The point-of-purchase marketing tactics are routing further deep in to the ever growing retailing industry, making the opportunities knocking at the door for those dare to be innovative.
POP marketing is of increasing significance to marketers with each passing day. Reason being, these POPs often prove more productive than advertising & promotion otherwise. Also, the decline in sales support at the store level is stimulating interest among retailers in manufacturers’ POP programs. Further, rapid changes in consumers’ shopping patterns and expectations, along with an upsurge in impulse buying, together showthat POP is playing a more important role in consumers’ decision making than ever before. No wonder innovative options like talking standees and dancing ad dolls are getting unparalleled attention as POP and are helping business owners to make revenue.
For the same reasons, retailers are becoming increasingly receptive to manufacturers’ offers of POP merchandising programs. The delicate power balance between the manufacturer and the trade is such, however, that retailers will not give up control of the POP readily, particularly at a time when its importance is growing. Moreover, the pressure on retailers to carve out distinctive positionings to survive heightens their determination to control store layouts, space allocations, and POP merchandising.
There’s no restriction on the type of products for POP merchandising. Almost any type of product can be a point-of-purchase item. In grocery stores, magazines, candy, and travel-size accessories are commonly found near the cash register as point-of-purchase products. New or marked-down food products placed at the ends of aisles may also be considered point-of-purchase merchandise. In retail stores, bins with small discounted goods such as cosmetics, undergarments or accessories are commonly used as point-of-purchase items. Stores, however, typically tailor their displays according to specific consumer needs.
Creativity is A Must To Avoid Competition
Today’s creative experiences give reasons to get aware, remember and recollect the brand and there are innovative POPs/Displays that facilitate customers with reasons to remember the brands. Keeping in view a market which has turned global, each passing day is only adding up to the competition where war among the brands is touching a new high. Amidst this surging pressure, the only thing that would set the brand apart is the differentiation in presentation, which can be achieved using innovative means. We at, Sign & POP World, tried exploring the changing facets of POP/Displays for retail merchandising, and came across very interesting feeds from a gamut of solution providers. In the follow up is the article for your perusal.
POP for Retail Merchandising
No wonder that their interest in manufacturers’ POP programs is rising. Retailers are becoming more selective than they once were. A point-of-purchase or POP display is marketing material or advertising placed next to the merchandise it is promoting. These items are generally located in the checkout area or other location where the purchase decision is made. More commonly abbreviated to POP by retailers, this can be one of the most underutilised tools in retail today.
This is rightly justified by Amit Shah, Managing Director, Spectrum Scan Pvt. Ltd. He believes that POP purchase is the most important last point connect to the consumer. “It’s a critical impulse decision tool to convert to the final sale of the product. Whatever TV/Press ad will not give desired results unless POP /POSM items are not integrated in retail environment,” he asserts.
He shares that Spectrum Scan is one of India’s leading companies busy manufacturing POP/POS products for some of the best Fortune 500 companies. Since inception, it has been capturing the imagination of people by offering an outstanding portfolio of products to the exacting international standards.
Going further on how has the POP marketing evolved over the years, Shah says, “The Advent of the Retail & telecommunication industry has a huge impact on developing POP industry in India. The growth of these two industries was at breakneck speed and the outcome has really helped to reach mass population since it was innovative and cost-effective.”
So, it won’t be wrong to mention that the POP marketing has greatly developed in last 20 years. “Spectrum was and is always at the forefront when it comes to developing innovative solution. Over the years, we have many firsts in our name to launch/innovate in India, like Flanges, Trirama Danglers, Cube Danglers, Thermoformed Displays, etc.,” Shah avers.
Hemant Jain, Managing Director, Vardhman Ad Print, has few more things to add in it. “Shop windows, danglers, cutouts, mannequin displays, etc. are some examples of point-of-purchase marketing.” He opines that as a matter of fact, POP marketing is growing very fast. It is the best way to present the new schemes to the customers and visitors at retailer point. Practically, it is not possible for the retailer to explain each and every customer about all new schemes of all companies he is trading with. So, the advertisements and displays installed at various places at retail shop help as well as attract the customers to ask about and purchase new items under new schemes.
