From theme table to table stage – storytelling at PoS

An innovation at the Mr. Books & Mrs. Paper 2019 special show enables the creation of impressive product presentations in no time, producing new and exciting shopping experiences. Five best-practice examples show how it works.

Captivated visitors follow a book presentation at a table stage.

The table stage is an amazingly simple solution, which allows retailers to open up a presentation area anywhere in the salesroom: Simple tables are effortlessly transformed into creative playgrounds for inspiring product presentations. Basically, the stage consists of a fine metal frame that elegantly spans the table and allows products, decorations or additional lighting to be suspended from above. The matt black material is only approx. 15mm thick but is extremely strong and retreats unobtrusively into the background. Viewed from a distance, the table presentation appears elegantly framed. The structure is clamped to the side of the tabletop in the same way as a simple desk lamp. An interesting variation results if the frame is placed at the rear rather than centrally above the table. It can then be used to create a backdrop to the stage with the addition of some good-looking wrapping paper or similar.

Among stationery items, a brown leather soccer ball sits on a table stage.

Creating variety and interest at PoS

Lightweight mobiles or other movable objects, an elegant branch with a chain of lights, a designer light on a textile cable, cloth bags or dish towels, a magnetic string with postcards, photos, quotations … The possibilities for suspending goods, decorations or lighting above the table stage are endless. Even a single object at eye level can be used as an original eye-catcher to draw attention to the table where new, surprising product images can easily be created and inspiring stories told. One of the best things about the table stage is the creative energy it releases: The range of possibilities gives free rein to a wealth of presentation ideas.

From Paperworld to the world

“Everybody is talking about storytelling, but hardly anyone has any idea what it should look like at PoS,” says Angelika Niestrath, curator of Mr. Books & Mrs. Paper. “That’s why at the special show in 2019 we wanted to present a simple and universally applicable solution that can be used by any retailer to create impressive presentations.” The prototype, which was created for Paperworld based on Niestrath’s ideas, was deliberately designed for small tables where new stories can be told in quick succession using just a few products. In the meantime, the manufacturer FLUHR has further developed the concept and is marketing it to retailers under the name DecoFrame. The crossbar of the DecoFrame has been flexibly designed so that the stage can be used on tables of different sizes.

An overview of Mr. Books & Mrs. Paper's stand utilizing many table stages at Paperworld.

Why presentation is important

A store where customers pay an admission fee before they enter the salesroom? It sounds unbelievable, but it’s already happing at the world’s shopping hotspots like NYC and Tokyo! And even if such a thing seems (still) hardly imaginable here in Germany, it is a strong signal of the rapidly growing importance of presentation in high-street retail. In the future, the shopping experience itself will become a commodity with a monetary value. Since products and information have now become available online at all times, more and more people are increasingly meeting their daily needs via the Internet. As a result, the role of the specialist retailer is also changing. Local shops with as wide a range of products as possible are no longer in demand – instead, customers demand inspiration and entertainment. Careful curating is the order of the day. Lifestyle shoppers expect special product assortments with individual and surprising touches. They want to engage in a voyage of discovery and come away ideally with the feeling of having found something quite unique.

Tables stacked with standard products on eye-catching themes such as “barbecues” or “weddings” come nowhere near meeting these new demands. What is wanted are carefully thought-out presentations that focus on selected items and illuminate them in a special way – and they need to change frequently! In particular, those customers who often visit the store (i.e. those whose attention is most valuable to the retailer) should be able to discover something new every time they visit. However, conventional shop design often relies more on merchandise density than on creativity. Many presentation stands allow for only one way of displaying products and leave no room for playful creativity. Here, the table stage offers a universally and flexibly applicable solution that literally invites you to play.

Illustration of best practice examples

Best practice: storytelling at POS (PDF, 5,1 MB)

Angelika Niestrath

Originally a bookseller, Angelika Niestrath has made a name for herself as an expert in supplementary product ranges. In 2006, she founded the Non-book Area at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Since 2013 she has been responsible for designing the special show Mr. Books & Mrs. Paper at Frankfurt Paperworld and since 2018 the exhibitor platform Paper & Friends at Tendence.