Oct 24, 2012
I Want That One!
Amanda Dolechek

Tap into higher profits by displaying inflated balloon designs.

Have you ever walked into a bakery and had your taste buds tempted by the sight of freshly-baked, deliciously-decorated cookies in the display case? Have you ever been overwhelmed by shopping for a new outfit until you see a perfectly coordinated ensemble on one of the mannequins?

These merchandising ideas both demonstrate the expression we hear all the time in the retail world: “Show it to sell it.” Did you point to the cookies and say, “I’ll take those”? Did you purchase that outfit after you saw it on the mannequin? If so, then you’ve just proven the effectiveness of this strategy.

Entice Your Customers
Just like any other retail business, balloon retailers will also benefit by showing their product in all its glory. But don’t just stop at displaying single inflated balloons. Show balloon arrangements and designs with added perceived value, which will increase your profits. If you have unique products that customers may not be familiar with – like Bubble Balloons, for instance – it’s important to show those, too.

People don’t always know exactly what they want when they come into your store, so it’s up to you as the professional to enlighten them. Do you think they know what a 646Q balloon is, much less what you can do with one? Probably not! But by displaying a fun 646Q stand-up character, you make it that much easier for someone to say, “I want that one.”

On the other hand, a customer may come to your store with the sole purpose of buying plates, napkins and cups. While walking through the aisles, she sees a smiley face balloon character that would be a perfect addition to the party she’s hosting. Despite the fact that she wasn’t looking for balloons, she purchases the character anyway. This is a perfect example of how displaying your work can also increase impulse purchases.

Small air-fill Microfoils are ideal for boosting impulse buys, too. Simply wrap the necks of inflated Microfoils onto a balloon saucer attached to a balloon stick. Make a cute merchandising display by gluing floral foam to the bottom of a container, covering it with shred and inserting the sticks. Have extra Microfoils inflated and ready to replace the ones that customers buy.

Give All the Options
Chances are you’re not going to have a balloon design on display for every occasion. But don’t lose out on that potential sale; let customers know you can still create what they need. Add small signs on your displays that say, “Customize me!” or “Let us customize one for your party!”

This also comes in handy during graduation season when it’s important to offer balloons in specific school colors. Or, if you’re displaying an air-fill animal character (see the August 2012 Balloon Recipe), include a sign that lists the other animals you can make.

With the space you do have, use it wisely to show off a range of balloon designs (bouquets, stand-ups, cash-and-carry decor, etc.). But don’t feel like you have to show every possible variation under the sun. This is where a portfolio featuring your work or an idea book featuring other people’s work with credits comes in handy. A photo album or flip book on your counter works great, although an iPad or other tablet device can also serve as a digital portfolio. (Refer to the February 2010 issue of Party and Paper for more on creating a portfolio.)

Whenever a customer purchases one of your display pieces, try to replace it with another one as soon as you can. Remember, designs made with air will last longer than those made with helium. Treating latex balloons with Balloon Shine will also keep them looking fresh longer.

Take advantage of slow traffic periods to brainstorm and create new display items. Birthday and baby offerings will always be in demand, but keep in mind any upcoming holidays, too. It’s also a great way to use up some older balloon stock that hasn’t been selling.

Inflated balloon designs – whether air or helium – can have a powerful influence on customers’ purchasing behavior. If you build it, they’ll buy it.


Amanda Dolechek, Certified Balloon Artist (CBA), works for Pioneer Balloon Co. and writes for a variety of balloon industry websites and Qualatex publications, including Balloon Images and Balloon Magic-The Magazine.

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