Explaining how POP is having stronghold over digital media, Jain says, “Companies may prefer to advertise their new schemes on digital media which attracts the users but often the user missed it from their mind after some time when he got busy in other things. On the other hand, when they see the new schemes, new arrivals at the retailers’ point, they can complete their queries on the spot, which usually impress the customers and lead to mature the deal immediately.”
Jain further adds, “For all these and many other factors, we at Vardhman Ad Print believe that POP marketing is the best way to advertise about the new products as well as new schemes. Not only this, it also helps decorate the retail shop. Sometimes, when there is rush on the shop, these POPs keep the customers busy who eventually wait for their turn.”
POP – The Trend Now
POP is not a new addition in retailing; rather it has a very long association since its inception. It wouldn’t be wrong to mention that slowly and steadily POP has become a staple strategy for manufacturers. Most vendors have some sort of POP material that they can provide for free use in retail stores. This material highlights the product(s) and draws the customers’ attention to it, which is important in a retail store crammed with similar merchandise.
According to Shah, the latest trend is of digital assets with interactive (engagement) tool at the retail outlets. “Fragrance, touch & feel, etc. are among the latest inclusions in the POP industry which is changing with the change in the tastes and preferences of customers who have gained global access and can already have the experiences of these advanced tools to be put at the retailers’ points. We already moved in that direction, by the end of this year, we are hopeful to execute in India. The POP is such a tool, which is open to almost all the categories irrespective of segments/industries and is designed to match the trendy life style & innovative products,” he shares.
Jain feels it otherwise. “There are many new products introduced in the POP market but as per our view, our all time favourite POP items are Sunpack Corrugated Sheet Danglers and PVC Foam Cutouts.” According to him, there are many products in the name of POP are coming with each passing day, but the trend of these two items never falls down. “These are most popular and most effective as they contain the whole new arrivals and schemes information in it. Besides, these are economical too as compare to new concepts with LEDs. Most of the retailers, especially small retailers keep the light boxes off all the time to save their electricity. So the variety of POP material is uncounted, but the most effective forever acceptable items are Sunpack Corrugated Sheet Danglers and PVC Foam Cutouts.”
“When it comes to introducing new items, Vardhman Ad Print is the only Print Factory truly dedicated towards the printers and advertisers PAN India, asserts, Jain. He adds, “Vardhman Ad Print works like the back bone of all its clients, serving them in an association as a partner. To fulfill this objective, we keep complete privacy of the job with other clients. We don’t have our own marketing team, we are very much strict on our time commitment and most important, you will never find any difference in booked and supplied quantity and quality.”
How Good Displays/POP May Look Like?
Good displays are designed for a particular type of store and often for a specific store department. These displays reflect the likely level of trade support. There is no point in designing a large display that will not generate the retailer’s required level of inventory turnover. Likewise, there is no point in offering the trade a permanent display for a seasonal product. Well-designed displays are made versatile and can accommodate new products easily. Manufacturers, of course, keep their own interests in mind when they are designing displays, while other innovative displays are being developed to supplement the efforts of salespeople.
POP displays can be as simple as a sign or as elaborate as a display carton. For example, a retailer may use a shelf talker (a sticker stuck to the end of the shelf to draw attention as the customer walks down the aisle of a grocery store) which is a small visual item. Or they may create a full display where the vendor’s products are merchandised inside it. There are many free-standing displays with the vendors’ branding on it, with only their respective merchandise on display inside. Even the vendors/manufacturers go on hiring a shelf at retailers’ point to especially highlight/showcase their respective merchandises.
