Dare to be different

Only tailored and innovative point of purchase material that allows brands to stamp their DNA on in-store displays will be successful in the constant battle for retail floorspace, says Sarah Rayner

Point of purchase is in danger of losing its battle for retail space, according to research by Bezier – Europe’s largest in-store marketing company – which surveyed a fifth of its most prominent high street customers, including Asda, Boots, Kwik Fit, Argos, The Thresher Group and Homebase.

The survey revealed only 84% of PoP materials delivered to them are implemented, with more than a third of stores citing lack of space as the reason and a further 21% claiming they receive too much PoP for the space they have available.

Clear floor policies
Bezier chief executive Mark Shaw says: “This is the second year in a row that our customers have told us they don’t have enough floorspace for the PoP material. Retailers have to make it as easy as possible for their customers to navigate their stores, and clear floor policies have to be adhered to.”

Shaw believes that suppliers need to offer more tailored and innovative designs to customers, and in-store agencies need to design materials that fit the space available and still have the desired impact.

“PoP design is more sophisticated than ever, but there is still room for improvement,” says Martin Fawcett, creative director of Bluetouch, Bezier’s in-store creative agency. “We are constantly striving to push the boundaries in terms of innovation, to look for technology, materials and fixture types that will promote compliance and help clients meet targets.

“Once we achieve that, we need to help brand managers and store staff understand the function and possibilities of in-store marketing, and educate them about best practice to ensure that materials sent to their branches are correctly installed and properly stocked. We are also working with retailers to develop bespoke ordering systems. Allowing stores to receive the right amount of PoP for their needs can help reduce unwanted materials.”

Increasingly retailers are giving brands the opportunity to stamp their DNA on in-store displays, so there are more bespoke and individual looks.

Michael Sheridan, managing director of full-service retail design agency Sheridan & Co, says: “Whereas beauty rooms used to be white walls with a bed, now they are much more exotic and interesting. Often they are fashioned in a home-style, with proper wallcoverings and attention to detail in terms of lighting, flowers and ambient music. That trend has now spread to the shop floor.”

In the premium market, technology is increasingly used to engage the customer. Sheridan cites the UK launch of perfume brand Gucci by Gucci in Harrods as an example of the high standard now demanded by clients and consumers. “Materials once reserved for permanent fittings now feature in temporary tailor-made installations. And at the high end, there is no compromise on quality, because consumers are so knowledgeable and responsive to gloss, glitz and glam,” he says.

Designer brands
Technologically sophisticated PoP is not just the domain of designer brands. Sheridan & Co helped launch Playboy Beauty into 400 branches of Superdrug. The objective was to attract a more fashion conscious shopper, so the units used plasma screens to give the brand some drama.

Gordon Bethell, managing director of retail marketing services company Gratterpalm, believes it is important to consider the functional and emotional aspects of every piece in a campaign. “Asda’s family halloween PoP campaign is an example of functional elements and emotional insight combining to create great impact. In the past, seasonal PoP was created using feedback from the previous year. It often drew on our traditional and common understanding of the look and feel of an event such as Easter, Valentine’s Day or Mothering Sunday.

Fashion cues
“But today, we work up to 18 months in advance looking at consumer data, fashion cues and lifestyle trends. This data is fundamental in driving the creative brief for the PoP.”

Nick Gray, managing director of creative retail marketing agency Live & Breathe, says innovation is often key to PoP. “If it is novel, PoP will inevitably attract attention,” he says. “So it can pay to break the rules a little.” Yet at the same time PoP has to work within brand guidelines and meet stringent health and safety standards. So producing effective PoP is often a delicate balancing act.

However, PoP doesn’t have to make a noise or be ubiquitous to be effective. Kleenex brand manager Rebecca Hirst describes a shipper unit the tissue brand devised for Morrisons where the bottom 90% was filled with Kleenex and the other 10% was filled with Morrisons’ cold and flu remedies.

And small PoP can produce big results – if it is sited well and properly thought out. Hirst continues: ‘To drive sales of Kleenex pocket packs, we worked with Boots to produce a bespoke compact display that could be placed right by the till. They were simple to implement – customers just had to open the lid – and they were so successful that sales increased 500%.” 


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