POP solution providers are using integrated technologies to help brand owners shape country’s traditional retail sector and create stores of tomorrow that can offer seamless shopping experience to new age shoppers.
While online shopping is breaking all the boundaries when it comes to influencing new age shoppers, it is still quite an experience to shop at a departmental store or at what we call, the modern retail. The fact is that the brick and mortar stores haven’t lost their charm yet, and the reason is simple – the touch and feel experience – which the online ones can’t afford to make available to their shoppers.
Passing through various phases, the stores kept getting transformed to fit in that particular timeline of their existence. People still love to walk through aisles, glancing the latest arrivals, and getting a feel of the products before actually buying them. We can pretty well observe the bustling activities in today’s stores, where people look for products of their respective usage, children try to divert their parents’ attention to confectioneries, teenagers check out the latest stuff in store, etc. On such an inviting turf, why wouldn’t retailers or brand owners use means to lure customers in buying their products!
Increasing Importance of POP Merchandise
Here comes the importance of Point-of-Purchase or POP Merchandise, the colourful and creative displays, which are strategically placed to entice customers in trying out new products. We have all seen them for long and we have seen them evolving with time. No wonder, these POP merchandise are of increasing significance to marketers with each passing day because of it being more productive than advertising and promotion otherwise. As a result, retailers’ interest in manufacturers’ POP programmes is continuously on the surge.
Adding fuel to the fire is rapidly changing consumers’ shopping patterns and expectations with each passing day. The testimony of the fact is an upsurge in the impulse buying behaviour, which further instils the belief that POP is playing more important role in consumers’ decision making than ever before. To grab the opportunities, the POP solution providers are trying their best when it comes to bringing innovation. Options like talking standees and dancing ad dolls are getting unparalleled attention, while incorporation of video screen in POP solutions is also becoming a trend.
It won’t be wrong to mention that new investments, strategic partnerships and world-class technologies are revolutionising POP advertising, store fixtures, signage, props, lighting, etc., which are going to be the leading contributors to the exponential growth, shaping the stores of tomorrow. For all these to happen, retailers are becoming increasingly receptive to manufacturers’ offers of POP merchandising programs. Stores, however, typically tailor their displays according to specific consumer needs.
Online vs Offline
In spite of the pace at which online shopping is picking up, with some even predicting the demise of brick-and-mortar retailing, the latter is still going strong. The testimony of the fact is a recent survey by TimeTrade, a Massachusetts-based software company, which suggests that approximately 85% of all purchases worldwide still take place at the physical retail store, and not online.
There are tangible reasons for the same as product interaction before the purchase remains the overriding factor driving sales through physical retail store wherein POP merchandise are inevitable. As one of the major platforms, these POP solutions not only draw consumers’ attention, but also pass them important information on product benefits, thereby ensuring product interaction and inducing impulse purchase.
However, the fact that online stores are making the products available at a very reasonable price to their customers, brick-and-mortar stores are under constant burden of charging low from their customers to safeguard their existence for a little longer period. This has led the latter to increasingly use POP displays as a sustainable merchandising solution and remain competitive.
Designed with integrated advanced technologies, contemporary POP displays allow customers to try or interact with a product on their own, thereby eliminating the need for a sales executive and eventually helping the retailers to cut short the overhead cost.
In view of competitive environment in the retail industry, brands are investing huge amount on product marketing. Thus, adoption of aggressive product market strategies by brands is driving demand for POP merchandise. However, with advancements in technology and consumers becoming more accustomed to shopping online, demand for POP merchandising may witness a slowdown in times to come.
Creating Competitive Edge
In a bid to differentiate themselves from competition and help brand owners in promoting the products far more aggressively, POP display manufacturers are striving to improve aesthetics and are also introducing displays with innovative product designs. In addition to it, the intensifying competition in the retail industry and resulting use of POP merchandise for enticing customers to purchase have encouraged retailers to demand different custom-made displays capable of serving specific needs across different retail facilities. Customisation offered in terms of aesthetics, capacity, and mobility will have a huge impact on the company’s brand identification.
This exercise is not limited to retailers or brand owners as the POP solution providers feel same level of pressure when it comes to creating difference, especially in terms of experiences which remains in the minds of customers to remember and recollect the brand. Keeping in view a market which has turned global, each passing day is only adding up to the competition where war among the brands to remain differentiated is touching a new high. This, in turn, keeps pushing the POP solution providers to invest more in their research and development wings and remain innovative in their designing capability.
Branding & POP
POP merchandise are a specialised type of promotion, which is often found next to the checkout counter or at the end of an aisle of a retailer’s floor. These are aimed at drawing customers’ attention towards products that are new, or are on special offer, or used to promote special events. Most of the brands today keep POP in their list of vital promotional activities, as these merchandises provide greater visibility and boost sales through impulse purchase. Also, POP merchandise help manufacturers to supplement their packaging and strategically place their products so that these can catch the customer’s eye, and allow retailers to merchandise the products and target impulse buyers.