AD Dolls – Enticing Customers
According to Sam Jha, Partner, The Advertiso, every business owner struggles to get more customers. “To meet this objective, AD Doll is very capable and is most likely get the local advertising by capturing attention away from all the other businesses in the city. This unique advertisement is always visible, drives up the sales and is much more cost-effective than any normal advertising technique. With this AD Doll, innovation & technology have been combined to create effective sign dolls that are specifically designed to make advertising needs simplified. A motorised dancing AD Doll not only has all the abilities to attract new customers, but also allows unlimited marketing potentials, which business owners can easily materialize,” he elaborates.
Marketing can often be very tricky & the cost to advertise business can really begin to add up fast. Sign boards can be very eye catching & are a great way to help any business standout from the competition. Unlike these tools, the AC-powered, portable & durable AD Doll has been developed & designed in such a way that business owners can take help of, especially when it comes to drawing attention to their respective brands, special offers, future events, product launches, and the like. “Advertising in any city is all about making a big splash. This mobile POP tool that sits on two wheels has helped business owners increase their sales by an average 40%. It is an affordable & effective direct response marketing tool that promises and provides with a quick return on investment,” Jha asserts.
Talking Standee – The Head Turner
Imagine you are walking straight and suddenly from a distance of 3 to 10 feet, there flashes light & sound, would you turn your head? That’s what Talking Standee is – the Head turner. Be it a retail store, event, exhibition, restaurant or bank, you can engage the customers so delightfully with a surprise element. Developed by Window Square, Talking Standee talks to customers about the brand through sound & visual. It is even enabled with interactions such as touch, hand wave or other customised actions making it further interactive.
“The standee that comes with adjustable sensors can be adjusted to operate at a desired distance between 10cm to 3.5meter and on/off sensors individually. This helps reduce over talking of the standee, because with shorter distance detection, it talks only when someone comes closer to it intentionally. The unique point of this setup is that it doesn’t leave any message incomplete, i.e., when a message is being played out, the standee doesn’t detect anyone before it finishes its on-going round of talks,” shares Y Saikrishna, Product Designer, Window Square.
As a manageable POP tool, the standee can be used for multiple campaigns allowing the brand owners to use the same tool for as many campaigns as they want, depending upon the requirements. “For this, they need to keep the posters and audio messages ready of the other brands, and simply by changing the audio message as well as the poster, it can be used for a new campaign. The audio message (of up to two hours) is stored in an SD card, which can be changed as per the need. Further, it comes with backlit display unit to keep it illuminated to be pretty visible at night or at dark spaces. This illumination multiplies the visibility of the advertisement to a far extent,” divulges P. Jyothsna, Maker Space Head, Window Square.
The POP Display/Signage
For retail merchandising, equally important is signage so much so that it won’t be wrong to mention that for promotion at retailers’ points, signage & POP go hand in hand. Eventually, we met a couple of signage solution providers to know how they noticed the change in the trend and how do they are coping up with the evolution. The more customers notice the products, the greater the chances they’ll buy. Point-of-purchase displays can include everything from designing labels with eye-catching colors to building elaborate end of aisle configurations.
More than half of all final purchasing decisions are made in the store, even if someone has researched a product online, so increased visibility during this decision-making time frame is invaluable for increasing sales. In addition to simply calling attention to your product, point-of-purchase displays can make it easier for customers to reach for your products by placing them in accessible locations, and creating scenes or configurations that show how the products can be used. The most in-demand displays today are remotely operated, networked digital display system. With the introduction of smart cities, we are gearing up to getting into large scale project implementation across India.
POPs have moved from the traditional location of the cash wrap to other locations in the store. In its early forms, POP displays and materials were only found in the cash register area. But today, manufacturers and retailers have discovered that POP displays can be placed throughout a store with great success.
POP placement is designed to grab the attention of customers at a time when they are considering their final purchases or preparing to check out. Goods placed near the front of the store, specifically near the entry point or payment/checkout counter, are the most likely to be viewed by the customers.
According to a recent study by the Citeman Network on supermarkets showed that out of 2,473 shoppers, 38% purchased an item they had never bought before. The fact that the item was prominently displayed was cited as the most common reason for the purchase.
