PROJECT: permanent kayak display
CLIENT: Confluence outdoor - perception kayaks

Confluence Outdoor, a world leader in the manufacture of canoes, kayaks, and paddling accessories, partnered with Axis Display Group to create their first ever retail merchandising program.

Headquartered in a popular hub for canoe and kayak destinations - Greenville, SC - Confluence Outdoor both inspires and is inspired by the people who occupy their waterways. The company is parent to eight paddlesports brands - Wilderness Systems, Perception, Dagger, Wave Sport, Mad River Canoe, Adventure Technology, Harmony, and Boardwalks - offering customers of all interests and skill levels everything they “need to connect with the outdoors and find the freedom [Confluence Outdoors] believes can only be found on the water.”

Never having a formalized retail merchandising program before, Confluence Outdoor came to Axis Display Group to develop and produce a retail program for Perception Kayaks.

In recent years, kayaking has grown in popularity, bringing with it an influx of kayaks and kayak accessories produced by sporting goods manufacturers who often lack the expert knowledge necessary to make a high quality product. Many kayaks today are sold in superstores among other water toys, often shoved into overcrowded displays, with no education/messaging, and no true way to test features such as material, weight, and comfort.

Recognizing this pattern, and understanding how difficult it can be for shoppers to know what they should and should not look for when purchasing a kayak, Perception put out a video that helped to inspire the new retail experience:


Using content such as this for inspiration, Axis Display Group developed a permanent, standalone kayak display, featuring the ability to showcase one, two, or three kayaks + versatile signage and accessory options. Since shoppers have different needs based on their intended use and skill level, AXIS ensured educational messaging and a platform for associate-shopper interaction were included as key design elements. To accommodate differences in allotted retail space throughout Perception’s nationwide dealer network, the display family was manufactured with mass customization in mind. Doing this allows the design to provide scalable options no matter the real estate available.

Design Objectives:

  • Present clear and informative messaging that guides shoppers on their buying journey

  • Showcase more of the kayak and less of the fixture so shoppers understand the kayak is available for purchase and not just part of the merchandising display

  • Display should be adjustable and flexible for various kayak sizes and quantities (1-3)

  • Easily scale to integrate into a multitude of retail environments

  • Ability to accommodate various accessories and seasonal add-ons

  • Bundled accessories should allow for a complete buying experience


  • Provide adjustable “High, Eye, Buy” messaging to capture shopper attention, encourage brand journey, engage the senses, and distill product information

  • Feature the kayak in an upright position for visual impact and smaller footprint

  • Develop adjustable header and swing panel graphics for ability to expand up and out for multiple kayak shapes and sizes; bases align for multiple kayaks

  • Accessory clips provide ability for add-ons, such as paddles, to the experience

Materials & Components:

  • Powder coated steel

  • Stell tubing

  • MDF (clear coated)

  • Digitally printed graphics

Results Achieved:

Over 1,000 displays and accompanying parts were produced and shipped to retailers nationwide. Cost was kept down for the client by implementing value-engineering and using both global and domestic manufacturing. This display family was also built to be mass-customized. No matter the individual retailer’s space, there is a workable option to attractively showcase the Perception Kayaks.

To date, the Perception sales team reports a measurable sales lift in stores with the new kayak display (49% increase in sales in stores with the display compared to previous year vs. 36% in stores without). Additionally, this display moves product that is at a higher price point – both in a competitive landscape and internally within the brand’s own displayed products.

Update: This project has been highlighted as a “Best in Class” program by Dick’s Sporting Goods, securing a longstanding relationship with Perception and the retailer. Because of this, Perception was asked to produce additional wall display units for DSG to help the retailer expand, support, and merchandise their selection of paddle sport products. A win for all. 

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