By: Stephanie Carson, CMO of Blue Calypso
Despite all the hype about online shopping, consumers are still making the majority of their purchases at brick-and-mortar retailers, which means marketers need to use every inch of available in-store advertising space to the fullest. Point-of-purchase (POP) signage and displays are an increasingly important tool to help consumer brands cut through the clutter, stand out on retail shelves and improve category performance.
When done well, POP displays reinforce consistent brand messaging for retailers, manufacturers and shoppers. All marketers hope their in-store materials will encourage impulse buys, but when POP displays are deliberately designed and deployed with the target shopper in mind, the results can far exceed one-time purchases. The key is leveraging POP materials to truly connect with consumers, which can boost positive product perception, sway brand loyalty and ultimately increase sales.
However, much to the chagrin of marketers everywhere, the benefits of their carefully crafted POP displays can quickly diminish due to a variety of common problems. Here are a few of the barriers to POP effectiveness and some tips to overcome them. These recommendations can help brands ensure that valuable marketing dollars don’t go to waste on poorly placed, ineffective or improperly deployed POP materials.
Location, Location, Location
POP display placement can have a significant impact on its success. The most popular POP real estate is usually at the store entrance or on main aisle forward-facing endcaps. Front-of-store displays immediately catch consumers’ attention and can often lead to spontaneous product grabs, while endcap displays can lure shoppers to shelves they otherwise wouldn’t have visited. Department-specific displays are also highly effective, since shoppers visiting that department are already interested in the product category when they arrive to browse the aisles. Alternately, marketers should try to avoid back-of-store endcaps, where even well-designed and flawlessly executed POP displays can be overlooked or never seen at all.
The best way to secure the most sought-after display placements is to establish and build relationships with retailers. While paying more for prime locations is sometimes a factor, becoming a true partner will lead to the greatest results. Marketers should listen to retailers’ business goals and try to align promotions or products to help meet those objectives. The stronger the relationship, the more likely retailers are to favor a brand when assigning placements.
Quality = Quality
Unfortunately, all too often brands take the less expensive route and manufacture POP displays out of low-cost materials that can be easily damaged, such as cardboard. Despite the sticker shock that can accompany high-quality displays, marketers must remember that you get what you pay for. A cardboard sign may be easy on the budget at production time, but ROI quickly diminishes if it only lasts for half the intended lifecycle. Whereas displays made with higher-quality, more durable materials can withstand transportation, setup, cleaning and frequent in-store contact.
In marketing, perception equals reality, and POP displays are no exception. When shoppers see well-designed POP displays, they often make a mental connection between the quality of the display and the associated product. In turn, cheaply-made displays can have an adverse effect on consumers’ opinion of the promoted product. For brands trying to improve quality perception, semi-permanent POP displays may be the right solution. These longer-lasting in-store fixtures are designed to be easily cleaned and restocked, so they always look brand new. Long-term displays also reduce the need for frequent repairs and replacements, resulting in greater success and higher return on investment.
Much to the dismay of marketers, it is almost impossible to determine if POP displays are executed correctly. Brands rely on store employees and display installation companies to follow their instructions, but are unable to monitor every store nationwide. Instead, they end up comparing program costs to net sales gains, or not tracking displays at all.
Brands must oversee in-store efforts with a display management solution, such as POPTrak™, that tracks the entire lifecycle of POP displays in real time. These tools allow marketers to:
- Quickly organize materials for each display and provide clear setup instructions
- Communicate with retailers to validate that each display is installed in the correct store location
- Confirm that fixtures and displays are properly installed and maintained throughout the campaign
- Send retailers notifications when it’s time to tear down the displays
- Have complete transparency from beginning to end throughout the entire development, shipping, installation and deactivation processes.
POP displays can be highly effective in driving consumer awareness, engagement and sales, but many marketers fall prey to common design and installation errors. To overcome these barriers, marketers must look at the big picture and address some crucial questions. Will shoppers see our display in this part of the store? Does the display quality reflect our brand identity? Does the in-store installation match my original design and expectations?
With these questions in mind, marketers can help make sure that the dollars they invest in POP displays generate the intended results and enhance comprehensive marketing campaigns.