Kinds of POP Displays
According to Prakash Jhajharia, Managing Director, Admire Sign & Display Pvt. Ltd., Dynamic signs with some kind of motion have always proven to attract 65% more attention than conventional static signs. Category of motion signs consists of rotating cube, color changing light box, 3 image changing Trivision, 10 image changing backlit scrollers, LED ticker text messaging display, grab advertising handles in city buses, airport coaches and metro rails, mobile media on battery operated self balancing vehicle and LED Video screen etc.
It is a bare fact that the most elaborate POP is a vendor shop. It helps create a store within a store idea where a vendor places a section in the retail store that sets its merchandise apart from the rest. Over the years, it is observed that if probably the most powerful form of POP is signage. Going with a recent study by Brigham Young University, it is found that displays with signs outperformed displays without signs by 20%. That clearly indicates that sales of the items with signs were 20% higher than the sales of the times without signs.
The study further suggests that even more incredible was the fact that regular priced merchandise (not on sale) outperformed sale or clearance priced merchandise by 18% when it was signed and the sale items were not. Simply put, signs as part of a POP display draw attention to the items. And when the customer takes notice, they tend to buy.
“It is said that – A Business with no sign, is a sign of No Business. Marketers very well understand the value and importance of signs. All consumer item marketers depend heavily on signs inside their respective retailers’ outlet, outside retail shops, and on billboards. Further, with increasing income, especially the working couples with dual income are big influencers for marketers. Such couple have big spending budget with greater amount of disposable income. These new developments are boosting sales in a big way,” explains Jhajharia.
Signage can be thought of as a silent salesperson. It can keep a customer in a store and interested when the store is busy and the salespeople cannot get to them. Signs can take any form. Right from being hanging displays and posters, they can even be mounted on store shelves. As long as the signage doesn’t interfere with or annoy the customer, they have been proved a great way to draw attention to a new product, or one that’s on sale, as well as seasonal items. It is also considered that some 70% of retail purchases aren’t decided until the customer actually is in the store, it’s clear what impact something as simple as a POP display can have.
Evolution of Signage as Retail Merchandising Tool
Delving deep into the concept, Jhajharia elaborates, “When it comes to advertising, there are broadly three categories- outdoor billboards, ambient media (shopping malls, multiplexes) and in-store advertising. Three decades ago, signs were primarily manufactured by AC duct fabricators while billboards were hand-painted. Ambient media and the concept of shopping mall and multiplex were non-existent.”
According to him, GI sheet fabricated light boxes were used to be thick and ugly looking, and were hand-painted wherein tube light used to be the source of light. Hand-cut vinyl messages were pasted on brittle acrylic sheet. There was no consistency in quality. Every second sign was different in size and shape. Advertisers did not like this but they had no alternative choices available. “Later, extruded aluminium profile signs with powder coated outer finish and computer plotted vinyl on polycarbonate sheets came into market. Aluminium lightboxes looked highly aesthetic and were in great demand for almost over a decade.”
For Display, Digital Printing is a Boon
Nishant Shah, Founder & CEO, Caterpillar Signs Pvt. Ltd (India) credits the success to the evolution in digital printing. “The top three qualities for retail Signage that today’s customers demand are long lasting, reasonable priced, and high-resolution printing.” According to him, digital printing, including the UV technology has evolved beyond anyone’s expectations over the past few years. The market is growing rapidly as are the capabilities, and so it is an extremely useful exercise to analyse your current printing methods.
“Needless to mention that new leads, new ideas, new technology, value-added services, diversification, good marketing & customisations are contributing to the growth of UV technology in India. It can take printing companies to the next level of profitability & market share in future. Switching from traditional methods could be a) saving money, b) increasing sales or c) reducing lead times significantly or a combination of all three,” Shah reasons out.
