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What Is PDQ (Pretty Darn Quick)?

2021-09-11
7 min read

Learn about:

  • PDQ display rules
  • PDQ display exit strategy
  • Walmart's merchandising strategy

Before the term retail-ready packaging (RRP) became standard, Walmart referred to this process as “PDQ displays,” meaning “pretty darn quick.” The idea was that brands would package their products so that Walmart stores could shelve them quickly.

Early on, Walmart did not define its PDQ policies, but Walmart has implemented plenty of rules since then. We go over them in this article.

What are the PDQ display rules?

Walmart uses PDQ displays to showcase and sell products quickly in the Action Alley, which the retailer strategically places in its stores. PDQ display pallets arrive in the stores fully assembled and stocked for display. As such, suppliers must follow Walmart rules and design specifications to ensure consistency in PDQ display designs.

There are different displays for various merchandise, including stacked trays, display trays, sidekick displays, and end-cap displays. Suppliers must follow design rules to ensure that the displays are solid and durable for handling during shipping, movement, and customer interaction.

There are five main points suppliers must comply with when creating PDQ displays:

  • Message delivery
  • Structural integrity
  • Clear price impression
  • Inventory turnover management
  • Clean line of sight

Message delivery

PDQ displays carry messages at the top to guide consumers and encourage them to purchase the product. Suppliers should use clear, concise, and engaging messaging, which should immediately entice the customer and be easy to read.

The display should clearly show the price and product description while illustrating value to the customer. The marketing message should also be short and precise for easy interpretation.

Structural integrity

A PDQ display will be on the sales floor for a significant period, stacked with merchandise and exposed to customer interaction. As such, the PDQ display should be robust in structure to maintain adequate strength throughout use. In addition, the materials used in the construction should be safe for both consumers and staff.

There are several ways to create safe and durable PDQ displays:

  • The design should follow Walmart's requirements and measurements.
  • All designs should maintain safety during the design process and installation.
  • Suppliers should match the manufacturing process, from materials to assembly, to meet the supply chain performance needs.
  • Suppliers should use hardware approved for safety and effectiveness. In addition, the hardware should increase the strength of the display while simplifying the design.
  • Suppliers should test the PDQ display for durability and supply chain life cycle. ISTA testing is necessary for all PDQ displays above 500 pounds.
  • Walmart is dedicated to sustainability. As such, suppliers should construct the displays from 100% corrugated materials to align with Walmart's sustainability goals.
  • Suppliers must use a minimum of 200# Mullen Board grade for palletized displays.

Clear price impression

Suppliers should use a “goal post price sign” above displays to show the product price. The display should have an effective way to hold up the sign without affecting its structural integrity, and suppliers must build the displays such that the pole fits into the design of the display.

PDQ displays in Walmart stores should also have a clear sign marked "Insert Goal Post Here." This sign helps store staff know where to place the goal post price sign.

Inventory turnover management

Inventory turnover is a ratio that measures the number of times the store sells its total inventory within a specific period. Retailers calculate the ratio by dividing the cost of goods sold by the average inventory for the same period.

Inventory turnover = Cost of goods sold ÷ Average inventory

Inventory turnover = Cost of goods sold ÷ Average inventory

Why does the inventory turnover ratio matter? This ratio measures the pace of product sales. Suppliers can use this ratio to determine how quickly a product sells and how much inventory to bring to a store.

Ideally, suppliers should replenish stock at the same rate the product sells. This strategy reduces the need for inventory storage. However, since this is challenging, inventory turnover is critical. Fortunately, there are ways to improve inventory turnover management and overall inventory management.

  • Suppliers should always keep the inventory turnover in mind before shipping merchandise to avoid oversupplying inventory in the store.
  • Suppliers should review the previous years' inventory levels by month to understand seasonality in purchases. Using past inventory records helps suppliers forecast needs and avoid oversupplying or undersupplying.
  • Suppliers should review records to check the top sellers in each Walmart store and supply inventory accordingly.
  • Suppliers should continually review consumer shopping trends to ensure that inventory levels in the stores and shelves match consumer demand.

Clean line of sight

Order should be maintained in all Walmart retail stores. One way to achieve this is to retain a clear line of sight on the alleys. Suppliers should use PDQ pallet displays with the same height to maintain order and a clear line of sight.

A clear line of sight creates a clean and neat appearance in Walmart stores which appeals to customers. Suppliers should design and build displays according to Walmart's design specifications to retain order on all PDQ displays. Following the rules ensures that all the displays have the same measurements regardless of the supplier.

The display should also have a secure structure, bins, and trays that prevent the product from falling out. Suppliers should avoid displays with pieces sticking out into the aisles to retain neatness and a clear line of sight.

What is a PDQ display exit strategy?

Walmart is dedicated to sustainability, and as such, all suppliers should create pallet displays with sustainability in mind. The displays should use recyclable materials if possible to support Walmart's sustainability mission.

When a product starts selling out, store employees should be able to condense it into small trays and place it on the displays and the shelves. Sustainable designs should use the same components to display the products in different configurations.

For instance, the display could start with two pallets. As the product sells out, the store can move the products to one pallet. Then, as the product sells out, the store associates can move bins onto a shelf.

All the displays, bins, and trays should be recyclable. Walmart will need to approve the designs and check if they are easy to disassemble. Also, the supplier should provide an exit strategy for displays made of non-corrugated or mixed materials.

The exit strategy should include a proposal to cover the related costs for the disposal and handling of the display at the end of the life cycle.

In summary

Walmart’s dedication to helping its customers “save money” and “live better” means that it must be able to quickly stock shelves and provide enticing displays. Walmart implemented the PDQ display procedure for this purpose.

Suppliers will see increases in sales and on-shelf availability with properly constructed PDQ displays.

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The SupplyPike Team
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The SupplyPike Team

SupplyPike builds software to help retail suppliers fight deductions, meet compliance standards, and dig down to root cause issues in their supply chain.

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