Title:
Method of replenishing product for retail in a merchandising display
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of replenishing a merchandising display and a merchandising display each requires the product to be displayed for sale be loaded into modular receptacles at the manufacturer and that a merchandising display for receiving the modular receptacles be shipped to a retailer. The retailer then loads the modular receptacles containing product into the merchandising display and eventually replenishes the merchandising display once the product is depleted.



Inventors:
Bauman, Cindy A. (Hilton, NY, US)
Zogg, Edward (Ontario, NY, US)
Durkin, Gaylynn F. (Rochester, NY, US)
Schum, Gary W. (Alexander, NY, US)
Application Number:
09/940206
Publication Date:
02/27/2003
Filing Date:
08/27/2001
Assignee:
Eastman Kodak Company
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F1/14; A47F3/00; (IPC1-7): B65B5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HO, TARA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Thomas H. Close, Patent Legal Staff (Rochester, NY, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. Method of replenishing articles in a merchandising display for retail, said merchandising display having at least one modular receptacle, comprising the steps of: from a product manufacturer, providing articles for sale in said at least one modular receptacle for shipment to a retailer; from a fabricator, providing said merchandising display to said retailer for containing said articles for sale; at said retailer, stocking said articles for sale in said at least one modular receptacle of said merchandising display; and, displaying said articles for sale in said modular receptacle of said merchandising display.

2. The method recited in claim 1 wherein after the step of displaying, the step of replenishing said articles depleted from said merchandising display.

3. The method recited in claim 1 wherein said step of providing said merchandising display includes the steps of assembling said merchandising display at a fabricator location and then shipping said merchandising display once assembled to said retailer.

4. The method recited in claim 1 wherein said step of providing articles for sale includes the steps of placing said articles for sale into said modular receptacle and then sealing said modular receptacle containing said articles for sale with a sealing material for shipment to a designated retailer.

5. The method recited in claim 4 wherein after said step of sealing said modular receptacle with said sealing material, shipping said modular receptacle containing said articles for sale to said designated retailer.

6. The method recited in claim 2 wherein said step of replenishing said depleted articles for sale includes removing an empty modular receptacle from said merchandising display and inserting an as received modular receptacle.

7. The method recited in claim 6 wherein prior to said step of inserting an as received modular receptacle, the step of removing said sealing material from said modular receptacle.

8. The method recited in claim 1 further including, at said retailer, the step of ordering at least one modular receptacle from said product manufacture.

9. The method recited in claim 1 wherein said step of providing a merchandising display includes the step of fabricating said merchandising display from a durable material.

10. The method recited in claim 9 wherein said durable material consists of materials selected from the group comprising: plastic corrugated, thin molded plastic, or coated paperboard corrugated material.

11. The method recited in claim 9 wherein said step of fabricating includes the step of providing a durable material comprising a plastic corrugated material.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present application is related to U.S. application Ser. No. 83,288, filed herewith, by Bauman, et al., and entitled, “REPLENISHABLE MERCHANDISING DISPLAY FOR USE IN A RETAIL ENVIRONMENT.”

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The invention relates generally to the field of merchandising displays for promotional articles or product. More particularly, the invention concerns a method of replenishing articles in a modular merchandising display and a modular merchandising display that can be easily replenished or refilled with product at the retailers thus eliminating the need for multiple packaging steps, cumbersome shipping and associated additional expense.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] A variety of promotional displays exist for merchandising product, e.g., photographic film rolls, in a retail environment. Most common is the use of temporary merchandising displays often made from corrugated paperboard material, which comes to the retailer pre-stocked with product. These temporary merchandising displays are generally conveniently positioned on the retail floor and product contained therein is directly withdrawn by the consumer until all is depleted. Once the temporary merchandising display is empty of product, it is typically discarded and replaced with a new pre-filled temporary display unit.

[0004] Typical examples of prior art temporary merchandising displays are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,251,753 by Pigott et al, titled “Combined Product Shipping And Display Unit,” Oct. 12, 1993; U.S. Pat. No. 5,167,324 by Miller, titled “Shipping Carton And Display Unit For Tubes,” Dec. 1, 1992; U.S. Pat. No. 3,308,934 by Reiner, titled “Display Package,” Mar. 14, 1967; U.S. Pat. No. 4,825,624 by Clacerano, titled “Modular Promotional Display,” May 2, 1989; U.S. Pat. No. 5,293,99 by Neuman et al., titled “Combined Shipping and Presentation Package,” Mar. 15, 1994; U.S. Pat. No. 5,762,203 by Klawiter et al., titled “Container For Shipping And Displaying Of Product,” Jun. 9, 1998; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,706,953 by Polvere, titled “Combination Shipping Carton and Display Stand Formed With Insert Panels And Shelves. Each of these displays is adaptable to be used as a shipping carton for shipping merchandise and a display for displaying the merchandise. In some of the displays, such as the ones described in U.S. Pat. Nos. '991, '324, and '753, additional conversion elements or steps are required to convert the package into a suitable merchandising display.

[0005] It is well known in the packaging industry that temporary merchandising displays of the sort described above have generally complex designs and structures. Moreover, such merchandising displays are not usually assembled or filled automatically at the point of manufacture or packaging of the product.

[0006] In FIG. 1, illustrated is a typical promotional merchandise flow process for shipping manufactured product contained in a promotional package to a retailer who must then display the package for sale at the retail location. The process is initiated by the retailer who requests product from the manufacturer (Step 1). In response to the order from the retailer, the manufacturer packages the product generally in standard shipping packaging (Step 2) and ships it to a merchandising display fabricator (Step 3). The fabricator assembles the merchandising display unit (Step 4). The fabricator then removes and discards the standard packaging from the product (Step 5) and fills the merchandising display with the product (Step 6). During Step 5, it is not uncommon for the fabricator to also sort the product into convenient individual sale units.

[0007] Referring to FIG. 1, the assembly of the merchandising display and the process of stocking the merchandising display with product (Step 4-6) are often done at the site of a third party, i.e., a party who is neither the manufacturer of the display nor manufacturer of the product. The fabricator then ships the display filled with product to the retailer (Step 7) who then places the as-received product arranged in the merchandising display unit on the retail floor (Step 8). When the merchandising display is depleted of product (Step 9) or structurally weakened from, for example, multiple use or unusual rough handling, the retailer generally discards it (Step 10a) and orders a new merchandising display (Step 10b) from the fabricator. This process is generally repeated as product is cycled in and out of the retail environment.

[0008] Thus, the skilled artisan in the art of merchandising displays and product shipment is aware that it is a major shortcoming of this rather typical process that the pre-filled merchandisers are generally bulky, heavy, costly, and difficult to stock and then ship.

[0009] Therefore, a need persists in the art for a method of replenishing articles for retail in merchandising display and a modular merchandising display that is simple, convenient for the retailer to stock and display product, and cost effective to implement.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] It is, therefore, an object of the invention to provide a replenishable merchandising display that does not require the retailer to discard the display after every product depletion cycle.

[0011] Another object of the invention is to provide a method for replenishing articles in a merchandising display.

[0012] Another object of the invention is to eliminate the steps of unpacking the product from its standard shipping configuration and discarding those materials.

[0013] The present invention includes the important feature of providing the retailer with both the product for sale and the merchandising display, and then providing the retailer with an efficient process to fill the display for sale and replenish the product in the merchandiser once the product has been depleted.

[0014] The present invention is directed to overcoming one or more of the problems set forth above. Briefly summarized, according to one aspect of the present invention, a method of replenishing articles in a merchandising display having at least one modular receptacle, comprising the steps of:

[0015] from the product manufacturer, providing articles in said at least one modular receptacle for sale to a retailer;

[0016] from the fabricator, providing a modular merchandising display to said retailer for containing said articles;

[0017] at the retailer, stocking said articles in said at least one modular receptacle of said modular merchandising display; and,

[0018] displaying said articles for sale in said modular receptacle of said modular merchandising display.

[0019] The present invention has the following advantages over prior art developments: cost effectiveness; increased product replenishing efficiency; reduced inventory for the retailer, elimination of multiple packaging steps and associated waste of packaging materials; and, elimination of the shipment of filled merchandisers and the associated risk of loss.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0020] The above and other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent when taken in conjunction with the following description and drawings wherein identical reference numerals have been used, where possible, to designate identical features that are common to the figures, and wherein:

[0021] FIG. 1 is flow diagram of the prior art method for replenishing a merchandising display with product for sale;

[0022] FIG. 2 is a flow diagram of the method of the invention;

[0023] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a modular receptacle that can be filled with merchandise at the point of manufacture;

[0024] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the modular receptacle partially filled with product; and,

[0025] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the merchandiser of the invention partially filled with modular receptacles;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0026] Referring now to the drawings, and in particular to FIG. 2, the process of replenishing articles for retail in a merchandising display having at least one modular receptacle (also referred to as a product container), described in detail below, is illustrated. According to FIG. 2, from the product manufacturer, the articles or product, such as photographic film product or cameras, are packaged in the modular receptacle for shipment to a retailer (Steps 12-16). Of course the product manufacturer would prepare the product against damage during shipment by either sealing the open portion of the modular receptacle with shrink wrap or covering the opened portion with an appropriate covering before arranging the product in the receptacle for shipment to a designated retailer. Skilled artisans will appreciate that the aforementioned process can be achieved manually or with the use of automatic equipment.

[0027] During the normal course of business, the retailer would either have or would order (Step 28) a merchandising display from a fabricator. These fabricators generally assemble the merchandising display (Step 30) to meet the needs and specification of the product manufacturer. It is important to this novel and unobvious method that the merchandising display be assembled from durable materials that can withstand long-term use and potentially abnormal handling. We have found that the most durable materials are ones selected from among corrugated plastic, thin molded plastic, or a coated paperboard corrugated material. Most preferred among these materials for our application is corrugated plastic.