Jhajharia adds a different angle to it. “When digital printing machines were introduced, full colour image printing became a rage. Printed flex for outdoor billboards were introduced almost simultaneously with aluminium profile light box. Aluminium profile light boxes were about 4-5 inches thick. This was necessary for the light from tube light to spread. The problem with tube light was that there were dark spots between two lamps, which with the advent of LED were tackled smoothly. LED edgelit slim light box with LGP (or light guide panel) was the perfect solution to address the problem of bulky size and dark hot spots.”
He suggested that introduction of much diverse and innovative LED lighting solution has the changed the way these signages were looked at. “Slim light box with digitally printed or engraved acrylic sheet and LED strips fixed on edges were introduced. These were ultra thin, uniformly lit, bright lightboxes. There were no dark spots. Power consumption was 60% less, besides lightboxes never got heated. LED lights have a life of over 50,000 hours hence they rarely required maintenance. These slim light boxes became instant hit. Even today slim light boxes are in great demand from retail industry in particular,” says Jhajharia.
Floor Graphics–An Emerging POP Tool
Shah underscores the surging inclination towards floor graphics when it comes to in-store marketing. “Nowadays, there is a lot more development in floor graphics advertising. There are 3D prints in the market now, which are becoming more and more popular. People are using these graphics for in store marketing in various ways. Floor graphic is becoming an exceptional medium for displaying various messages. It can be used for advertising, promotional messaging, point of purchase selling. These signs are also globally used in malls, restaurants and bars, retail stores and even in schools and colleges.”
He goes on adding, “If we look at the recent trends, these graphics are widely used and sold in India. Almost all the marketplaces are attracting customers with this new product.3D Prints are the new development in this medium. Also, providers are offering customised solutions as per the customers’ requirements. The fact that floor graphics are easy to use and are highly durable; they are preferred more than other related display solutions.”
Shah points out that floor graphics can be best way to tap into unused spaces in any retail store at a very low cost. “No matter if the floor is made of concrete, wood, or tile, the floor graphic works best on all. We know that it is human nature to be drawn towards graphically pleasing designs, so retailer wanting to increase their foot falls can use these graphics in a best way possible.”
For all this and many more benefits, retailers are the largest users for this medium, more specifically for super markets and food related businesses. “Retailers can use floor graphics in various ways like wayfinding signs, as an information panel, for better product understanding, for marketing activities, to run promotions, to attract prospects customers, for guiding them in a better way, for better layout and design of the stores etc.,” says Shah.
Signage – Matching Tune with Changing Facets of Retail
Over the past few years, there has been a remarkable facelift of retail in India owing to the changing purchasing patterns, increased availability of various brands and products; and enhanced purchasing power. Together these patterns led to the growth of retail business and brought a changed face of the retailing as a prospect business. It also leads to the opening new branches and outlets PAN India. This has opened up numerous opportunities for the solution providers to grab.
“As a custom solution provider, we find huge scope and growth with changing market conditions. People emphasise more on customisation and quality, which lead us to have more customised products. Retail business owners look for the new ways to reaching out their prospective buyers and our various and unique advertising solutions serve the purpose. Advertising has become more prominent and convenient way to increase the business and so there is an increased demand of advertising and display products,” opines Shah.
And all this needed a drastic change in the infrastructure. “With increased demand of the products and urge of consumers to have customisation on each product, we have increased our printing capability with new advanced machines and more qualified workforce. We have invested in more efficient and powerful machines, which reduce the human labour and increase the quality of the products. We have also added various finishing and customisation options, facilitating our customers with varied choices to opt for. We have started given more emphasis on product knowledge & training of our efficient and qualified team to help customers to make the right choice.”
Fabric as Signage Media is picking up Fast
“From the last 8 to 10 years, eco-friendly, stretchable fabric light boxes have become the most in demand advertising medium for indoor advertising. Apple is the biggest example of earliest adapters of fabric light boxes. The biggest advantage of fabric light boxes is edge to edge branding. Fabric light box looks frameless. The fabrication of fabric lightbox is quick and easy. Lightbox can be dismantled and easily assembled at site. Fabric can be folded for easy, economical transportation,” says Jhajharia.
