Title:
Merchandise Display Unit
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A merchandise display unit configured to be coupled with fixed shelving. The merchandise display unit comprises a frame that is configured to be coupled to fixed shelving and a display tier for displaying merchandise. The merchandise display unit may be moved to various locations within a retail environment while still displaying the merchandise outside of the merchandise packaging.



Inventors:
Karel, James D. (Bentonville, AR, US)
Application Number:
12/044488
Publication Date:
09/10/2009
Filing Date:
03/07/2008
Assignee:
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/153
International Classes:
A47F7/00; A47F5/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KRYCINSKI, STANTON L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FOLEY & LARDNER LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for displaying merchandise, comprising: a display unit frame configured to operatively connect to fixed shelving in a retail environment, the display unit frame including at least one vertical support beam and at least one horizontal support beam; and at least one display tier defined by the display unit frame; wherein the display unit frame is configured to hold and display merchandise in a retail environment having the fixed shelving in order to increase sales of the merchandise displayed.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the display unit frame further comprises at least one region configured to receive a video display monitor operatively connected to the display unit frame.

3. The system of claim 1, further comprising at least one video display monitor operatively connected to the display unit frame.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein the display unit frame further comprises at least one region configured to receive an audio speaker operatively connected to the display unit frame.

5. The system of claim 1, further comprising at least one audio speaker operatively connected to the display unit frame.

6. The system of claim 1, further comprising a security mechanism connected to the display unit frame, wherein the security mechanism is configured to operatively connect to the merchandise to be displayed.

7. The system of claim 1, wherein the display unit frame further comprises at least one caster operatively connected to the display unit frame.

8. The system of claim 1, wherein the display unit frame further comprises at least one product information region defined by the display unit frame, the at least one product information region configured to display at least one product information card.

9. The system of claim 1, further comprising at least one product information card operatively connected to the display unit frame.

10. A method for displaying merchandise comprising: providing a system, including: a display unit frame configured to operatively connect to fixed shelving in a retail environment, the display unit frame including at least one vertical support beam and at least one horizontal support beam; and at least one display tier defined by the display unit frame, the display unit frame configured to hold and display merchandise in a retail environment having fixed shelving in order to increase sales of the merchandise displayed; operatively connecting the display unit frame to fixed shelving in a retail environment; and operatively connecting the merchandise to the display unit frame.

11. The method of claim 10, wherein the display unit frame further comprises at least one region configured to receive a video display monitor operatively connected to the display unit frame.

12. The method of claim 10, further comprising: operatively connecting at least one video display monitor to the display unit frame; and operatively connecting the merchandise to the at least one video display monitor.

13. The method of claim 10, wherein the display unit frame further comprises at least one region configured to receive an audio speaker operatively connected to the display unit frame.

14. The method of claim 10, further comprising: operatively connecting at least one audio speaker to the display unit frame; and operatively connecting the merchandise to the at least one audio speaker.

15. The method of claim 10, further comprising providing a security mechanism connected to the display unit frame, the security mechanism configured to operatively connect to the merchandise to be displayed.

16. The method of claim 10, wherein the display unit frame further comprises at least one caster operatively connected to the display unit frame.

17. The method of claim 10, wherein the display unit frame further comprises at least one product information region defined by the display unit frame, the product information region configured to display at least one product information card.

18. The method of claim 10, further comprising operatively connecting at least one product information card to the display unit frame.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the field of product displays. More particularly, the present invention relates to product displays that allow a customer to evaluate the performance of electronic merchandise.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This section is intended to provide a background or context to the invention that is recited in the claim. The description herein may include concepts that could be pursued, but are not necessarily ones that have been previously conceived or pursued. Therefore, unless otherwise indicated herein, what is described in this section is not prior art to the description and claims in this application and is not admitted to be prior art by inclusion in this section.

Retailers often seek ways to display merchandise that will increase sales. Traditionally, retailers displayed merchandise in the merchandise packaging. Displaying the merchandise in the packaging allows the retailer to easily move the merchandise to various locations within the sales area. The packaging also allows for the inclusion of security or anti-theft devices which may reduce retail losses due to theft. However, displaying the merchandise in the merchandise packaging does not allow consumers to fully evaluate or experience the functionality of many types of merchandise. In the case of electronic merchandise such as cameras and video camcorders, consumers are often unable to evaluate how the cameras and video camcorders operate while the merchandise is in the packaging.

