Tusco Display blog
Tusco Display blog

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Robots first began appearing in American manufacturing plants about 40 years ago but the pace has quickened considerably in the past 15 years. Today, it’s commonplace to see robotic positioning, vision systems, and automated machinery working alongside their human partners.

We are beginning to see the same thing happen in retail. Like the first manufacturing bots, retail robots are still relatively rare and sometimes clumsy, but they are coming for very similar reasons: ease of use, reliability, and lower cost. Retailers are investing an estimated $3.6B in artificial technology globally in 2019 and are expected to spend $12B by 2023, according to Juniper Research.

Kroger is building 20 robot-automated warehouses in the US. Several re...

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The first debates of the 2020 Presidential election cycle have just been aired. For the Democratic candidates, the challenge is to get noticed – in a positive way – swiftly and memorably. A few succeeded but most largely failed.

The imperative to get instantly noticed reminds me of what we do in support of brands seeking the “vote” of shoppers’
interest and dollars in stores. As shoppers walk the aisles, they speed date with thousands of products, each straining for attention, silently shouting with labels, scents, signs, and shapes to intrigue and entice us to notice them.

Let me illustrate the speedy science of displays in a few numbers:

Eight – On average, you have .8 of a second to attract your shopper...

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At Tusco, we strive for excellence through continuous improvement in everything we do, including how we understand and meet expectations of our clients. It’s baked into our ISO9001:2015 with Design quality management system.

But, boy, we can also screw things up. We once produced a spinner for a client selling wallpaper borders. The design and prototype worked flawlessly. At the last minute, the client asked, “Can you add another half-inch to every hook so we can squeeze one more product on them?” Eager to please, we did just that but didn’t test the revised design. What happened next? Units made it into the field but, when the unit was spun, the weight on each hook caused the product to cascade off like droplets f...

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Tusco Display has been at the display game for decades. The technology we employ, the people who work here, the materials we use, the clients we serve, have all changed over 70+ years.What HASN’T changed gets at the heart of who we are. We do work that matters for people who care. Frankly, we have seen clients come and go. Companies get gobbled up by others. People move production off shore. Those that go tend to be transactional buyers, people looking to lower their perceived costs, willing to move the business when it saves them a dime. There’s nothing wrong with that time-honored approach. Pushing us to deliver the best possible value includes the lowest possible cost.But those people don’t tend to be our people in t...

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Malls grew in importance during the 1960s as Americans became increasingly mobile, less urban, and more consumer-oriented and peaked in the 1980s.
Americans still spend most of their consumer dollars in physical stores. In 2018 Q4, online sales hit 10% of total consumer spending for the first time ever, leaving the bulk of purchases still conducted in stores. And when the shopper reaches the store, those retailers and brands better be ready to deliver.
We foresee several major trends impacting American shopping over the next five years:

  1. Shoppers will spend a growing proportion of their disposable income on experiences. Entertainment, dining, gaming, rock-climbing, etc will take precedence over buying more stuff. Thanks, Marie Kondo.
  2. Online apparel stores will overtake in-store department stores. Fast fashion retailers like Forever 21 and H&M clobbered Macy’s, Saks and Dillards. Those upstarts will now be hurt by the environmental impact of their short-lived apparel as well as fashion-on-demand players like Rent the Runway and Stitch Fix.
  3. Dollar store growth will peak and start to erode. We have reached near-saturation for that format. Family Dollar recently announced the closure of about 5% of their stores. We’ll see more closures and fewer openings in this channel.
  4. Average store footprints will continue to shrink. Better inventory control, rapid shipment options, and more focused offerings by applying AI to shopper trends will make stores better than ever at delivering the goods. And smaller stores like craft breweries and artisan shops are popping up in interesting places like town centers, able to compete online and access vendors globally. Shoppers want convenience, not a hike.

Malls had their heyday. American retail changes as consumers, technology, and demographics change. That dynamism means relentless searches for better ways to serve shoppers. Dynamic in-store merchandising st...

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For 2018, US retail sales saw a 15% increase in online purchases and five percent growth for in-store sales, too. That’s good news for companies selling to consumers and a sign of a healthy economy. As population and average incomes grow, so does the consumer economy.Study after study show that 80%+ of American shoppers pre-shop on their devices for significant purchases. They do their homework online to check prices, options and product availability and then plan their visit, e.g., “I’ll swing by the store on my way home from work.” If it’s a larger, bulkier product, they may need to plan even what vehicle to use to bring the product home. According to a recent Salesforce study, 71% of shoppers want to leav...

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New Year celebrations date back 4000+ years to Babylon. Resolutions themselves go back to 153 B.C. when Janus, a mythical king of early Rome, was placed at the head of the calendar. The Romans named the first month of the year after this god of beginnings, doors, and entrances. Janus was always depicted with two faces, one on the front of his head and one on the back so he could look backward and forward at the same time. We do the same every Jan 1.

The year just past saw the passing of retail nameplates Toy’s’R’Us, Sears, Bon-Ton, Mattress Firm and David’s Bridal. Roughly 30 retail chains filed for bankruptcy, down from 44 in 2017 and over 400 back in 2008. In fact, according to IHL group, 2018 saw a net INCREASE ...

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Have you noticed? Black Friday crept into Thanksgiving Thursday a few years back, shocking some, burdening retail employees while pleasing many shoppers eager to leave dirty dishes and Dallas Cowboys at home. Cyber Monday made its appearance in 2005. Then #GivingTuesday came on the scene in 2012, tugging on our heartstrings to atone for the commercialization and consumerism of post-Thanksgiving.

In a race to attract your attention and gain your business, retailers and brands alike have pushed Black Friday deals out earlier and earlier, many appearing as soon as our calendars turn to November, especially this year with an early US Thanksgiving. Why the rush? Marketers know that those who spend earlier tend to spend more. Those early &ldquo...

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In business, everyone knows about ROI: Return on Investment. Surprisingly, many display clients don’t explicitly think about ROI. We think this is a mistake.Often brands feel pressure to provide “free” merchandising equipment to gain entrée into a retailer. Brands willingly spend it because it invariably increases sales. The best marketers use Return on Merchandising Investment (ROMI) to measure the bang for their buck.Beyond the specifics of doing matched-store tests, A/B testing and similar research techniques, we encourage clients to carefully consider the key cost-side variables like design development, equipment, graphics, logistics, time to install, maintenance, restocking, refreshing the unit, and eventual...

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As most of you know, Tusco just passed our ISO9001:2015 with Design Stage I audit. We have invested a great deal of effort in upgrading our quality management system, so we can confidently deliver products on-time, on-spec and on-budget for our clients. A successful Stage II audit later this year will allow us to join an elite group of display producers with such a designation.Friday, Oct 5th is MFG Day, established to celebrate and promote manufacturing careers, especially among the next generation. The United States remains the highest producer of gross domestic product per person in the world – by a wide margin. Taken alone, US manufacturing would be the ninth-largest economy in the world. Tusco is proud to contribute to that su...

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