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 store), which is a small visual item. Or he 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.
The POP display market is expected to expand at a significant growth rate due to the increasing trend of product branding with the adoption of POP displays, which play an important role in branding and promotion of the products. POP displays attract customers at the point of purchase or point of sale. The solution providers are continuously enhancing their research and development expertise to design creative and portable POP displays. Also, the increasing demand from retailers to sell and display their merchandise items is expected to augment the POP display market.
Customised POP Solutions
POP displays nowadays are designed for a particular type of store and often for a specific store department, which make it an important tool for trade support. Industry experts feel that for such a situation, the display is designed keeping in view the exact space availability and requirement of the store, else it will not generate the retailer’s required level of inventory turnover. Therefore, customised displays are made that can match the given parameters, fit in the specified space, and accommodate new products easily. Manufacturers, of course, keep their own interests in mind when they design displays, while other innovative displays are being developed to supplement the efforts of salespeople.
Fabric has been introduced as an eco-friendly media to be used as the basic material for creating the POPs. The ones with solutions of such kind are pushing it hard to their target customers and are finding handful of takers for the same, while quite a few solution providers don’t believe in its success because of its own limitations on certain parameters. At the same time, corrugated sheets have made a full-fledged entry in this burgeoning POP solution industry, wherein this relatively new material is embraced by almost all the major players, especially those with needed infrastructure and availability of base material.
The latest trend also includes 3D printing, which is expected to be emerging as the next big thing. The newly introduced wonder Massivit 1500 from Massivit 3D Technology has been emphasised by many retailers for its rising relevance in retail industry simply by creating life-size images in a few minutes. Experts believe that it has the ability to change the way retail POPs are perceived these days. With this technology, retailers and brand owners can start offering their existing customers the benefit of super-size, 3D displays that help capturing attention and make their marketing more impactful. The Massivit 3D printed elements can turn any store, event or show lively and will do pops up, engage and entertain customers.
The Global Scenario of POP Displays
According to a market research report titled ‘POP Display Market- Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2018–2026’ published by Transparency Market Research, the global POP display market is expected to reach US$ 16,963.4 million by 2026, expanding at a CAGR of 5.6% from 2018 to 2026. The report suggests that the global market is expected to be influenced by a range of macroeconomic and industry-specific factors. North America is likely to continue to be at the forefront of global demand, with the market in the region expanding at a CAGR of about 5.3% in the coming years. The evolution in the retail trade sector is anticipated to significantly drive the POP display market.
The growth of POP displays market is attributed to the growth of the retail industry, which has evolved significantly over the past few years, thereby serving as a lucrative opportunity for manufacturers to reach out to their target customers. High demand for processed food products is yet another factor responsible for the growth of the POP displays market. Emerging nations such as China, India, Japan, and Brazil, among others, are expected to play a significant role in the point of purchase displays market in the coming years, due to the growing retail industry in these countries coupled with a high demand for processed food products.
High demand for processed food in the U.S. has resulted in North America capturing the lion’s share in the POP displays market. Europe also captured a major chunk of the market over the past few years. However, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grab the spotlight in the coming years.
Changing Retail Panorama
With all these around for more than a decade, the shoppers’ experience in India is at the cusp of a revolution highlighting the potential for the retail solutions industry, which is seemingly slated to scale up to Rs. 20,000-crore from the existing Rs. 12,000-crore in the next three years. Industry experts feel that the ongoing momentum will certainly shape the future of traditional retail (80% of Indian retail sector) allowing retailers to provide the much needed boost to Indian economy.
The Boston Consulting Group and Retailers Association of India report predicts that India’s retail market is expected to touch $1 trillion mark by 2020 from $600 billion what it was in 2015. The momentum is driven by income growth, urbanisation and attitudinal shifts. Adding more to this big transition is the ever evolving Rs. 70,000-crore advertising sector, which only promises an unprecedented growth in the retail solutions providers industry.
Amidst the ongoing debate around online and offline, most of the players opine that they are in the business of customer experience, which comprises various journeys, connects and moments of truth that the customer interacts with the brands, companies and products. With all these, they suggest that the aim is to have clear positioning in the minds of customers, for which, the pressure is also on retailers to carve out distinctive positioning of POP merchandising.
The promising retail solutions provider industry of the country is soon going to witness an unprecedented growth backed by innovations in store design, visual merchandising and in-store marketing. In this phase of transition, where Phygital (physical plus digital) being the game changer, offline is emerging as the new online. Newer avenues at the bottom line of retail industry will soon catapult the fate for the sector by revolutionising consumer experiences and touch points.
With all these in mind, we at Sign & POP World met with a few leading POP solution providers like VD & POP Display, Brandmark, Firefly, Mermaid, and Ace Retail to know how they are leveraging their new and innovative solutions and ideas to capture the rapidly emerging potentials in sectors such as retail design technology, POP display, visual merchandising and in-store marketing.
Respective interviews are there in the follow-up.