Therefore, display apparatuses have been developed that allow a retailer to display electronic merchandise free of the merchandise packaging. Existing apparatuses however, do not allow for the merchandise, while displayed outside of the merchandise packaging, to be freely moved to various locations within the sales area.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Various embodiments provide for an improved merchandise display unit capable of being coupled to fixed shelving. The merchandise display unit may comprise a display unit frame and a display tier. In various embodiments, the merchandise display unit allows for the mobile display of merchandise, with the merchandise displayed outside of its packaging. The merchandise can easily be moved to various locations within a sales area while being operatively connected to a fixed structure. Various embodiments also allow for display of the performance of the merchandise.

These and other advantages and features of the invention, together with the organization and manner of operation thereof, will become apparent from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like elements have like numerals throughout the several drawings described below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a merchandise display unit according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2(a) is a front view of a merchandise display unit constructed according to an additional embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2(b) is a right side view of the merchandise display unit of FIG. 2(a);

FIG. 2(c) is a perspective view of the merchandise display unit of FIG. 2(a) and 2(b); and

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a merchandise display unit constructed according to a further embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF VARIOUS EMBODIMENTS

Various embodiments provide for an improved merchandise display unit capable of being coupled to fixed shelving. The merchandise display unit may comprise a display unit frame and a display tier. In various embodiments, the merchandise display unit allows for the mobile display of merchandise, with the merchandise displayed outside of its packaging. The merchandise can easily be moved to various locations within a sales area while being operatively connected to a fixed structure. Various embodiments also allow for display of the performance of the merchandise.

Referring to FIG. 1, a merchandise display unit that is one embodiment of the invention, shown generally at 100, comprises a right side display face 105, a front side display face 110 and a left side display face 115 on the lower portion of the merchandise display unit 100. A first display tier 120 is operatively connected to the right side display face 105, the front side display face 110 and the left side display face 115 above the right side display face 105, the front side display face 110 and the left side display face 115. A second display tier 125 is operatively connected to the first display tier 120 above and recessed from the first display tier 120 and a display top 130 is operatively connected to the second display tier 125 above and recessed from the second display tier 125.

The first display tier 120 and second display tier 125 are configured to display merchandise outside of the merchandise packaging in merchandise connection areas 135. The merchandise connection areas 135 allow the merchandise to be connected to anti-theft devices, power sources, or a mechanism for displaying audio and/or video capabilities. The use of multiple display tiers allow for the display of more merchandise than individual display tiers. The number of display tiers may vary and, in other embodiments, the merchandise display unit 100 may have three or more display tiers. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the first display tier 120 and second display tier 125 place the merchandise at a convenient height for the average consumer to evaluate the merchandise by both touch and sight while standing.

In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the right side display face 105, the front side display face 110 and the left side display face 115 are configured to display associated items or the displayed merchandise in the merchandise packaging. For example, if the displayed merchandise is a camera or a camcorder, associated items may include memory cards, batteries and storage cases, as well as other items associated with the merchandise.

In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the right side display face 105 and the front side display face 110 are configured to create a right corner display face 140. Similarly, the left side display face 115 and front side display face 110 are configured to create a left corner display face 145. The right corner display face 140 and left corner display face 145 allow for additional areas to display merchandise or associated items and at different viewing angles than the right side display face 105, the front side display face and the left side display face 115.

The right side display face 105, the front side display face 110, the left side display face 115, the right corner display face 140 and the left corner display face 145 may comprise a structure for displaying merchandise on right side display face 105, the front side display face 110, the left side display face 115, the right corner display face 140 and the left corner display face 145. The structure may comprise, for example, a pegboard sheet and hooks configured to engage the pegboard sheet to facilitate the display of associated items. Alternatively, the structure on the right side display face 105, the front side display face 110, the left side display face 1 15, the right corner display face 140 and the left corner display face 145 may comprise buttons, velcro, or other mechanisms for connecting the merchandise or associated items to the merchandise display unit 100. In further embodiments, the right side display face 105, the front side display face 110, the left side display face 115, the right corner display face 140 and the left corner display face 145 may comprise a solid surface, shelving units, drawers or cabinets for storage or display of additional merchandise or associated items. In FIG. 1, the right side display face 105 comprises both a pegboard sheet 106 and a cabinet 107. In further embodiments, the right corner display face 140 and the left corner display face 145 may not be used to display merchandise, but may instead be configured to draw attention to the display of merchandise located on other parts of the merchandise display unit 100. In this particular embodiment, the right corner display face 140 and the left corner display face 145 may comprise a solid material that generally follows the curvature of the right corner display face 140 and left corner display face 145. Alternatively still, the material may cut straight across the right corner display face 140 and the left corner display face 145.

