Everyone likes to get noticed, and brand owners are right to be pleased when their store advertising causes a stir. But there is a big difference between attracting attention for the right reasons, and just getting on people’s nerves.
The trick is finding the right way to highlight products and offers, because when people are focused on shopping, they can be blind to anything that is not immediately relevant, says Nick Gray, managing director of creative retail marketing agency Live & Breathe.
He gives an outstanding example of how one of the multiples placed a member of staff dressed in a gorilla outfit to help pack bags at a till near the far end of the store. Exit interviews carried out among shoppers revealed that just 2% commented on having noticed anything unusual, and most of these were children.
To help brand owners avoid taking a gamble when planning in-store campaigns, the trade association for the retail marketing industry, POPAI UK & Ireland, is offering new measures of the effectiveness of different types of PoP (see panel).
Martin Kingdon, director general, believes this research is far more relevant than relying on sales figures because it analyses the complete shopping journey, so brands can log which displays have been noticed, even if sales have not risen. “Brands will then be able to work out the barriers to purchase in the store and where the successes lie.”
Although marketers planning their PoP campaigns could benefit from analysing figures provided by POPAI, many retailers are only concerned with sales figures.
According to Gordon Bethell, managing partner at independent retail marketing services agency Gratterpalm, retailers are not interested in complex analyses. “The PoP industry has long talked about creating a metric that determines the effectiveness of PoP. But it needs to move on from that – retailers have heard it too often. Sales, great client feedback and a design that fits the retail brand environment is the best measure.”
Bethell believes the secret for all good PoP is using simple disruption tactics, as long as the consumer gets rewarded for being distracted from their mission. “Our observation suggests that at a product level, a larger PoP unit that offers clearance products in a volume-and-value, bargain-style dump bin unit can influence shopper behaviour directly. Shoppers demand value and enjoy the thrill of hunting and seeking a bargain.”
In Bethell’s experience, the most successful in-store campaigns combine great product, great pricing and the right location, with signs that highlight these three core strengths. He concludes that “good PoP on its own doesn’t sell product”.
Katharine Roseveare, agency director at integrated agency Intelligent Marketing, agrees with Bethell that it is crucial budgets are not blown on impact without regard for sales effectiveness. She also believes that getting noticed has to be rule number one. “With 60% of purchase decisions made at point of sale, creating impact and being noticeable is the first duty of a PoP campaign. What isn’t noticed won’t generate any response.”
Again, Roseveare reinforces the importance of location. She says: “Too many campaigns have been developed by brands that overlook the difficulty of getting space in outlet. Although retailer attitudes to PoP vary considerably, they are all looking for clear direct (sales) benefits to themselves.”
But it is not enough to ensure a display has a prime location, if this is wasted by failing to invest in the right stand. Roseveare explains: “Poor production quality, lack of visual stand-out and illegibility can turn a memorable campaign into a disaster from a sales perspective. And if customers can’t understand within a couple of seconds what they’re being told, there’s little chance it will be successful.”
As it is so vital to get people’s attention and then communicate key information in a short time, using the latest screens to present engaging moving images seems like a sensible option. As POPAI’s Kingdon says: “It is important to tailor content to different types of shoppers as well as making sure it is appropriate for its environment.
“An area that is sometimes overlooked is making displays that are of most relevance specifically to the target shopper. Interactive displays that provide information and potential entertainment to shoppers are really coming into their own now, as both the technology and the content are refined to ensure ease of use and speed of delivery. There are, of course, limits to how many of these units can be placed in a store but particularly for higher value products where it is not a simple sell they come into their own.”
As a shopper myself who has too often been startled, and certainly never impressed, by sudden bursts of sound coming from screens in shops, it appears that too many brands are not thinking through their in-store screen marketing. Any small child can tell brand owners that shouting certainly gets people’s attention, but it usually makes them want to get away from you, and fast.