POP goes the POS

By Charlotte Amos

March 28, 2014 | 4 min read

Talk about information overload. A typical large UK supermarket includes approximately 20,000 items of display or promotional messages at any one time₁ and although two-thirds of people know which brand they want to buy before entering a store, only three-quarters of these follow through with their intended brand choice₁ having been hit by persuasive messaging on the way to their destination. This represents an opportunity to influence shoppers both before and during their physical retail journey to the store, as well as within it₂.

Point of Purchase, or POP, is big news right now. Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent heralded 2014 as the “year of execution at the point of sale”, which will begin with brand Coca-Cola. The company plans to work together with its bottling partners to align its systems across the world to improve how its products are displayed at the point of sale. It will explore enhancements to areas such as packaging, price and location-based marketing.

It’s always been hard to measure effectiveness of POP marketing, but research such as POPAI’s 2013 Grocery Display Effectiveness Report, has shown that it can be done – but choose your weapons wisely. POS that’s not at eyelevel or facing the direction of travel just gets missed by shoppers walking at 1mph with eyes at a 15 degree angle down. It’s common sense really, but retailers have (and continue) to use this space just “because it’s there”. As we gain better insight into which POS works best where and with what message, designing POS for retail spaces should be more focused and more effective. I predict that in 5 years we’ll look back in amazement at the scattergun approach taken in supermarkets, for instance, today.

Neuroscientist Tor Norretranders says: "During any given second, we consciously process only 16 of the 11 million bits of information our senses pass to our brains”, it’s therefore essential that brands and retailers understand how their target customers react to POS. FITCH’s Gen Z Shopping report, ‘Designing retail for the constant state of partial attention’ states that Gen Z (those born in the 1990s) orientate by contrast and colour, before exploring product features. While touch and access to the product are key for young consumers; clinical displays are off putting. POPAI’s research showed that POS in supermarkets has more impact on men – perhaps due to their lesser experience in shopping this environment. However, women are more likely to be attracted by in store demonstrations and men by floor graphics.

Increasingly retailers are placing technology such as touch screens in store, creating a sense of excitement and making an impact on shoppers. However, there will come a time in the not too distant future when these will be as common in store as a dummy or a dumpbin, and no longer cut through due to their novelty. As the battle for the post-recession consumers’ spending continues, retailers – and brands – must consider the why as well as the what, when investing in POP and examine the results for ROI as closely as they have done with their out of store marketing activity. The shelf is the final decision moment: it’s critical to ensure the messaging here delivers.

₁ POPAI Grocery Display Effectiveness Report 2013

₂ Millward Brown's Gordon Pincott.


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