In another embodiment, the display top 130 may be configured to house at least one video display monitor 1000. The video display monitor 1000, when operatively connected to the merchandise through the merchandise connection areas 135, allows for the consumer to see the performance of the merchandise, i.e., to see a picture generated by the merchandise. When the merchandise to be displayed is a camera or camcorder, the consumer can compare the picture quality of various cameras or camcorders by viewing the video display monitor 1000. In an embodiment where camcorders may be displayed, the display top 130 may be configured to also include an audio speaker 1010, thereby allowing the customer to evaluate any microphone capabilities of the camcorder. The merchandise display unit 100 is configured to connect with the video display monitor 1000 in the video display monitor region 150. Similarly, the merchandise display unit 100 is configured to connect with the audio speaker 1010 in the audio speaker region 155. The location of the video display region 150 and the audio display region 155 may vary, and in other embodiments may not be located on the display top 130.

The addition of a video display monitor 1000 and/or an audio speaker 1010 therefore allows the consumer to make a more informed purchasing decision. This better informed decision can increase sales net of returns, as the consumer is less likely to be confused as to the performance of the merchandise at the time of purchase.

FIGS. 2(a), 2(b) and 2(c) show an additional embodiment of a merchandise display unit, shown generally at 200, having two display tiers. In the embodiment of FIGS. 2(a), 2(b) and 2(c), the merchandise 205 is displayed proximate associated items 207. Additionally, the embodiment in FIGS. 2(a), 2(b) and 2(c) allows for the retailer to attach a video display monitor 2000 to display the performance of the merchandise 205 in a video display monitor region 208. The embodiment in FIGS. 2(a), 2(b) and 2(c) also allows for the retailer to attach an audio speaker 2020 to display the audio performance of the merchandise 205 in an audio speaker region 209.

The particular merchandise display unit 200 of FIGS. 2(a), 2(b) and 2(c) comprises a display unit frame 203 that includes four vertical support beams 210 and four horizontal support beams 215. In other embodiments the number of vertical support beams 210 and horizontal support beams 215 may vary. In the particular merchandise display unit 200 of FIGS. 2(a), 2(b) and 2(c), the four horizontal support beams 215 are joined together at the ends to form a rectangular-shaped base 217. The four vertical support beams 210 are connected at their ends, one each to the corners of the rectangular-shaped base 217. The vertical support beams 210 project perpendicular from the rectangular-shaped base 217 on the same side of the rectangular-shaped base 217. These vertical support beams 210 and horizontal support beams 215 may be bolted together, may be welded together, or may be connected using other connecting mechanisms that provide sufficient strength to the joint.

A first display tier 220 is operatively connected to the display unit frame 203 above the display unit frame 203. A second display tier 225 is operatively connected to the first display tier 220 or to the display unit frame 203 above and recessed from the first display tier 220. This arrangement allows the view of the merchandise on the first display tier 220 to be unobstructed. The merchandise 205 is displayed on the first and second display tiers 220 and 225. The first and second display tiers 220 and 225 may comprise, for example, metal, wood, plastic or any other material or combination of materials having sufficient strength and rigidity to support the merchandise.

FIG. 2(b) shows that the merchandise display unit 200 is configured such that the merchandise display unit 200 can be coupled to fixed shelving 230 in a retail environment. The merchandise display unit 200 may also be moved around the retail environment with ease, using casters 235 on the bottom of the merchandise display unit 200. The use of the casters 235 and the configuration of the display unit 200 such that it can be coupled to fixed shelving 230 allows the merchandise display unit to be located at the end of various aisles of fixed shelving 230 within a retail environment.

Additionally, FIGS. 2(a) and 2(c) show that product information cards may be attached to the merchandise display unit 200 in product information card display regions 240. Product information cards allow the retailer to provide information about the merchandise 205 to the consumer. The product information cards may include information regarding the price, warranties, technical specifications and other information about the merchandise 205 that the consumer may want to consider in making a purchase.

FIG. 3 shows an alternate embodiment of a merchandise display unit, shown generally at 300. The merchandise display unit 300 of FIG. 3 is similar to the embodiment of FIG. 1 in many respects. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, however, the merchandise display unit 300 has a curved face at the right corner display face 140 and the left corner display face 145.

The forgoing description of embodiments of the present invention have been presented for purposes of illustration and description. The foregoing description is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit embodiments of the present invention to the precise form disclosed, and modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teachings or may be acquired from practice of various embodiments of the present invention. The embodiments discussed herein were chosen and described in order to explain the principles and the nature of various embodiments of the present invention and its practical application to enable one skilled in the art to utilize the present invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated.