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Eleven Tips for Building an Effective Bulk Display at Your Truckstop

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators, Marketing & Retail


Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators

Eleven Tips for Building an Effective Bulk Display at Your Truckstop

If you want to sell product that drives retail sales, you need to BE in the business.

Some locations establish they are business of a particular category by creating power aisles and others create power walls, but the simplest, easiest to execute and often the most effective tool is a bulk stack program.

As you know, items that sell well in bulk displays are 40-quart thermoelectric coolers, gallons of water, additives, TVs, 12pks of this and 12pks of that, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) jugs, etc. If you are creative, you can really bulk stack almost anything.

You really can generate additional sales if you have the right product properly merchandised in floor bulk displays. 

However, bulk displays can easily go wrong. Follow my eleven tips for building effective bulk displays to effectively utilize this type of retail display:

  1. As I was once mentored, think of bulk stack programs like they are your own department store windows where shoppers and buyers alike wonder what the next visit to your operation will bring.

    Be sure to get creative—bulk stack programs allow you to introduce and test new products without using up valuable high-performing retail shelf space. But be smart too. Make sure they speak to your customer's wants and needs.

  2. Bulk displays are great for selling seasonal and holiday items. Use these highly-visible displays to celebrate holidays with your customers, endearing them to you and creating an association between your location with holiday and seasonal fare. Examples include deer food during hunting season, firewood at the beginning of winter and 7-up, ginger ale and punch bowls during the holiday party season.

    As always, be sure to work with your vendor well in advance of the holiday to create a great promotional program with their marketing assistance. (Read How to Take Advantage of Holiday Traffic at Your Truckstop for more holiday tips.)

  3. Do not decorate your bulk displays with hand-written signs. Instead, work with your vendor to create professional, well-done promotional pieces.

  4. Bulk displays can easily become a dumping ground. Be sure your vendors know that they can’t just dump stacks of soda wherever they want in the store. Vendors would not do this for a Walmart, for example, and you should consider it unacceptable.

    Instead, designate specific areas for bulk displays.

    If you need to raise the product off the sales floor, ensure that it is not done simply by turning over some old crates and displaying merchandise on top of them. Unless, of course, that is the retail theme of your location and you are going for that thrown together look.

  5. Bulk stack programs can create multiple destinations within your retail environment. When done properly they can be used to steer customers to areas within your retail operation that are often not shopped because they are out-of-site and therefore out-of-mind. 

  6. Review the display at set-up every day to make sure it is well-stocked.

  7. Don’t build displays too tall. They should not interfere with your customers’ sight lines. This is particularly important if your customer base is shoppers. Remember, a shopper IS different than a buyer.

  8. As with all displays, it should be clean and well organized. Furthermore if it dusty, something is not right. Reevaluate the product or price.

  9. This one is important—be sure there is a clearly marked price displayed for all items in the display. It should always be easy for your customers to know what the retail price of your product is overall. Truckstop customers especially are often in a rush and you should not expect them to take the time to find out the price of an item. Even those that are shopping do not enjoy price searching. 

  10. Similarly, be sure several of each of item is accessible to buy. For example, if you have a bulk display of soda multipacks, be sure customers can easily take a pack of every variety.

  11. As with all merchandising, be sure to walk into the store as a customer would and view the display. Would it entice you to buy something?

/// Read more Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators posts here.  



Join the conversation! Tell us what you think works well in a bulk display. Even better send me a picture to and we'll show them here on the blog. 

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.