinese and they apparently draw from traditions of their own culture.


Lotus is a local more luxury retailer. We called him “a better Billa” for ourselves.  Even here, we see the ubiquitous cross merchandising, giant offer while everything is well-arranged and in good order. There were many applications in the store, but we did not feel oversaturation as often within the Czech market. The permanent as well as the temporary ones were deployed systematically, excelled, inspired and caused pleasant sensation as to the assortment as well as execution within the store space.

Here we found out that LCD monitors show exactly the same loop of TV commercials in all store chains and thus remind customers what they know from common broadcasting. Again we were impressed with pillars. As if Chinese build them on purpose to use them as P.O.P. media. Even here, we were not oversaturated with discount prices and their indication on shelves – we saw just few discount stoppers and wobblers.

Everything we bought was good. Whether it was a pineapple, ready-made meal or nuts. It seems that Chinese select their assortment better and understand that customers are unforgiving. Perhaps, they are more challenging than Czech customers.

Our positive experience with shop assistants recurred again. When taking pictures, a shop-assistant hurried up to me and offered me to take a picture of me with shelves instead of asking me to delete the pictures as I expected. They are always watching what you are doing for a while and when they find out that you are interested in their store environment, they are nice and helpful. Why taking pictures is such a problem in Czech stores? Is it some leftover paranoia from the past?


We saw displays by end-cap sides as always. Customers are used to it and such display has a clear institutional position. Moreover, it does not obstruct not being installed in inappropriate, irrelevant places.

Within each section, there are traditionally discount islands with the potential to start an emotional game, provide a value and a feeling of a various offer. It does not obstruct, while being a tool for entertainment and making fast purchase decisions. P.O.P. media are usually not where you expect them. And they carry clear messages. For example, P.O.P. media for air-conditioning units evoke coldness.

The store broke up surfaces of shelves using display-cases and shop-in-shops of selected brands, which have enriched product sections with emotions and attractiveness. When organizing the store space, there have been apparently used also security tapes indicating fire-protection zones stuck on the floor and specifying where goods and marketing communication may not be.

We were impressed also with 3D elements being often positioned on palettes. They could easily surprise and attract attention.

10 things we can draw inspiration from in Chinese stores

  1. Displays and palettes are installed in unified places, in systematic and tidy groups within product sections or main aisles.
  2. Ubiquitous cross category sale using fully relevant hanging or floor parasitic exposures.
  3. Chinese retailers regularly use 3D elements as an original accessory for palette exposures.
  4. The marketed products give an impression of a mutual symbiosis. They do not fight cheaply and ruthlessly with each other over the sales area – they complement each other.
  5. There have expanded permanent P.O.P. media “sidekicks” – secondary exposures fixed on the sides of end-caps.
  6. Chinese creatively and practically use pillars and similar construction elements in stores.
  7. They often use visuals of people or animals on P.O.P. Na P.O.P. Thus they cleverly create emotional simulations, disturb and catch the attention.
  8. Monitors in stores connected to the areal cross market medial network are being used as a unified space for current TV spots.
  9. Everything is well-arranged, clear, fully supplied. P.O.P. media are installed where they should be. They carry relevant message and do not obstruct.
  10. Employees are smiling, helpful and professional.

Your DAGO team


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