[0028] As appropriate, the retailer would order at least one modular receptacle containing the requested product therein. Product turnover and inventory are typical factors that may determine when such orders are actually placed.

[0029] Referring again to FIG. 2, in Step 18, once the modular receptacle 66 is received by the retailer, the retailer then removes any outer wrap that may exist to protect the product 51 during shipment and then places the modular receptacle 66 into the product compartment 54 of the merchandising display 50. With the product 51 stocked in the modular receptacle 66 and placed into the product compartment 54 of the merchandising display 50, they are now available for sale to a retail customer who can directly remove the product 51 from the merchandising display 50 (Step 20). During the normal course of business, product is depleted primarily by sales to retail customers (Step 22). According to Step 24, as product from an individual modular receptacle 66 is sold out or depleted, the empty modular receptacle 66 is removed and the merchandising display 50 is replenished with another modular receptacle 66 filled with product 51. It is expected that the merchandising display unit 50 will eventually wear out or break (Step 26). In those instances, the retailer would then place an order for a new merchandising display 50 (Steps 28).

[0030] Referring to FIGS. 3-5, the replenishable merchandising display 50 of the invention is illustrated. As shown in FIG. 5, replenishable merchandising display 50 has an upright standing, substantially rigid frame 52. Frame 52 is constructed of a durable material, preferably a corrugated plastic material. Skilled artisans will appreciate that frame 52 may also be formed of other durable materials including metals, thermoformable polymeric materials, thermoset materials, and metallic materials.

[0031] Still referring to FIG. 5, a plurality of product compartments 54 is formed in frame 52 for accommodating a predetermined quantity of sale units of a product 51. Each product compartment 54 has a top wall 56 and an opposed bottom wall 58 defining a base. Opposed sidewalls 60 are adjoined to a rear wall 62 and expose an opening 64 to receive and access at least one modular receptacle 66 that contains the product for sale.

[0032] Referring to FIGS. 3-4, modular receptacle 66 has a generally polygonal shape and is removably stored in one of the plurality of product compartments 54 found in merchandising display 50.

[0033] It is also important to the invention that product compartments 54, formed in the frame 52, have adjoining durable walls 56, 58, 60. This feature enables the walls 56, 58, 60 to withstand fairly frequent product replacement procedures implemented primarily at the retailer. It is also important that a vertical stabilizer member 70 is present between the horizontal members 72 of the product compartments 54 to help support the weight of the product 51 in the product compartments 54 in the upper part of the merchandising display unit. Thus, with regular depletion of product in the modular receptacle 66 and replenishing with modular receptacles 66 containing fresh product, the walls 56, 58, 60 will be exposed to forces that might otherwise jeopardize their structural integrity. These structural components, i.e., walls 56, 58, 60, will also help to maintain the integrity of frame 52 when the merchandising display 50 is moved to different locations.

[0034] The invention has been described with reference to a preferred embodiment. However, it will be appreciated that variations and modifications can be effected by a person of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the scope of the invention.

Parts List

[0035] 1 step: retailer requests product from manufacturer

[0036] 2 step: packaged product packed

[0037] 3 step: packaged product shipped to fabricator

[0038] 4 step: merchandising display unit is assembled

[0039] 5 step: fabricator removes product from shipping case

[0040] 6 step: fabricator fills display unit with product

[0041] 7 step: fabricator ships filled display unit to retailer

[0042] 8 step: retailer places merchandising unit on sale floor

[0043] 9 step: product is depleted

[0044] 10a step: retailer discards depleted display unit

[0045] 10b step: retailer orders new merchandising display unit

[0046] 12 step: manufacturer receives order from retailer

[0047] 14 step: manufacturer fills modular receptacles with product

[0048] 16 step: modular receptacles of product shipped to retailer

[0049] 18 step: retailer fills display unit with modular receptacles filled with product

[0050] 20 step: retailer places filled modular display unit on sales floor

[0051] 22 step: product is depleted from modular display unit

[0052] 24 step: replenish with modular receptacles of product packed by manufacturer

[0053] 26 step replenishable display unit wears out

[0054] 28 step: retailer orders merchandising display

[0055] 30 step: fabricator builds modular display unit

[0056] 50 replenishable merchandising display unit

[0057] 51 product

[0058] 52 rigid frame

[0059] 54 product compartment

[0060] 56 top wall of product compartment 54

[0061] 58 bottom wall of product compartment 54

[0062] 60 side wall of product compartment 54

[0063] 62 rear wall of product compartment 54

[0064] 64 opening in product compartment 54

[0065] 66 modular receptacle (product container)

[0066] 70 vertical stabilizer member of product compartment 54

[0067] 72 horizontal member of product compartment 54