According to him, silicon strips are stitched on the edges of printed fabric. Inserting this fabric into the grooves of aluminium frame is as easy as 1-2-3. Graphic change can happen in less than a minute without special tools or skilled staff. “With the worldwide awareness on the menace of plastic, PVC flex are getting banned world over. Many states in India have already banned the use of flex in any form.”
“Here again, waterproof outdoor fabric is emerging as an alternative solution. Although the media cost is not too high, printing of fabric on UV or latex machines is a costly affair. With the substantial increase in demand, price of fabric printing is bound to come down drastically, making fabric prints the next big things of advertising gimmick,” Jhajharia assures.
Matching the tone, Shah opines that digital printing to fabrics has definitely energised the retail markets and trade shows over the past few years. Customers, looking for high-end branding with better colour vibrancy, are opting more for digital printing. “We have observed increased fabric usage in displays, backdrops and trade-show booths.”
He further adds, “Of late, we have been observing dye-sublimation fabric prints touching on most indoor POP applications that have traditionally been done on vinyl or rigid. The popularity of the newer silicone edge graphics (SEG) tailored fabric frame systems have become a preferred material for interior backlit and sidelight signage.”
Coping up with the Innovations
“For bringing in new things, we travel extensively and attend major trade fairs throughout the year in USA, Europe, Korea, China and Hong Kong. Over the last 30 years, we have developed strong relationships with major manufacturers of innovative display products across the world. Owing to all this, we at Admire Group are fully geared to offer the latest that the world has to offer. We have pan India presence with offices at Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Our state-of-the-art workshop has latest CNC machines and tools from manufactures of USA, Italy, Sweden, Germany, China and India, which is nothing but the testimony of quality,” asserts Jhajharia.
We, at Admire, have always been at the forefront in introducing ground breaking sign solutions. In the year 1989, we introduced light boxes with extruded aluminium profiles, which became an instant hit. And then after, we never looked back. The most in-demand displays today are remotely operated, networked digital display system. With the introduction of smart cities, we are gearing up to getting into large scale project implementation across India.
Based on the ongoing developments, the future of signage seems to be digital and robotic signs with embedded artificial intelligence, interactive, measurable and customisable targeting. Majority of advertising will move away from conventional print, TV and outdoor into digital and mobile. Printing of images, sending it through courier, changing them on display products will be a thing of the past. Sooner than expected, all displays will be wirelessly connected. Data will be remotely uploaded, tracked and updated for individual targeting, without on ground assistance or involvement.
Keeping in view the rapidly changing traits, we are adding more products to our portfolio. “We are also making our existing customers aware about the latest trends and improvements in the printing industry, especially for UV printing. We give emphasis on unique and customised advertising solutions by increasing our product range almost every quarter. At CP Signs, we believe in building a long term relationship by being not only a product provider but a solution provider,” Shah suggests.
Giving customers a direct experience of using products makes them more likely to buy. The strategy is a way of attracting attention, but it’s also useful for manufacturers placing offerings in a context where customers can actually visualise owning them. Together all this, the opportunities for POP/Display solution providers are many, but depend upon how the industry stakeholders are making good use of this. To cater to the changing tastes of the customers, they have to remain ready with innovative solutions and options for manufacturers or brand owners.
Though there are many options already in the move like fabric/slim lightbox, LED display, mannequins, customised shelves, shop windows, etc., innovations like dancing dolls and talking standees have to be there as a continuous trait in the offering to remain in the competition. The design and height of the POP displays are decided as where the items are to be placed.
For instance, items at eye level are more noticeable than items shelved higher or lower, and items that appeal to children can be creatively designed and put at the child’s own eye level. Most often, this comes at the annoyance of the child’s parents, who hear seemingly incessant pleas to buy a toy or treat the child with what she wants at that point in time. So, be there to develop POPs/displays that can entice customers, and then remain profitable.